HMS Queen Elizabeth and her aircraft have been joined by frigate HMS Kent and a nuclear submarine while on Exercise Crimson Ocean.

Cdre Steve Moorhouse, Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, said in a tweet that the scale and complexity is increasing each day during Ex CRIMSON OCEAN.

This is all part of a journey to enable the carrier, her aircraft and her escorts to deploy operationally next year. Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and support vessels.

Commodore Michael Utley, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, is reported by Save The Royal Navy here as saying that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be escorted by two Type 45 destroyers, two Type 23 frigates, a nuclear submarine, a Tide-class tanker and RFA Fort Victoria.

The ship will also carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters.

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

When asked about whether or not the UK has enough escorts to do this without impacting other commitment, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The size and the scale of the escort depends on the deployments and the task that the carrier is involved in. If it is a NATO tasking in the north Atlantic, for example, you would expect an international contribution to those types of taskings, in the same way as we sometimes escort the French carrier or American carriers to make up that.

It is definitely our intention, though, that the carrier strike group will be able to be a wholly UK sovereign deployable group. Now, it is probably not necessary to do that every single time we do it, depending on the tasking, but we want to do that and test doing it. Once we have done that, depending on the deployment, of course, we will cut our cloth as required.”

It is understood that the 2021 deployment will see the Carrier Strike Group sail in the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf and end up in the Pacific.

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JohnG
3 months ago

Interesting, thanks for the article. I have looked the numbers and we do have enough ships to provide two frigates, two destroyers and a nuclear sub to a QE without impacting other deployments. However… this does assume maximum numbers of available ships and subs which I appreciate isn’t the case at the moment (7 subs, 6 destroyers, 13 frigates) And it also takes into account that routinely now the RN is using support ships in place of frigates and destroyers for some routine deployments. The only down side to this is that you can only do it once every cycle,… Read more »

Matt
Matt
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

Doesn’t leave much wriggle room does it. Unfortunately that’s the reality of a fleet that’s nowhere near the size it used to be.
[email protected]

Basra
Basra
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt

Smaller in size but vastly superior in quality, a QE with two T45 and Two T23 would have been far superior if sent south in 83than a fleet of dozens of frigates able to do little more than catch bullets with their hulls.

Basra
Basra
3 months ago
Reply to  Basra

Missed typed 83 vs 82 but can’t edit.

Matt
Matt
3 months ago
Reply to  Basra

Cheers Basra. I agree the modern vessels are quite capable, but my concern is that it only takes an engine fault or power failure on 1 of our T45s and that’s an entire sixth of the destroyer fleet out of service. Putting that into perspective, if a T45 gets into trouble that’s attached to the carrier group that’s half the dedicated air/missile defence gone.
Imagine going to the Falklands for round two and one of the T45s turning back half way or breaking down.
I guess that’s the balancing act of cost Vs quality Vs quantity
[email protected]

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

This is a great analysis, though I don’t think the Type 45 is optional for the carrier escort.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

How is the best long range air defence ship in the world not fit to escort a carrier?

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

I said it’s not optional, meaning it should always be included.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Ah, I understand. I misread.

GWM
GWM
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

There is only going to be 1 carrier held at high readiness/deployed the other will be in refit,training or what ever so we can have a full UK strike group deployed once a year if we want.In reality resources will be pushed to wherever they are needed most at the time.At the end of the day Carrier strike is as much a political tool allowing us to use the threat of force if we wish to,it can still be in port at high readiness.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

The plan has always been for 1 carrier, 1 air group. The other might have helicopters, used for training, testing UAV ( as 1sL as said ) or alongside. If WW3 broke out it would be used, put F35 from the OEU/OCU if need be, put USMC aircraft on it, split the available F35 to have 12 on each rather than 24 on one, whatever. Other NATO and non NATO nations like Australia will also chip in depending what the mission is. I read somewhere the Dutch had already committed to this? As Defence Secretary Wallace said, we cut our… Read more »

Andy
Andy
3 months ago

Right, it’s been said countless times, including in the article above, that we will cut our cloth as appropriate.

We are a great soft power, we have many friends all over the free world. They will be providing escorts routinely and this is a great thing, not something to be ashamed of.

Canadian and Australian Type 26’s, American cruisers and destroyers, and Light frigates and corvettes from smaller friends and allies, as well as land based P8 coverage and space assets.

It would be stupid to deploy all our resources when we have these available to us.

Andy
Andy
3 months ago

I’m not sure the sub is optional either, I think we have to always have 1 with the carrier.

Perhaps the Americans and French can Provide sub cover in our areas of responsibilities while we only have one available and it’s with the carrier.

Norway can also chip in with their fantastic AIP subs.

Lee1
Lee1
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

The frigates are not really optional either as they provide anti-sub protection along with extra surface protection. The group they have now is pretty much the minimum that is needed.

