HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew are simulating a “global crisis” to see how the aircraft carrier and her escorts would fare in the real world.

At its largest, her task group will comprise more than a dozen warships, support vessels and squadrons, including three dozen F-35B jets and helicopters – around 3,700 military personnel in all.

The Royal Navy say here that the two-week-long Virtual Warrior is one of two final assessments the ship and command staff must come through before the 65,000-tonne warship leads her task force on deployment.

“The digital workout picks up where the carrier strike group disbanded last autumn at the end of exercises off Scotland. It will be followed by a live-action assessment during this spring’s Joint Warrior war game, ‘Strike Warrior’, after which the force can head to Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region on its Carrier Strike Group 21 mission. Making use of an impressive combined computer training suite at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Virtual Warrior allows various scenarios to be played out – testing the ability of the Carrier Strike Group staff to respond to multiple incidents and issues, across a vast area.”

The release adds:

“At its largest the task group will comprise more than a dozen warships, support vessels and squadrons, including three dozen F-35B jets and helicopters – around 3,700 military personnel in all. But there will be times when some vessels and aircraft break away from the force for specific missions – so the team on HMS Queen Elizabeth must be able to direct and advise their actions, as well as the core carrier group.”

Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Olver of the Carrier Strike Group staff, was quoted as saying:

“Virtual Warrior is about command and control – it may not be as exciting as being at sea, but it’s just as important. The carrier group will consist of numerous ships and squadrons, some operating at considerable range. It’s crucial that they are all thinking and operating in the same way and information is shared around them. Each one of the ‘warrior’ exercises is more sophisticated and demanding with Strike Warrior the final ‘tick in the box’ before we sail.”

You can read more about the upcoming deployment here.

British Carrier Strike Group heading to Pacific this year

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
122 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
andy
8 months ago

does anyone know if the remedial work that caused the pow flooding incident has been done on hmsQE yet,or will it be after deployment??

BB85
BB85
8 months ago
Reply to  andy

I think it has, from the tabloid sources I read it was put down to burst pipes which is probably to be expected on a newish ship being put through its paces. Lets hope anyway.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
8 months ago
Reply to  andy

Well of course she has had her own flooding problems in the past and certainly remedial work has been done in light of that, but whether it’s the final solution that’s planned for them both I don’t know.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  andy

leaks caused by a design flaw and joining a pipe just where a pipe shouldn’t, its the same issue that QE experienced while anchored off Weymouth and she limped into Pompey last year. it was classed as an issue, POWs was run upto pressure alongside in Pompey until it popped. proving the design issue and then Carrier Alliance had to pay for the works. its kept very quiet and not talked about and they cannot go to sea with these issues. as it cuts power…

Trevor G
Trevor G
8 months ago

I assume if at some point it is 36 F35 on board that the majority will be USMC?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Trevor G

It isn’t 36 F35’s, it’s 36 total aircraft with F35 and Merlin & Wildcat.

Trevor G
Trevor G
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I guess I misread that, although I doubt I will be the only one, given that we are told endlessly that the full air complement is 36 x F35 plus the helicopters. Sentence construction could have made that more clear.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Trevor G

We will get to 36 F35 eventually. We will be able to deploy 24 British F35’s in 2023. 24 might not sound like much, but you would have to go back to 2003 was the last time we deployed more than 24 fast jets of a single type. 32 Tornado GR4’s deployed for Op Telic.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Not only that it will be 24 5th generation cabs, which is lot of navel power projection by anyone’s standards.

TrevorH
TrevorH
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

CAB means different things. It leaves me confused. But all these acronyms do.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Hi Trevor it’s slang for aircraft.

TrevorH
TrevorH
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes. And it’s used in other ways for other people.
Why do people just call them planes.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Don’t forget even the world plane has around 8 means ( and I think you can get to 9 if you start getting all cutting edge physics).

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I do love the English language it’s so utterly abstruse

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hi Jonathan-indeed. I’m sure you are familiar with these, all different pronounciations of ‘..ough”-bough, lough,thorough,tough,through,cough. How do ‘foreigners’cope? I am often afeared to ask what a particular acronym means on this site and normally just nod knowingly in front of my PC 🙂
Here are a couple from South Africa that Sky News can never get right- Beit Bridge is not Beit as in bate, but BITE. Bloemfontein-I battled to find a similar sounding English syllable-Sky News people say Blooomfontein. It is actually a short cross between o and u, as in Schtum-Bloemfontein.
Cheers

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

..or Beit as in bait..

