It has been reported that BAE Systems is offering its Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier design to the Indian Navy.

Australian Defence first reported here that, speaking at the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition last week, a BAE Systems representative confirmed that the company is offering its Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier design to the Indian Navy.

The Indian Government is understood to have a requirement for a carrier in the 65,000 tonne range, similar to HMS Queen Elizabeth, to be known as the INS Vishal.

BAE Systems said:

“BAE Systems is pleased to have begun discussions with India about the potential for basing development of the second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2) project on the Queen Elizabeth class design,” the representative said.

“The design is adaptable to offer either ski-jump or catapult launch and can be modified to meet Indian Navy and local industry requirements.”

“The UK carrier design has now been proven at sea and is a near match to the Indian Navy’s requirement for a 65,000-tonne carrier with Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP), that could be constructed under the country’s ‘Make in India’ programme,” the representative said.

As we reported here, Indian Navy officials recently visited BAE Systems’ shipyard at Rosyth, near Edinburgh. Indian Admiral Lanba was given a tour of HMS Queen Elizabeth and an insight into how the Royal Navy worked with key industrial partners to develop the aircraft carrier and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.

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Steve R

Great! Let’s hope India goes for it. Ideally even for us to build it for them.

No likely to be licensed to be built in India with privso of no secrets being shared out, e.g., Russia, China, etc – whether that’s just all the design (would expect highly doubtful due to the world class Radar) or the basic shell design and they add their own aviation systems (take off / landing) and sensitive systems, e.g., Radar, missile technology, etc. At alternative would be for the UK to build the shell of the carrier and for India to finish off the completion. Interesting to see whether India could get a sale through other Partners like French carrier… Read more »


I’ll bet the Indians will fit a point defence missile system if they go for it! Typical MoD penny-pinching! Sorry all – had to vent!

And the Indians don’t have T45 Destroyers or F35 with Meteor. That’s why we don’t fit missiles.


The US has far superior capabilities than we do in terms of carrier escort and they also operate the F-35. Yet, each and everyone of their carriers has a layered self-defence suite including point defence missiles….. aren’t we missing something????


Come on, it’s budgetary constraints all the way. All the spin about always being escorted is just for the masses. The USN has many more times a fleet than us but every USN carrier & LPH has 2 SAM systems fitted, ESSM & RAM. Even if we were able to deploy a QE with 4 or more escorts, in a real war, assuming everything wasn’t nuked, enemy subs, ships & aircraft could whittle away that protection, maybe quicker than we think. That’s why we ought to have at least a SAM system on our precious, highly manned & expensive carriers.… Read more »

We took the Sea Dart system off the Invincible class, to extend the flight deck for more aircraft, and a larger ammunition store. The RN trusts the 1 billion £ destroyer to do it’s job. And the huge investment in Aster missiles/Sampson radar.

David E Flandry

Then we did away with the Invincible class altogether.

Glass Half Full

The problem is that the self defence argument doesn’t hold up. If a carrier needs ESSM and RAM, then it also needs a Mk41 or Sylver VLS with SM-2, SM-6 and maybe even SM-3 or their equivalents, if you can’t trust escorts to do their job. If ESSM and RAM are needed for leakers then what about all the other missiles that “might get by” the groups dedicated AAW defences in a sea skimming and ballistic missile saturation attack? As for a last ship standing scenario, if all your escorts are gone then ESSM and RAM aren’t going to save… Read more »

Andrew Smith

Clearly said make in india


“The design is adaptable to offer either ski-jump or catapult launch.”

Where have we heard that before? I’m going to be livid if the Indians end up with a catapult-equipped version of HMS Queen Elizabeth.


And with superior self-defence and attack capabilities, SMH.

Ideally they should take off this and any sensitive radar systems and information on it.. India needing to put its own or buy from elsewhere.

Andrew Smith

Says in the story to base their design on our design. Wont be the same. There will be lots of ITAR stuff removed from design

Paul T

Dan – nothings impossible,it just depends how deep ones pockets are,it was just unfortunate that in 2010 the UK Govt found the quoted costs too much to take on in the post – financial crash environment.


The reason we don’t have catapults is because within 10 years they will be obsolete with the development of EMALs. Your brand new carrier will be pretty pointless with a system used since final days of WW2 when every other major power (China, America etc) will all be building EMAL carriers. We didn’t go for EMALs despite the Americans offering to pay for the conversion as it would of meant QE’s initial life would of been tied up alongside some American testing facility sending plane sized carts into the sea from her flight deck. Look at the new Gerald R… Read more »

A lot of gibberish is said on here that just rabbits on about how much more zillion billions we should spend and how brilliant the Indians are than us. If they want steam catapult they would need a ship capable of generating it… a nuclear powered one… and without enough steam they need EMALs and that is years away and even then how reliable will it be. And how will the Indians operate a carrier that big. That will take years to learn.

