“The Carrier Strike Group offers cutting-edge air, surface and underwater defence, but it is also a focal point for the worldwide democratic activity that is more powerful than any weaponry.”

The Royal Navy have launched a new section of their website detailing the upcoming deployment.

“Fast jets. Helicopters. Destroyers. Frigates. Nuclear submarines. Support vessels. Minesweepers. They’re all vital pieces of kit, each with their own role to play in the modern Royal Navy. But put them together, with a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier at their centre, and you have a fighting force that’s as potent as it is flexible.”

You can, and you’re encouraged to, read the page for yourself for all the most up to date information on the deployment as it gets ready to begin.

What’s happening?

HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will deploy to the Pacific later this year.

Prior to the deployment, it is understood that the carrier strike group will go through a work-up trial off the west Hebrides range sometime in early 2021.

It is understood that the deployment will see the Carrier Strike Group sail in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf and end up in the Pacific before returning home.

The Ministry of Defence say that the Carrier Strike Group “offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage, reassuring our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth (and 15 F-35B jets) sailing with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tideforce in addition to the USS The Sullivans and Dutch vessel HNLMS Evertsen.

The Ministry of Defence say that the deployment is expected to include NATO’s most sophisticated destroyers — the Royal Navy’s Type 45s HMS Diamond and HMS Defender and US Navy Arleigh Burke-class USS The Sullivans as well as frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Kent from the UK.

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maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago

The development of remote weapons such as drones will I’m sure become a hurricane of activity in the near future. The increasing effectiveness of these systems could begin to question the current structures, and vessels, for fighting such threats? The one weapon that has me concerned, is a mass drone attack, and how quickly they could inundate radar and ‘close in’ defences? The burning question has to be the vulnerability of large naval vessels to concentrated attacks as witnessed during the Pacific War and kamikaze tactics. The carriers were a huge temptation and determined Japanese pilots managed to get through… Read more »

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I think you will find that there are countermeasures being developed for this mass drone threat if ever it comes about.

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

Or is that wishful thinking Mark F? I can’t help feeling that close-in defence wasn’t the key priority for the QE Class and only recently did a third Phalanx get fitted to QE. I doubt there is a way of dealing with a drone swarm at this time but I’m sure such a threat is being taken very seriously.

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I think the answer to drone swarms, not implemented yet but certainly under development, will be directed-energy-weapons. It’s the next major technology leap in naval warfare and would be effective against missiles too.

Having said that many of the new gun ammo types with programmable warheads should also be effective. Possibly explains why they went for the extra large calibre guns on the T31e as opposed to more missiles.

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Whatever is developed needs to achieve an umbrella of protection in order to avoid multiple strikes.

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Thank you pkcasimir, looks like an interesting read. One key factor against such counter bombardment weapons is packageability on existing naval vessels? Just how much space will such systems take up? In the case of the QE Class, space is pretty well accounted for, so additional outer deck structures can’t be ruled out. I would imagine the appearance of the RN carriers will change significantly over the coming years? The mega swarm threat must be giving naval architects some additional headaches, especially the Type 26/31 teams?

Max Jones
Max Jones
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I hear drone swarms come up a lot. In this case, what is that referring to? A handful of expensive long range combat UAVs like MQ-9s? A swarm (hundreds) of these UACVs? A swarm (hundreds) of small quadcopter drones with maybe a hand grenade or small explosive attached to each? Option one is no different than any other competent attack. It is a threat but it is countered by intensive air surveillance, jet aircraft capable of reforming interceptions, air defence destroyers with long range SAMs, various warships for short-range SAMs after this, warships with decoys and jamming systems to defeat… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  Max Jones

Max Jones, a very interesting overview. You may be interested to know the QE will be fitted with a new ‘close in’ missile for its deployment to the Far East. These fire posts will be in addition to the currently fitted weapon systems. If you go onto U-Tube today and put in QE’s new missile, hopefully, you will find it?

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

You may be referring to Martlet, a small missile which can be mounted to the same 30mm guns that the Queen Elizabeth class have. However, that was only trialled once a few years ago and it is not likely to be taken any further.