TrevorH
TrevorH
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You are plain correct

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

In this context it is incorrect. CAB in military speak refers to a helicopters, as you call a cab to take you somewhere. Fixed wing, especially fighters, are always known as jets.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Actually that’s not correct, the RAF use CAB to mean rotor, FAA types would use cab to mean their jets. There is an older use around cab rank for a stack of fighter bombers as well.

Brian Fantana
Brian Fantana
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Actually, that’s incorrect. In the FAA we refer to our fixed wing aircraft as jets and all rotary wing as cabs.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian Fantana

It’s what my dad and all his mates called their Vixens and phantoms but then that was a long time ago.

Andrew
Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

There was me thinking they were taking 36 Taxi’s on board…. A cab for me is a taxi!

Meirion X
Meirion X
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Love to see a Grower version of the F-35 developed. Using the internal bomb rail to hold a EW package. Also hope to see more missiles fitted internally in the future.

Last edited 8 months ago by Meirion X
ETH
ETH
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Lockheed Martin is developing ‘sidekick’ for the A and C jets, allowing for 2 AAMs to be held on the weapons bay door hardpoint instead of one.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

It is only the aerial / antenna that needs to be external on a growler package.

The pod could, as you point out, sit stealthily on a bomb bay rack probably only using one spot. Still leaving space for other munitions and taskings.

That being said my understanding is that the F35 has got quite a lot of growling built into it anyway!

Paul42
Paul42
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

USMC is already working on that with pods being developed to be carried on the F35B.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I think the F35’s radar already has electronic attack capabilities, and the aircraft already is a formidable ISTAR asset in it’s own right.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Probably back to the 60 or 70s, even, for when we last operated that many fixed wing jets of any type from a carrier.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

the issue is we currently have more F35s than trained pilots and the training programme is well behind. and taking some 18months longer than the programme.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Sometimes I think when people call out that we need to buy more airframes and quicker, they forget that we can’t just pull qualified pilots and engineers out of thin air. ?

John Stott
John Stott
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Engineers are leaving the RAF because they “did not join to go to sea”. I know five personally as l live near Marham who have left in the past six months. The same issue occurred with Harriers so lessons learned then were ignored by the PTB. Putting it bluntly the FAA needs to have its own squadrons and staff who are RN. That’s how the RAF will retain staff. Also purchasing the correct model for RAF use would be a start, the F35B is no replacement for Tornado due to its limitations in range and payload. The “loyal wingman” concept… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  John Stott

I’m sorry, but that argument doesn’t stack up, I didn’t join the RN to go and sit in Afghanistan for 6 months or Iraq, but i did it, I also spent 4 years at RAF Cottesmore, I didn’t PVR because of it. Times move on, and everyone who joins the forces has to be adaptable. F35B isn’t intended to be a Tornado replacement, as many of it’s air to ground capability has been passed to the Typhoon force. And in terms of range, the F35B has a considerable larger internal fuel capacity then the Tornado GR4, and way better performance.

Matt C
Matt C
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

One of the configurations suggested was 36 x F35s and 4 helicopters. And more can be surged.

Ian M
Ian M
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

That would be interesting, the airborne early warning is helo mounted, with only 4 helo’s they could only provide a very limited coverage.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

I think at max surge they could carry 40 F35’s and 10 helicopter. But we are a long way from seeing that.

Matt C
Matt C
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

If they flood the cowlings like they did in the Falklands I’m sure they can stuff in a goodly lot. The real problem is more like having enough cabs to fly off the ships.

My View
My View
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I thought it was 36 jets plus 4 helicopters (Merlin) in a typical max strike air group that made it 40?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  My View

Morning. The QE is designed to carry up to 50 aircraft. But we may have to wait a while before we see that ?