Well said Trevor. To many fantasy fleeters on this site, with zero realism about cost, or actual operational need.

Glass Half Full

Good observation. I do wonder though how QEC/PoW ramp/SRVL+F35B ops will compare to CATOBAR carrier ops based on F-18 Super Hornet/Rafale, or F35C, or a mix of both. There’s a broad assumption that F35B carrier based ops are compromised versus alternatives, I’m not so sure. I also wish people would take onboard that we aren’t in some p$#%ing competition with the US, the French or the Indians for that matter, because they aren’t ever likely to be our adversaries. As experience and tactics develop we may find that very little is given up with F35B carrier ops in terms of… Read more »

The QE Class was designed around the concept of the number of sorties can be generated instead of just simple numbers of aircraft that can be carried, that’s where the number of 36 F35s has come from, 36 can generate the same number of sorties that 50 F18s from a Nimitz class can generate, hence why the Americans are very keen on us having these vessels, they see them as carriers 11 and 12 to help cover there own fleet, and gaps in there own carrier deployment program. Now if course it will be some time before we see 36… Read more »


I’m sorry there’s no way the QE class with 36 F35s can generate the same sortie rate as a Nimitz or Ford with 50 F/A18s (unless Ford’s EMALS is down…again!). Nimitz is peacetime can support 120 sorties a day and can surge to 270 at a time of war. I also think the emphasis ACA/BAES/RN place on the QE class being built around sortie rate rather than airframe numbers is misleading as it implies that never before has sortie rate been considered by aircraft carrier manufacturers or their customers, something Newport News and the USN might take issue with. The… Read more »


There is space on the QEC to fit cats and traps if the money becomes available.
The biggest error was not going for cats and traps and the F18 but it was a treasury dominated decision to go the F35B route on cost grounds LMAO .

Tom was not only th huge expense issue but would have further delayed in service date by two years!!

Why would we buy an inferior aircraft? The F18 is good, but the F35 is in a different league altogether. Plus every single rear fuselage of every F35 built, is built in the UK, that’s over 3000 aircraft.


Exactly we wouldn’t have been a full part of the world’s biggest fighter program if we had done that and then spent more money on foreign aircraft as reverse compensation gif such a decision. Sometimes apparent political decisions are by far the better solution especially as some sir arms are replacing their F18s with F35s.

And the Indians don’t have T45 Destroyers or F35 with Meteor. That’s why we don’t fit missiles.

Why? What does it matter how the aircraft takes off and lands? The F35B will bring a huge capability, there are many advantages to not using cats and traps. Cost, training requirements, maintenance act.


Having cats and traps would have given the RN a wider choice of aircraft. STOVL committed us to the F35B. What would have happened if the F35 had turned out to be unviable? But this is just raking over old arguments – my earlier point was that it would be bloody typical if the Indians end up with what we could have had.

But it still doesn’t make any difference, because we are still operating a far superior aircraft, regardless of how it takes off and lands. The F35C has identical capability to the F35B , just has slightly longer range. If we went for the F18 or Rafael, we would have an inferior aircraft, and we wouldn’t be part of the worlds largest defence program.


The F35B is a inferior aircraft, it lacks payload and range .
It is fine for the USMC because there ships operate close inshore but it is not the right plane for a strike carrier .
We have no means to refuel it , it has limited payload capabilities and a short air frame life.

Short airframe life?? 6 x paveway 4 plus 4 x air to air missiles a poor payload?? Exactly the same as what the F35C can carry. do you get your facts from the Sunday sport


The F-35c payload is 8,160kg compared to the F-35b’s 6,803kg.

F-35c range on internal fuel is 1,400nm compared to the F-35b’s 900nm

F-35c can take more g limits.

Let’s not pretend that because it’s on our carriers it’s the best, it’s no way near the right aircraft for proper carrier strike. It was designed for the US Marines and would get shot out the sky if our carrier went up against a Chinese, French or US carrier.

Sole survivor, you are talking utter garbage. Have you actually read anything about the F35, and its huge success is Red Flags act, or are you just one of its haters? And to say it would get shot out of the sky by a French or Chinese carrier, is, well, frankly the facts of a child, I don’t even know why I am even replying to that comment.