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Yes, you are correct it’s Martlet and will be mounted to the 30mm existing guns. The RN plan to buy a considerable number of these unjammable systems. Also, they will be fitted to Wildcat during the Far East mission.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

You must have misunderstood me, my point is that it is very likely they won’t be fitted to the 30mms as we haven’t heard anything since their real world test a few years ago.

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

How about some WW2 vintage flak weapons. These would cause chaos in a tight formation of drones including the detonation of the onboard ordinance? Also would the use of drones not be hugely expensive as they would have very high attrition rates?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

You mean like the 30 & 40mm Bofors?

geoff
geoff
4 months ago

Indeed, although in all of this it would depend how the ‘swarm’ is configured. they might be many in numbers and spaced from all directions so old world flak might not do it

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Combination of 30mm outer layer and phalanx inner layer can drop an awful lot of drones.

I’m assuming this is why the 30mm cannons were fitted to to QEC.

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Where do these drones come from? What is their range? How big are they? What size of (we must presume) bomb do they carry? How do target?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

ATM not much load and not that much range. But this is going to increase. Particularly once civilian drones with turbo engines / turbo generators become common place. Range isn’t an issue in places like the Gulf where you can be a very short distance from potential take off point on sovereign territory most of the time. The issue ATM is more can someone fly the relatively small drones with small charges close enough to critical parts of the ships sensors to do some damage. People will talk about radar but forget that the sheer RF power of a naval… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Supportive Bloke appears to answer your question very cynically. In principle, it works in a similar way to Merve (?) ballistic nuclear missiles by ejecting multiple warheads over the target.

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

A ballistic nuclear missile is very expensive and leaving aside the fissile material it has sophistocated guidance. It also of course gives you a very big bang for a small weapon and need not have to land on a sixpence. So I do not see the similarity. To give a drone a big enough bang it has to be big and has to be heavy and has to be more complex and has to be more expensive and it has to targeted. All these problems apply to the range. And it has to apply to the delivery system. So I… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Thermonuclear warheads are not that big or that heavy IRL. Most implosion compressed thermonuclear warheads are actually hollow to allow the super compression. This is achieved by throwing the hollow sphere into forming a solid central sphere at high speed with the surrounding explosives. Almost all nuclear weapons have worked in this sort of way and you look at the the photos of the early weapons you can make out the explosive plates inside the containment sphere and all the detonators with identical wire lengths to get the timing right. If you make a drone fast enough and with a… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago

Yes. Although I am only a bloke on a sofa I now that thermo nuclear weapons are not that big and not that heavy. But they are heavy enough. But for all of that they are big enough as well. None of this is the point I am making about drones with non nuclear explosive. I do not see them like drones. My continuing question is one relating to these conventional so called swarms of drones. How many of them. How big are they, how heavy are they, how fast, how accurate what range what payload. We get lots of… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

As an example of where we are with swarming technology, look at London’s 2021 New Year fireworks display. As part of the display they used 300 drones. The below link gives an insight: A look behind London’s huge New Year’s drone light show – DroneDJ The drones used were relatively small quadcopters, each with a GPS receiver and coordinated through a ground station. Both China and Japan have used over a 1000 drones in their recent displays. A quadcopter style drone varies in size and cost. Something like the Aerigon Drone used by the BBC, can be as much as… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I think we are at crossed purposes here. I fundamentally agree with what you are saying. I don’t think the current crop of small drones that can be bought in large numbers is a naval threat. As I do not believe that dropping a hand grenade onto a QEC is going to do much damage even if it penetrates the Phalanx and 30mm setup. The only way I see damage being serious is if you can hit a critical bit of infrastructure with some HE. But this does not take into account the fundamental issues of flying around something big… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago

Yeas indeed. Thank you

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago

I guess it depends on your definition of what a drone is and then its capability? For example, both Brimstone and Spear-3, when fired as a “swarm” will network with each other. Each missile will pick out a target, i.e. convoy, group of tanks, etc or a point on a large target such as a ship. Then cross refer to each other to make sure they don’t duplicate the specific target. It can do this because the missile’s use a 90Ghz millimetric radar to create a high resolution image of the target, then use this to pin point weak spots… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

The Soviet P-700 allegedly did that.