Delabatte
Delabatte
8 months ago

Hope to see the QEC cross the way of the CDG who will start deployement next week to the med + Oman golf.. 2 europeans carriers at the same place!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
8 months ago
Reply to  Delabatte

Tiny Chuck will look like a light carrier by comparison

Joe16
Joe16
8 months ago
Reply to  Delabatte

LIkewise, that’ll be good to see. France and the UK may not politically see eye to eye, but I am a Francophile and I like to see our militaries working effectively alongside each other. And I do appreciate the Rafale!

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

We/they do. Despite what political chuff our/there politicians like to say and portray, the French with the Cloggies are our best and most effective European allies and I always enjoyed working with them.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Delabatte

The UK/FR militaries cooperate very well IRL. What would be wrong with QEC and CDG being deployed at the same time somewhere to work collaboratively? It would be an enormous show of force when combined with T45, Astute, T23 (old but well respected capabilities) RFA and the various French assets including their AAW destroyer(s) and nuclear subs. We prattle on, when talking about Russian aggression, as if the RN needed to deal with it all by itself. Then we are ignoring the fact that we have a near neighbour also with a decent number of Nuclear subs and some other… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 months ago
Reply to  Delabatte

Good to see 2 European carriers at sea at the same time. The Med and Africa are our back yard. And Japan ( plus the Philippines and Vietnam) needs all the support we can give.

2/3 eurocarriers available should be a norm.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/chinas-bold-new-fishing-plan-on-australias-doorstep-increases-tensions/news-story/a27224ce439fe490a93a7be81efb6148

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago

First class training. The carrier group is so much more complex than simply numbers of aircraft. The organisation between departments, vessels, intelligence and synching it all together to make one clear picture.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago

I am constantly amazed at the number of readers who seem to be content with the current state of the Queen Elizabeth deployment and the future of carrier aviation. We are sending half the Royal Navy’s surface fleet to the South China Seas and the Indo- Pacific with a handful of British F 35’s, no modern A E W system and some Merlins and Wildcats. The Chinese must be choking on their noodles. Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favour of the U.K. having carriers and I have the greatest respect for the people who serve but they… Read more »

OldSchool
OldSchool
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

That’s why the RN is integrating with the USN. Deploying lone carriers isn’t a good idea against any half decent enemy. In Falklands we had two carriers operating. We can’t afford to operate our two carriers together ( far far too expensive to crew and provide aircraft – mmm unless US could provide such???) so we’ll be operating with allied carriers.

Davi Pinheiro
Davi Pinheiro
8 months ago
Reply to  OldSchool

This deployment to the Pacific can be a marketing tour. I will not be surprise if Britain offers one carrier to Japan, South Korea or even India

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Davi Pinheiro

Really? Why?
India wants to develop its in house defence industry.and get away from buying off the shelf that’s why it has just built its own carrier.
Japan and S Korea would be better off building a QE copy not buying second hand. They are developing light F35 carriers from their own Helo Carriers. Once they have gained experience of fixed wing Ops, we could licence the plans to them and their respective shipyards who could easily build one. The Plans will now be gathering dust …its not like we will build anymore in the next 50 Years.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Davi Pinheiro

And little grey men might land on the White house lawn.

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago

What again!

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago

They just had a big orange one for the last four years, so who knows?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Hi OldSchool, What happens if we need to use our carriers in a U.K. only scenario? You mentioned the Falklands. The carriers had to stand off and so would a Q.E. but if it carried 30/36 F 35’s it would be devastating compared to the handful of Harriers available In 1982. As for affordability I suspect that like me you would love to see two carriers operating. Realistically we cannot run both all the time but we could keep a battle group together all year and have the second carrier operational for some months each year but only we have… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Let’s put that into context. During the Falklands War we had Hermes and Invincible with 28 Sea Harriers and 14 GR3s shared between them. As we know they did not have AEW, so had to mount near continuous air patrols along expected attack routes, which didn’t always work. Jump forward nearly 40 years and we now have the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. Its normal peacetime airgroup will be 24 F35 jets, along with 8 to 10 ASW Merlins and hopefully at least 4 Crowsnest equipped AEW Merlins. Making an standard air group of between 36 to 38 aircraft. The ship… Read more »