Robert Blay, yes I have, i have read extensively about the F-35, aviation magazines and forums and I still come to the same conclusion. I certainly would not rely on red flag, the ROE are never released, and you honestly think the US would risk a bad showing for the most expensive defence program in history with customers waiting around the world. I look at history and capabilities, many times in history as an aircraft better on paper come in and been handed it’s arse by more nimble and agile fighters. It’s all hypothetical of course because i would back… Read more »

I would take an F35 in air to air any day rather than an F18 or Rafael. It’s all aspect stealth and avionics are everything in combat. And it is still very agile, as for speed ect mach 1.6 with a full internal payload and fuel is pretty dam good. A fully loaded F18 or Rafael certainly cant do 1.6 fully loaded. Have a read what RAF pilots are saying about it. Its a complete game changer in every way, the 2019 RAF Review magazine has a very informative article about what the F35 can do, and how it’s capabilities… Read more »


Actually sole survivor is correct the F35 was designed as a command and control aircraft seeking targets for other aircraft for the us that means the f18 its payload is smaller it’s range is shorter I personally would have preferred to see cats and traps with carrier adapted typhoons we would have had air to air refuelling capability hell I’d have have kept a few harriers for asw duties

David, the F35B has a combat radius of 750 nm on internal fuel, or about the same as a Tornado GR4 with external tanks, so pretty good really. It’s all aspect stealth, helmet mounted display, ASRAAM, Meteor, IRST will make it pretty dam deadly in air 2 air, plus it probably has the worlds best radar,and certainly the best networked/ situational awareness.


In theory a third QE ship should be an improvement just as next years F1 car should be the best? The Catapult equipped version will be longer (10 Meters) (due to the bow and stern overhangs), hence, look more elegant. Could an improved QE have an extra midship section too? Hmn.

Daniele Mandelli

What does HMG and the MoD get out of this, if anything?

Captain P Wash

I usually get free Onion Bhaji’s.


Queen Elizabeth class was designed by Thales, not BAE.

BAE will need to hit hard and strike it now with getting a signature on the line before a competitor or as scenario described above happens.!!!


Hopefully the BAE design is mature enough to leave any competitors in the dust.

I wonder if Thales/whoever ones them now still have certain IP that could make things difficult.

Even if the hulls are built in India it would still be a huge boost to UK industry for manufacturing key components.


I’m confused who owns the IP on the QE design, didn’t Thales/BMT’s design beat BAE’s.


I am thinking the same thing they were fundamentally a Thales design maybe they were given a large fee to give up rights the the design. Indeed I guess the MOD would have expected that for precisely this scenario I would say. But they may still be due a cut out of such exports I guess.

Geoffrey Roach

If Corbyn and co get into power the Indians won’t have to worry about building. They’ll be able to buy Q E and P O W at a knock down price, probably with their escorts aa a throw in free gift.


Geoffrey “J C had three shadow defence secretaries resign over his views on defence” Maria Eagle was moved to culture secretary before resigning to force a leadership contest. Emily Thornberry was moved to shadow foreign secretary and is a Corbyn ally. Clive Lewis was moved to business and energy and is a Corbyn ally. Now Griffith is the current shadow defence secretary. On the basis of that this debate between me and you is over, you have just completely made that up because it supports your argument. Not a single shadow defence secretary has resigned under Corbyn because of his… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

O K …Discussion over. if, God forbid , he gets in, I’ll see what you think a couple of years later.


Yet it remains a fact that Call me Dave and Boy George cut more defence than anybody. Spreadsheet Phil is carrying on in the same glorious tradition.

They’re the ones that need shooting.

Geoffrey Roach

Not true Ron5 I have posted all these figures before, at least twice, if you fancy looking back through here but rather you than me.


I don’t think Labour will go below 2%, but they will cut capabilities. UK defence will be more about foreign aid and peace keeping. We’ll probably get more ships, heavy lift and rotary wing but at the expense of fast jets and strike capabilities.

Yep, called it when the Indian Navy Admirals came to visit her in Portsmouth last month. Strong hopes the Indians will choose BAE

Ollie Beckett

In my opinion the ship, if accepted by India, should be built in Britain as part of the contract, it would help British business, fill in some time over at the Rosyth docks until the Dreadnoughts need their post-shakedown cruise maintenance. And would mean that the Russians and Chinese can’t get their little hands on the design and build.


We should certainly build the ‘super blocks’ and then ship them over to India for final assembly. That would give India the time to sort out a latger building dock, as the one at Cochin where INS Vikrant was recently built was barely big enough for her and she is a lot smaller…

Dreadnoughts will be coming no where near Rosyth. All nuclear maintenance capability was moved to Devonport on a purely political basis in tge early 90s.