Although what it allegedly did with the technology of the time was about as plausible as Putin’s CGI efforts!

I do see the boundaries between missiles and drones becoming more and more blurry.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago

This may look good but the F35 is a disaster. Still not ready after 20 years and only equipped so far with Asraam and Paveway, no real improvement on the Sea Harrier. It is looking ever more likely that we will never have more than 48 operational, so either the PoW will be a helicopter carrier or both carriers will operate at less than half capacity. Given the evident unwillingness to fund defence properly, these carriers, splendid though they look, were a massive mistake with seriously harmful consequences for the RN and forces as a whole. If the stories about… Read more »

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Ahh, the Remoaner still not letting go…….

dave12
dave12
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

Peter has a good point though any army below 100,000 personnel is seriously limited surely.

George Royce
George Royce
4 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Indeed. The F-35 was a fighter bomber right from the get-go. It’s large internal bay makes the aircraft bulky. The F22 is purely air superiority, and has a bay only for missiles. It’s slimmer and has incredible performance. The F-35 doesn’t even do the job well ENOUGH for the price. It’s overpriced and the Americans have all the rights to make improvements. Why would we buy an aircraft that WE can’t adapt to our needs? We have to wait for the US to certify our Paveway IV and Meteor missile. How long? 5-10 years?? Pfffff. Absolute bollocks. Thank god for… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

I agree completely.

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

So do I. One thing that disappoints is how the Army Reserve has not lived up to expectations in terms of numbers to fill the gaps created by the smaller Regular Army. Part timers make up highly effective numbers and units in Israel, the USA and other European countries. A combination of an improved and dare I say more attractive setup along with(and again dare I say) limited conscription could be used to bosst morale and numbers.Many a wayward youth has been given direction in life by time in the Army. Here in South Africa, National Service was compulsory during… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Previous cuts to full time numbers were accompanied by a plan to make greater use of reserves. As you note, this hasn’t materialised. Perhaps the aim should be changed: in 1914, the TA included men who had agreed to serve overseas and those who hadn’t. What UK lacks is a reserve of trained personnel of the kind provided in France by the gendarmerie or in Italy by they carabinieri. So what we need is trained personnel to back up the civil power in a crisis. With a guarantee of no overseas service, it might be easier to attract volunteers to… Read more »

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Good post Pete

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

What rubbish you listen to!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

We don’t even know what Tempest is yet, or if it will even happen. And that kind of post shows you know very little about aircraft, let alone the F35.

Max Jones
Max Jones
4 months ago
Reply to  George Royce

The shape and flight performance of aircraft aren’t that vital if they still have a low RCS and are engaging from a hundred kilometres.

Paveway and AMRAAM are already in service, as is ASRAAM. We will get Meteor as a long-range alternative within a few years and SPEAR 3 is well on its way.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

As a convinced Brexit supporter, I won’t be offended! I am just worried that we continue to make poor decisions about defence. The carriers were ordered as part of the new world order interventionist ambition. Without a powerful land force.to project, their main raison d’etre disappears. If we reduce the army to a self defence force, logically we should do the same for the navy. I would be delighted to have the carriers provided: * we equip them properly and * the huge costs( ships and aircraft)are not allowed to crowd out other necessary capabilities. Hope that’s clear. I also… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

I would be delighted to have the carriers provided:
* we equip them properly and

Completely agree, and likewise with the T26 (should have LRASM/Tomahawk/ASROC and onboard torpedos), T45 (fitted for but not with Mk 41 VLS), and F35 (should’ve had Storm Shadow, plus LRASM).

Army should be getting new tanks and artillery systems etc. Huge wastage in the MoD procurement process (worked there myself many years ago as a mere summer temp but it was obvious even to me at that time what the attitude towards tax payers money was.)