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

…also the F35b has an approximately 50% faster top end than the Harrier. Different beast! regards

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Plus it will have Spear 3, something that was sorely missed during the ’82 campaign! The insight from Rowland White’s 809 Sqn book, states how the Argentinian forces were able to guess the location of the two carriers, due to their ingress and egress routes and timing how long the Harriers were on station. They plotted these from a surveillance radar based in Stanley. The problem the RAF and Navy/FAA had was that the Argentinians set up the radar in amongst residents houses. So a direct attack using anything but a small LGB was off the cards. Today we have… Read more »

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Hi Davey. thanks for info. on another point-i am sure that I read there was an RN Sub in the area carrying cruise missiles. If that was true why were they not utilised to attack the Argentinian Air forces main bases in Argentina?

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

No RN Submarines carried any Tomahawk Cruise Missiles in 1982.

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Some did however carry the land attack variant of the Harpoon

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

No Harpoons were carried either in 1982,it wasn’t even in the inventory at that time.

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Paul the RN undertook trials with a Sub based land attack version of Harpoon in 1981. It was fitted on HMS Conqueror in 1982. not sure if it was during the war but definitely during that year. There were rumours that it was onboard during the conflict but the British Government did not want to widen the conflict by attacking mainland Argentine.
Regards

Simon
Simon
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

There’s never going to be another Falklands conflict. Having Typhoons and (theoretically) a submarine with cruise missiles based there permanently is enough to deter the Argentine military, even if it managed to rebuild itself. But if there were to be a similar unexpected conflict elsewhere the new carriers and jets would be far more capable than they were in ’82.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Simon

Phrases like “there’s never going to be another Falklands conflict” and the complacency shown at the time is what caused the war in the first place.Today’s carriers would be no more effective than those in 1982…it’s the aircraft they carry and at this moment that is five from the UK.

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  OldSchool

With regard to the Falklands it is worth remembering that we had to commit both carriers then to ensure the Task force had every chance to succeed in its mission-we might just have sustained the loss of one if we had achieved our initial beach head. Also they were much less capable than the QE with a combined tonnage of approximately 50 000 tons-way less than one QE class, and a combined air group about the same as the QE at full capacity. Regards

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Cougar 09- Ocean, Bulwark, T23s all went east with no fixed wing group. It was never a problem then. We had units conducting visits and exercises alll over the place.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Some seem to think that China is suddenly going have a crack at us just because we are sending a really big ship East of Suez. The mind boggles sometimes. ?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Tell me then Geoff, What has the Chinese navy got that’s better when it comes to carrier aviation?? QE will deploy with Crownsnest, but they are 3 trials systems before IOC is announced. We have two of the most advanced carriers in the world and a growing fleet of 5th gen stealth strike fighters. Only the Americans will better these carriers and the capability they will be able to project. And it’s still very early day’s in the project, regenerating fixed wing carrier capability doesn’t happen overnight, and comments like that show a complete lack of understanding . The RN… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Hi Robert , What have the Chinese got/? In terms of carrier aviation …two active carriers. Otherwise they have over 100 modern destroyers, frigates and corvettes; fifteen nuclear attack boats; 600 strategic bombers and strike planes and a ring of island bases equipped with amongst other things land to sea long range missiles. Robert..with the best will in the world the U.S.A with twenty flat tops is not going to envy the U.K. and I doubt whether many others will either with what we are doing at the moment. I appreciate that it is early days but given that it… Read more »

Pete
Pete
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

But HMG are, IMHO, right to minimise orders for airframes until such time as the units ordered will come with the long awaited software to facilitate use of UK IP weapon systems such as Spear 3 etc. (and other wrinkles are also ironed out)

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Pete

The whole point here is getting the order in to suit our timescale. We can insist on the systems being correct during the build process.My daughter runs a business and if she waited until every glitch was sorted before she ordered she would never get round to ordering anything. She manages the delivery to make sure she gets what she wants on arrival.