‘ should be built in Britain as part of the contract ‘

Won’t happen and never will. India’s “make in India” policy essentially forbids them from accepting anything less than a license deal. Best we can hope for is a huge load of cash for BAE, some good soft power increase and business for British firms supplying systems and engineering onboard

The Indians wouldn’t select the design if we insisted it be built here. Part of their long term strategy is to develop their military ship building capacity so they simply wouldn’t go for any foreign built design.

Well now that we have established that our government cannot negotiate for toffee, I fully expect that India will get everything they want and the UK will simply be left with a feeling of gratitude and.
Sometimes I wish that we played hardball. There are very few countries capable of manufacturing aircraft carriers, I would rather we insisted on building it here, but with some form of Indian oversight, so they can potentially build a second one in India.


Wouldn’t it be built using UK foreign aid?




India would not countenance such a plan if Apple can’t get around it I can’t see Bae managing it. I believe the concept is enshrined in their law and a red line that so t be moved.

The question is then, is the Vikrant design duff or are things go well with the Vikrant that instead of building another they want to go bigger?

Hands up who wants to see a Mig 29 taking off from QE or PoW in trials……….


Not really sure about this one: 1) it would only go through if it was built in India, so no british jobs, tax revenues etc. 2) I would imagine HMG own the ip but would a small amount of cash be worth: A) giving full details of our most potent none nuclear strategic asset to a country that is not really a close friend. B)is likely to pass on information to potential enemies or could end up in an alliance with our likely enemies. We need to remember that the fact our opponents in the falklands war had an intimate… Read more »


1) it would only go through if it was built in India, so no british jobs, tax revenues etc.

I would like to think if they where built it would be some form of joint venture between BAE and an Indian shipyard. I doubt the UK government would give away all of the IP for the RR engines and power management systems etc. UK industry would still benefit hugely if this deal went through.
Manufacturing the hulls themselves is not the most complex aspect of these ships.

As a proven 21st century design this makes excellent sense for India, built along the same contract parameters as the T26 selection for Australia & Canada, no doubt. Yes, they’d wish it to be cats/traps from the outset but this could conceivably benefit the UK as the exact requirements – and any associated issues – of adapting QE/POW in the future will be pretty much understood at the practical level. ‘Course, the Treasury’s view will be just let them have one of our two, if they’re given half a chance, and bugger the embarassment and lack of high-tech export kudos.

Cam hunter

We should get HMS Hermes back if they choose BAE as a gift to our great nation…. 5hen we might have one carrier for the nation to visit…

Rob T

It’s both a risk and an opportunity. The risk comes from India’s close defence relationships with Russia. The opportunity comes from taking steps to loosening that connection, especially if (as it should be) the QEC design proves to be a massive step change from their current Russian based carriers.

UK GOv needs to make this a first step in improving the security and defence ties with India, rather than an outlier. Small, cautious steps to be sure but steps nonetheless.


Give it enough time the MOD will end up selling HMS POW to India, we can barely muster the resources for one aircraft carrier – let alone two.


Good thinking sell it for 13 Billion, build 3 more for six Billion and donate the profit to the NHS. Perhaps the Americans would like to replace their Wasp class. The opportunities are endless.


Let us all hope that the second unwanted English carrier could be sold to the Indians, HMS Prince of Wales aka ‘the Big Ears’

Daniele Mandelli

Red alert! TH is back!

“English Carrier”

Here we go again…. let the arguments begin. Get ready for the contentious statements designed to rile people up. Oh dear.

I would love to meet all these people who don’t want the second carrier. I don’t really know anyone who knows anything about the military and what we have. The fact we have one would surprise many! Most people seem to have no knowledge and zero opinion unfortunately.


? Please explain

Me? Talking about the general public’s lack of interest in our military


Sorry no that was mainly aimed at Danielle. You are correct about the public although they do expect sub-consciously that the military will be there when needed. They will also expect any task force to be led by aircraft carriers and wow betide any politician or civil servant who has neglected their duty.

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Mark. You have obviously not been reading UKDJ for very long. Carry on reading whenever TH posts and see what impression you form. Or, read back a years worth and see the posts, the arguments, the reaction, the deflection, the avoidance, the sly comments designed to irritate, the inflammatory comments, the loathing for English “imperialism” the desire to disarm. A Troll. All are entitled to their opinion of course but it is like a vegan going on a website for carnivores. What is the point except to troll. This is a website for UK defence matters populated by those… Read more »

The one that’s being built in Scotland, supporting thousands of Scottish jobs.