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

But a T45 needs all available A50 silos for air defence.

Andy a
Andy a
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Does any one know why storm shadow not on f35 or are we buying something newer? Future of spear as networked mini cruise looks great but surely we need a bigger one range missle with area denial? Against peer enemy spear will be way to close range. I read there gunna develop it like grey wolf with swarming IT
maybe we are holding out for lrasm on t26 and f35? Yeah not at that price

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

Storm Shadow is out of service by 2030 and couldn’t be integrated on the F35 until later blocks past 2025. Not much point being the sole country funding such an integration for just 5 years of possible use.

Jacko
Jacko
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S
Ian
Ian
4 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Hi Jacko
A very good read…….Thanks
Ian

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Thanks Jacko. Interesting read but I still feel intuitively that if a First World country like the UK with a population of 60 million cannot field a nominally sized Army of 100 000, then something is radically amiss!!

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

It is an interesting read but is based, I feel, on a false premise. It argues that we have a choice between a larger less capable army and a smaller, fully equipped one. In fact the army is already small, smaller than it has been for centuries. So the comparison fails. Cost savings of a reduction of 8000/10000 might amount to £400/500m per annum. This would buy half a T26 or 3 F35s or at present prices 50 new MBTs.This is not transformational funding. Against a background of total government spending, it is peanuts.

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

I always have a chuckle when someone writes a report on how we can manage with a smaller military. They always see technology as the answer and never consider that technology can and will fail, but also that it can’t be in two places at once. Well the truth is that technology does help, but it is not an effective replacement for numbers. The report mentions how a platoon will be able to be significantly more effective as they are part of a network and can call-in and coordinate fire support missions etc. However, once that platoon is pin pointed… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Brilliant summary!

Klonkie
Klonkie
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

The British Army has historically fielded the “second 11” to the RN RAF. I cant help but think back to Sep 1939. On matters RAF, where oh where are the chopped 4-6 jet squadrons culled in the 2010 review?

Anyone, Bueller, anyone ?
“Bring back, oh bring back, bring back my bomber and me!”

Andy P
Andy P
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

“Without a powerful land force.to project, their main raison d’etre disappears. If we reduce the army to a self defence force, logically we should do the same for the navy.” Not sure I follow the logic of this Peter S, there will be various ‘tweaks’ to the balance of the Forces for a number of reasons, some will be driven by tactics or technology and yeah, some will be financially driven but I don’t buy into the notion that if the army is going to take a reduction in numbers then the baby should go out with the bath water.… Read more »

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Peter. Interventionist ambitions-yes, but the carriers were also ordered to provide air cover for the Navy when operating out of range of land based aircraft. The UK retains overseas interests and assets near the top of the table in the pecking order including significant overseas territories so power projection apart from “strutting the world stage” remains a justifiable reason to have carriers.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

So called ‘new world order interventionism’ is here to stay, it is required PeterS!

Klonkie
Klonkie
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Peter I don’t think the idea of POW operating as a hybrid assaults carrier is a daft one. Possibly f35 and helos, similar to HMS Hermes in the Falklands 1982. I feel 48 deployable F35’s present a workable number -less than ideal for sure. These is also the case around redundancy with POW standing in for QE when in dry dock. I’m unsure how much work is involved to modify from hybrid assault carrier to standard carrier configuration though – be interested n to know. I don’t agree that the F35 can be labeled a disaster. Yes, there are… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

I agree also!
But every thing in Peter’s eyes, seems to be a disaster disaster disaster…

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Disaster ? ?????? sorry but that’s utter shite ? development takes a long time. The F15 and F16 still flying still getting upgrades 40 plus years later. The F35 is in its infancy only just operational. I know you prob want everything done yesterday but geeeesssoooo c’mon man give it a chance ffs. lol are you seriously comparing a sea harrier FA2 to the F35? ? There is a 20 Billion uplift in defence spending over next 4 years if we have 48 F35 operational then that’s a bloody good achievement and easily enough to equip one of the carriers… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
4 months ago

Hi Loss Pollos- agree, good points. The spend up swing is long overdue and welcome.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago

Worth reading ” F35 the plane that ate the Pentagon” on a number ofserious US sites. I fully understand that the plane is a generation ahead of the Harrier. But it is far too complicated and fragile to be ideal for carrier operations. The US navy continues to buy F18s and seems wary of the F35c. We are stuck with F35 b, which 20 years after winning the JSF competition,( some infant!) still has major unresolved problems, some of which cannot be fixed. Supersonic flight at altitude for more than a short burst destroys the stealth coating and even the… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Where are the enemy 5th gen planes?