Pete
Pete
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

If only it were that simple when it comes to mission software. UK Inc can order what it wants but politically US Inc is working to a different time-scale…and that software version is not just for the benefit of the UK. I do seem to recall @ 12 years ago UK negotiated sovereign rights to core software code but have the right code in all versions will allow UK Inc to market its bespoke weapons to other F35 users.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Two active carrier’s with a very limited airwing of old Russian 4th gen fighters that can’t takeoff with a useful payload. They will not trouble any F35 pilots. They do have a large fleet, but they can’t deploy it globally. And America has 11 carriers, not 20. The Americans are envious because we can build two large carriers at a fraction of the cost of a single Ford class carrier. QE class are designed from day one to integrate with F35, a 5th gen carrier, for a 5th gen strike wing. The numbers will increase. And with T45, T26 and… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Robert’ I’m beginning to wonder whether you actually read what I write. I specifically said they only have two carriers. As for the rest of their fleet they do exist and they don’t have to deploy them globally. We are going to them. The other elements I mentioned you have ignored completely. The Americans do have 20 FLAT TOPS which is what I said, or thereabouts. You have discounted the LHDs all of which can carry F35s and do you honestly believe that cost is worrying the Americans. I don’t think so. The French can put a carrier battle group… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

But you’re not pushing. You’re moaning, on here, to a group of people who equally have no say. None of us can change it. So it is just moaning.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

O.K. Steve R /Robert B .I give in As I appear to be moaning in Chinese and your own comments are so well thought out I will probably give up doing my best for the British armed forces that I have now been involved with for 40 odd years. I think I’ll ring for some sweet and sour……

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I think I’ll ring for some sweet and sour……”

That cracked me up. Nice one Geoffrey!

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago

Tis all a good ‘ol laff me dear as we says down yer in debon!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

This is the QE’s first deployment, yet you are comparing it to the French carrier that had been in service how long? over 20 years. I cross decked for a day to the CD back in 2002, the French loved our Chinook. And the capabilitys of the QE with F35 even in small numbers will outclass the CD and Rafale by some margin. Even In this early stage of entering service.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

The Americans very much want our carrier program to be a success, as they see our carrier to be able to plug the gap in there own carrier availability line. They may have many more vessels, but they all need refits and maintenance periods, less than half of the 20 vessels you mention will be available at any one time. And yes, they will envey the cost, the ability to deploy 5th gen capability in numbers at a fraction of the cost. And QE is considerably larger than the Italian and Japanese vessels you mention. And the ability to host… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

You brought all these matters up Robert, not me, but if your happy than I am content to forego any further discussion.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Know worries Geoffrey, take care. ?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

You too. With Coronavirus I’m beginning to feel a bit like Patrick McGoohan in TV’ s the Prisoner but you may be too young to remember that.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

?I’m more of a Only Fools & Horses guy myself ?

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Stupid of me bit may have just given the impression that I am suffering with this horrible bug which thank God I am not.

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I wouldn’t say the USN are desperate, but they want to put more carriers in the Pacific, where the threat seems more urgent. However, they are constrained by their NATO commitment to have a pair operating in the Atlantic and Med. If the QE and PoW get to full operational status soon, then they can move one of these to the Pacific, whilst ours cover the Atlantic. This is especially pertinent, as we will have two carriers that can do a rota system, unlike the French with their single carrier. Having the USMC embarked speeds up the “full operational capability… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Nice. Don’t think they have done anything more than that though, like a deployment or anything. Good to see though, always been a bit of a fan of the super Hornet.

James
James
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I agree with Geoff. This whole deployment without sovereign force like the French is a humiliation to say the least. With American marines jets being such a large chunk and even worse half of the fleet commited to this carrier group. Britain must chose if it wants be a global or not be one you simply can’t do this things on the cheap . If it wants project a credible carrier force it needs credible numbers of escorts without draining the entire fleet, and enough ” sovereign jets ” This whole weak excuse of we can’t function without allies sends… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  James

Deploy Without a Sovereign force? For surface combatants 2 x T45s , 2 x T23, RFA and Sub support looks pretty Sovereign to me. That is a credible task group before you begin to add in the USN asset or any other vessels who join the QETG at various points. No doubt she will play with Naval units from france, and italy in the Med. Saudi Frigates in the Red Sea. Multi National forces in the Gulf /Arabian sea. Aussie and japan forces in the Pacific. There remain enough RN vessels to support UK based, NATO and other tasking while… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  James

Thanks James…I thought it was just me!