Hoping someone can enlighten me… Who actually owns the overall design licences for the Queen Elizabeth Class? HM Government? BAE systems? Aircraft Carrier Alliance? or someone else?
Similarly with the Type 26 being exported to Canada and Australia, who sees the revenue?
[email protected]

Paul T

[email protected] – pick from any company or companies from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance id guess.

The winning design from the initial competition was from the Thales group, so I’d guess that the actual IP is with Thales or BMT, but the fact that BAES are marketing the design to the Indians implies they either hold the IP or are authorised to conduct marketing as part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance

Fat Dave

The RN and the UK would be better off if we sold both the carriers to the Indians now and used the money to bolster the RN with extra ships and extra manpower.
Slightly embarrassing for the UK but we would soon get over it.

Daniele Mandelli

I don’t agree, I’m sorry.


Your argument lacks detail. Why? What type of ships? Desired strategy? It’s a bit vague to say the least.

Paul T

Fat Dave – say both Carriers were sold for £3 billion each,without estimating through life running costs and Air Wings etc,you could say buy 6 more T45’s,or 4 more Astutes or even 4 more Type 26’s,when you consider the potency and flexibility of a Carrier wuld you be prepared to swap ?.

Paul Bestwick

Dave, what threat is out there that makes a carrier more vulnerable than any other surface ship? The two main threats I see at present are anti-ship type missiles be they high flying fast ones or low flying and stealthy. Having an air group gives more chance of spotting both of these than not having that air group. Shooting down the latter is easier for a fighter above the missile. The other main threat is from submarines, the main weapons for fighting subs, other subs and helicopters. In a sustained operation the carriers superior aviation facilities are likely to give… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

What is a blue water navy for?

For me it means the capability to close a sea to an adversary ( Carrier aviation and SSN ) Power project ( Carrier aviation and SSN ) and protect sea lanes ( Carrier aviation )

Even in a humanitarian role the helicopter group is considerable.

I don’t need to describe the soft power aspects.

Carriers, SSN, the amphibious ships, and the RFA are the corner stones of our naval forces around which all else should be built IMO.

God’s alive. First the type 26. Now QE class, would be excellent if the ship is ordered especially if 1 built in UK and another 2 or 3 in India. India is struggling, they need carrier power to face down China and it’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean but their Russian bought carriers have proven rubbish and their indigenous carrier design is not as good as the QE and is running late and over budget All R+D though funded by HMG. When will UK taxpayers see some benefit for this. Any chance we can get a price drop on… Read more »


So Mig29s, ski jump, traps and no cats?
Or EMCAT resurrection and a route for cats and traps refit for QE?
Ironic if India got QE class carriers with Rafale.

Is this the same India that’s collaborating with Russia to produce a hyper-sonic missile which threatens us so much? I wouldn’t sell anything to these call centre nuisance callers for a hundred billion pounds let alone how much we are getting from this.

captain P Wash

I don’t know, go away for a night and I miss all the fun. (Chicken Phall was great )

Hands off our Carriers, they are an absolute bargain, Keep them, use them to make a difference you never know what the future will bring. We all should be very proud.

We should be actively trying to Sell the Design just like the Type 26’s.
I Love India and wish we had a closer relationship. If they do go with a QE class then Good on them. Let’s start something good here.

I consider the risk to the Russians in selling their tech to the Indians on at least a par with any risk of our doing the same. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that we could already know, or may well know if a future requirement dictated, quite a bit about the missile, do you not think, Jonny?
As an aside, on the F1 front, I’m concerned that we no longer design the power units!

Looks like I’m wrong on the F1 front, happily. Mercedes is evidently IImor Engineering Ltd, a company I thought had left F1 years ago. Better I keep to something less contentious, like politics, maybe.


The Mercedes chassis and engine is all British. British Design, engineering and manufacture. Mercedes buy into British talent and get thier name put on the car and since rules were changed for anthems, the German one is played instead of the British one. I’m sure if this was the other way around, the German anthem would still be played. The British are brilliant, but stupid.


Given all the concerns that RN ships must be built in the UK to maintain domestic capabilities and security. The outcry that production must leave the Clyde if Scotland we’re to leave the union. I must admit it’s perplexing how they square the need for security and selling the state of the art design to a foreign power already known to have dealings with sensitive nations. The resilience, endurance, performance, radar signature, sonar signature, layout are all surely of strategic value. They would all be gifted outside our control if the ships are sold outside NATO. Given India would certainly… Read more »