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Completely agree. Not only that but GAO and DOT&E annual reports clearly mention all the deficiencies (technical, operational etc…)
Last golden nugget to have surfaced is that the engines age prematurely!!!!! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-10/air-force-cuts-back-exhibition-flights-on-new-f-35-engine-woes

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Nah man your way off on this. I am not disputing the issues you have raised with the programme however there has never been anything on this scale and technological complexity before. same yawnsome point I’ve made countless times the Ah64 was considered shite and the naysayers wanted it binned and all funding pulled back when I was watching Willow the Wisp . Now look at it in its E Variant. That’s just 1 example there are plenty more. bottom line only a few people (none of them post comments or write articles on this ) really know whether it’s… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago

I’d broadly agree

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago

I agree with most of what you said!
But unfortunately Peter is a hard left ‘Do nothing man/woman’.
Very misguided indeed!

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

?

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Are you on powerful medication? What is hard left about wanting more spent on defence but also better spent.
The article asks if the carriers are too big. The answer is simple:
* If we buy enough aircraft to equip them fully as planned- no.
*If we buy enough to fully load out one carrier or half load both- yes.
Whether spending so much on fixed wing carriers is a wise decision is a different and rather more complicated question.

TrevorH
TrevorH
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

We have interests. Having a small but shiny army gives us zero interest. (Although i suggest having strong intelligence assets helps us, and special end elite forces reinforces that)

We must pursue our interests… And for me, well I have come to the conclusion that having a maritime presence is fundamental in pursuing our interests.

We and our allies use our military strength to deter aggression, to deter attacks on ourselves, and our interests.

Defining our interests and detering enemies from interfering with our interests is the fundamental starting point in our defence strategy.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

This article is Not about a carrier being too big! It about the carrier battle group capability and the number of escorts and where to deploy.
So what powerful medication Are you then to think that?

Ho, I see you have had a very bad day indeed!!

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I should have added that it was Navy Lookout that asked whether the qes are too big.
There is an interesting article in Forbes from 2020, setting out the negative impact the carriers cost has had on the wider equipment procurement.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

A small impact, compared to big ticket programs like Astute, Typoon and Deadnought with big cost overruns.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Didn’t you know Peter, there are some types on this website (usually Daily Heil readers) that think that Chris Patten is left-wing ?! I expect the silliness to dissipate once Wetherspoons is open again! I love the chummy reassurance that they give each other….undereducated and rather pathetic really!

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago

Also it seems, that Peter has replaced Harold as leader of the “anti carrier brigade’!

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

??

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Nah, that’s Big Dave. Harold was against anything that moved regarding the UK trying to be somebody.

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago

Yep that’s big Dave, a carrier must have ran off with his missus.

Andy a
Andy a
4 months ago

Agree f35 over priced but let’s give it chance

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

No real improvement over the Sea Harrier ? that’s a good one.

Max Jones
Max Jones
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I’m guessing these people expect the F-35Bs to be dogfighting against Argentine aircraft at close-quarters like during the Falklands.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Max Jones

I guess they do. Some very old school thinking on this thread. And in close combat, the F35B would be way better then the Harrier, much better performance, ASRAAM, and a helmet mounted sight. I worked on Harrier FA2’s and GR7/9, fantastic aircraft in it’s day, but F35 is in a different universe. ?

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Max Jones

Even if they were to engage in close quarters, the F35 is a serious threat. Having far superior situational awareness and the ability to fire ASRAAMs in any direction means that the jet with the better manoeuvrability is by no means the victor.