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I have a foot in both camps. As a carrier nut, I am delighted to see the RN get 2x 65-70K ships. However, I note the lack of escorts (Selling 3x T23 & not building T45 7&8) down to the last Labour government. The foot dragging on building T26/T31 by the post 2010 Conservative Government. Also the F-35B needs a heavy stand off weapon (Spice 1000?) & extra range by saddle / drop tanks or V-22 AAR. Then the delay to building the Fort replacement replenishment vessels. I do see this deployment as a learning curve. Hopefully what works &… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

I would read Gunbusters post.

Meirion X
Meirion X
8 months ago
Reply to  James

Not true, half of the fleet is committed to the deployment of carrier group
Only 4 out of 19 escorts committed!

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

A bit of Context comment image

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

And how much of that lot is operational at any one time, how well trained is yr average Chinese Matelot? can they deploy and sustain a task group many thousands of miles from home for extended periods. How affective are the 4th gen aircraft that can fly from those carrier’s. Sheer numbers isn’t everything. And unless I’m missing something, a conventional conflict with China doesn’t look like it’s on the cards. People seem to think that they are going to start a shooting war just because we are sending a carrier group East of Suez. ?‍♂️

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Id agree,the Chinese Navy (PLAN ) is an Unknown Quantity at the Moment,they might be completely incompetent,they might actually be rather effective,but we just don’t know.Im certainly not expecting (or hoping ) for conflict with China anytime soon,i’ll even go as far as saying it wouldn’t surprise me if they sent a Warship to Join up with the QE Carrier Group in the Interests of Goodwill,International Relations and Trade etc.As for how far they can Deploy they made it to the River Thames in 2017 so i wouldn’t discount that either.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

No point in rushing f35 deliveries until block 4 is available, because without block 4 the F35 is very limited in the type of missions it can carry out for the Navy (cruise missiles, antiship etc…)
Anyway this is just a deployement in time of peace and not going there to reconquer Hong Kong. So it will be deadly enough to keep enemies at bay, with a few dozen F35B and a capable escort fleet.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

I don’t know how many times I have to say this. IF we are to order Bloc 4 F35s we have to join a queue ie if we want 20 delivered in 2025 and they take 5 ears to deliver we have to order them NOW….
…and we haven’t got ” a few dozen F35B’s “. We have five aircraft of our own plus ten from the US Marine Corps.

Meirion X
Meirion X
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

The UK has now got 21 out of 48 F-35Bs originally ordered. The rest will be delivered by 2025. I saw a Parliamentary select committee interview a few days ago, where a RAF officer said more F-35Bs will be ordered in the the SDR Review due soon, Geoffrey.

Meirion X
Meirion X
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

It was a Air Vice Marshal.
In the Public Accounts committee.

Last edited 8 months ago by Meirion X
Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Hi Meirion,
I hope your right.I have been a contributor to recent reviews and other think tank papers about the navy in particular, hence my rabbiting on about it here. I learnt a long time ago that you use whatever medium you can to make your point.and keep making it.

Steve R
Steve R
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

People are content because they know the state of MoD funding, even with the extra cash injection from Boris & Rishi, and are being realistic. Osborne’s cuts did severe damage and will take a long time and a lot of extra funding to redress. Yes, we would all love for an extra £10 billion a year into the MoD budget, an extra dozen frigates and destroyers, more Astutes and 200+ F35s, but it’s not going to happen. We are operating with limited resources and are having to rebuild our carrier forces, rebuild the skills etc. That doesn’t happen overnight, and… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Agree in general, but its worth observing that we’re likely to retain the capability to embark USMC F-35Bs and deploy with them on occasion because it complicates adversaries calculations with regard to the size of the air wing that could be deployed. While 36 F-35B might be optimal for operations, it might also make sense to deploy with more in some cases for a greater ‘day one’ capability. Also to support USMC onward deployment to austere land bases. There’s also the scenario where both carriers surging might stretch the UK F-35B fleet if the RAF also need them.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago

Just skimmed through this thread. Still the same old complaints. Still any chance to find a crack to exploit, whether it is selling off a capability we have just spent billions and decades creating, or saying the forces assets are not even sovereign. Who cares if some of the F35’s are USMC! The build rate means we do not have enough of our own yet. The reasons for that and the advantages concerning Block 4 are well known but ignored. When in a few years time the F35’s ARE all British I can almost guarantee there will be something else… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago

Hi Daniele,

I share your frustration, although it doesn’t hurt to keep the pressure up on the politicians and MoD.

Our challenge is to keep the pressure up on the politicians whilst being sufficiently positive and supportive of the dockyard and RN frontline teams trying to deliver capability against a backdrop of underfunding and poor decision making.

Of course, the RN as done better than average on its decision making over the last 20 years or so – just in the interests of a balanced comment 🙂

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Morning CR. Of course. I think compared to the army, the RN and RAF are doing rather well!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago

Morning Mate, I didn’t mention the Army’s procurement shambles because very time I think about it my blood pressure rises! Grr! Anyway, time will tell whether this integrated review really does move us in the right direction. The mood music is good so far, but will it bring real lasting change to how decisions are made – I hope that it does. Even where the RN and RAF have been doing quite well I am aware from my time in the system of the need for a change in behaviours and for there to be a professional cardre of uniformed… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
8 months ago

Hi Daniele and ChariotRider
Forgive me if I reply to you both . I agree that it is all about pressure where we can apply it. Who takes notice of what we’ll never know but I do know that some of my bumph has found it’s way into the corridors of power so we just keeping bashing away I guess.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Hi Geoffrey. I remember, you’ve sent feedback for both SDSRs I think.

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

To me the biggest issue is that once and I hope and pray that it does. the Defence Review sorts out the Army’s long term vehicle plan. Is that in 4ish years time a new Government could be voted in, with yet another defence review, then we’re back to square one pinching from Paul to pay Peter.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

The ARMY had/have a plan for vehicles?

From the advantage of hindsight it looked like they had a cup full of bones that they threw on the floor and depending on how they landed that was the “plan”

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Meow

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago

I still see people being very negative about the whole Carrier group policy and inception. While its ok to be negative, its more useful to be constructive in the negativity and be able to discuss otherpossible solutions. HOWEVER, we have 2 carriers, bought and paid for, we have the F35s coming into, pretty much bought and paid for, we have enough escorts to support a CBG, and still have enough to carry on running with other tasks. Do we want more F35s, yes, do we want more escorts, yes, do we want more AEW, yes blah blah blah, do I… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Apologies for the spelling, robust fingers, small phone!

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

As usual, a very honest assessment, just wish more people would see these ships as a foundation on which the Navy can build on. I believe we will likely be seeing USMC F35Bs deployed with us, for the foreseeable future. Especially, now that the USS Bonholme Richard is being scrapped, which means they are down one LHD from their planned 10 for at least 5 years. The carriers have the space for an additional squadron of jets on top of the normal 24 carried, plus all their support staff and spares, weapons etc are easily accommodated, without people sleeping in… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

In the short term term any USMC aircraft embarked on QE/POW will be feeding back the advantages and disadvantages of working in a conventional as opposed to nuclear carrier. With the USN investigating a “Light” (by which they mean non Nuclear powered) carrier concept they would appreciate the input. If they do go down that route of say a Light (70Kton isnt light!) Carrier with a ramp and something like an emals light for launching UAVs to the right of the ramp it may be a way forward QE as well. The RN transformation strategy is massively pushing UAVs as… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
8 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Well said mate ??

Johan
Johan
8 months ago

wonder if Crowsnest will ever get off the ground, or they will switch to the Lockheed martin pod that was rejected. pod fitted to weapons point doesn’t stress the airframe. like a chuffing big ballon on the side, Merlin not as robust as Seaking. Metal alloy stretches and flex, carbon fibre dont….

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Errr …Merlin has lots of carbon fibre as does Wildcat.
One of the reasons that the fire fighting response for any crashes etc are so different from those used on Sea King and Lynx is because of the stuff in the airframes.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Crows nest are airborne virtually every day here……… i see them all the time.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago

The Aussies have said they are going to come along and play with the QE TG when in the region…

john melling
john melling
8 months ago