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

It is the current weapon fit on the F35 that is no improvement on the Shar, not the aircraft per se. When SeaSpear 3 and Meteor are integrated, we will see a big improvement. But both are some way off and so the initial round the world trip will be with every limited armament.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

AMRAAM & ASRAAM combined with the aircrafts all aspect stealth, AN/APG81 radar, and HMS and unrivalled situational awareness is a very potent air air capability. And Paveway 4 is a extremely accurate and flexible weapon that can be delivered from stand off ranges. So although Meteor and Spear 3 are a few years away, the overall capability offered from F35 is a huge leap over any Harrier variant.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

We have never planned to operate both carriers at the same time. Having two vessels allows us to have one available 365 a year to work around refits and maintenance. Somthing the French cannot do because they only have one carrier.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

To be pedantic, the original plan was to see a significant overlap in carrier deployments and the ability to consistently field 2 squadrons on each carrier at once.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Or 2nd carrier in home waters training and work up exercise.

Robert
Robert
4 months ago

Interesting read – both the comments and article, thank you. I am a relatively new reader here so apologies if I am flogging a dead horse, but the more I read about the strike group, the more frustrating and baffling I find it that our carriers were built without CATOBAR. The benefits this would have provided to the strike mix of the aircraft on board would have made a hugely more effective force. Instead, we are limited in our operations to the short ranged F-35, regardless of how good it is, and slow rotary wing support aircraft (Merlin Crowsnest). Wishful… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Robert
Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert

I think the increased build and through-life costs of CATOBAR would have resulted in the cancellation of one or both carriers. The QE are compromised for sure but then so are the carriers of every other navy bar the USN. At least we have the flexibility and availability of two ships, which counts for a lot. Affordability was always key and if costs had risen further the plug would have been pulled, leaving the RN out of the fixed-wing aviation game for good. Had we gone for CATOBAR, the obvious choice would have been the F35C. There will never be… Read more »

Robert
Robert
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul C

Thank you both for the informative and detailed replies, all very interesting.

LongTime
LongTime
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert

Hi Rob. Only going to pick up on the v-22 comment, it’s not really a viable option with the budgetary constraints we face, The per Unit price is high, Maintenance hrs vs operational hrs are rediculous (4+:1), The kits we require don’t exist except for on paper (AWACS/Refuelling) admittedly Cobhams palletised AAR kit might fit inside the USN variant but it’ll be a bloody tight squeeze. Even the USN has had to invest heavily in their at sea maintenance facilities to support the engine during any bearing work. It’s just not a goer. The Valor might be something to look… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  LongTime

I don’t think Valor is suitable for AAR, because is has not got a large rear door to unload pallets out.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

AAR is usually done using a bladder construction?

The cage the bladders sits in can be assembled inside the Valor with the bladder flat.

The bladder is then filled in situ – as with all the standard palletised kit I’m aware of.

Sure it makes fast swap of functions slow. But it is a viable solution: when compared to having no solution at all?

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago

Thanks for that info on AAR.

Any idea when the Valor will be ready for service?

LongTime
LongTime
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

No fixed date on it yet but Bell rumoured 2025 a few years ago. Depends on who wins the future vertical lift contract in the US which personally it should. Bell has suggested they will carry on development even if Boeing win the competition, mainly due to international customers looking at the design.

LongTime
LongTime
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

There’s no kit spec’d for it but there is a proposed ‘gunship’ version with wing hardpoints and renders of that show it with drop tanks, so I’m making an educated assumption that if tanks could fit so could a buddy pod??

David Barry
David Barry
4 months ago

The hyperbole is strong in this one. The editor is poor… capitalisation of all the support vessels but lower caps for aircraft carrier… strange.

Wish them all well and come home in one piece.

David Flandry
David Flandry
4 months ago

It should not need saying, but doe in some quarters: A carrier strike group is solely dependent on its fast jets(ASW is defensive only). The present buy rate is too slow.