We need a some more ships. I really think we should keep some of the type 23s and refit them. They will then be able to commit the type 26s to carrier groups and other higher profile missions while the 23s can be tasked with missions closer to home like escorting foreign vessels through the channel etc.even if we kept just 2 it would make a big difference.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lee1

I agree with that Lee.

There are others more knowledgeable than me though that have suggested it was a bad idea keeping older units active, even as reserve status.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

It really has been covered a lot on here over the past few weeks and months, but it really boils cost, maintenance and people. Modern warships are extremely complex beasts, and even in reserve will require constant attention. The hull will need regular inspections and onboard equipment will need to be tested and maintained, with any defects quickly resolved. To not do so would increase the time and costs of full reactivation. Externally, you have to factor in the effects of weather and even wildlife, making sure that any corrosion is rectified before it gets any worse. The bottom line… Read more »

the_marquis
the_marquis
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

A great summary, cheers Lusty. Ordering extra T31s would be great, as you say it would be good to replace the T22s and the 3 T23s that were sold in the 2000s, and it shouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility even for a peacetime navy to add to the T31 order, but at the same time I imagine it would be a struggle to make the business case for it, sadly. Out of interest, would you also say that by retiring T23s and accepting fewer hulls in the short term while ordering additional T31s to increase the number of… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  the_marquis

Thanks, Marquis. I think the crewing one’s an interesting topic. I would lean towards early decommission providing there was a cast iron guarantee of maintaining (and increasing on) current numbers with procurement. I’m not an expert on the generation of crews, but on face value I would argue that that would be the case due to the lower crew and maintenance requirements of the newer vessels. In layman’s terms, you’d be able to crew one and a bit T31s for every GP T23 you let go. However, with the current T23 hulls undergoing various degrees of LIFEX, I’d be hesitant… Read more »

the_marquis
the_marquis
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Cheers Lusty, that’s a good point about the “Frigate Factory”, hopefully it can be realised eventually…10 T26s and 8 T31s would be great if it could be pulled off, but either way it sounds positive on recruitment and retention – as you say the publicity of the carriers and the F35 coming into service are a great advertisement for the navy that even the staunchest supporters of the Strike brigades will admit is hard to match!

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  the_marquis

Indeed! I’ll take the carriers over the strike brigades, but I am a tad bias! I do hope an increase in the fleet and the infrastructure to build it can be realised.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Amendment:

That requires a team of talented people, some of which would be better served looking… after active ships.

I completely forgot to type that bit, and I even re-read it! D’oh!

Bob
Bob
23 days ago
Reply to  Lee1

Rather than keeping the old 23s build 7 no 26s and another 4 31s with extras

Steve R
Steve R
3 months ago

Depends on the mission I guess. Between 9/11 and the time the carriers were cut in 2010 when we had an Invincible on operations it was against ground-based enemies with no chance of hitting the carrier so no sub would be needed. So a similar role wouldnt require one, whereas going against a peer or near peer adversary we would definitely need an Astute with the carrier.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

The problem is on average only 1 in 3 vessels our operational. Even if all vessels our able to put to see you then have to think do we have the crews and weapon stocks for them.

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

1 in 3 is maybe going out of date, I think it’s getting closer to 1 in 2, for modern navies anyway.

Max Jones
Max Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

1 in 3 isn’t really the case – it’s only been recently for the destroyers because of the new propulsion upgrades but that’s temporary and shouldn’t be much of a problem going forward.

Cam
Cam
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

We only have 6 nuclear subs.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Cam

The UK has 7 fleet submarines currently.

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Only if you count Audacious, which is commissioned but isn’t set to be delivered until 2021. Also to consider is that Trenchant is already a year past her decommissioning date.

The reality is the RN has 6 fleet submarines. Depending on delivery dates and/or delayed retirements, that could dip to 5 before a return to 7 in 2026/7

Max Jones
Max Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnG

It will definitely impact other areas, but that was always to be expected. Next year it is estimated 4 of the destroyers will be available for operations and for the frigates around 7-10 is typical so the 2 of each currently planned – which is pretty rigid – should still allow for basic deployments like Operation Kipion, one or two on exercise/training, one or two in UK waters and maybe one on deployment elsewhere. When the carriers aren’t on major deployments, there will likely be a smaller CSG and it will sometimes be complemented for other foreign escorts but for… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago

Royal Navy photographers really are incredibly talented

The Big Man
The Big Man
3 months ago

And other than a Ferrari test driver have one of the best jobs in the world.

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy
3 months ago
Reply to  The Big Man

They haven’t advertised Hugh Hefner’s job yet.

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave Wolfy

Sorry, that’s mine, CV in, raring to go!

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago

Even if 2 T45 and 2 T23/26 be assigned to each of the two CVTF, it means 4 T45 and 4 T23/26 be needed. Yes, they need, maintenance and training, but the CV itself also needs it, so it is NOT a big problem, I guess. What matters will be, the simple fact that RN is NOT fully operating its “19 escorts”. I understand only 12 is manned. So, the two CVTFs (one as strike, and another as LPH, was the default plan, as I remember) will eat out 8 of the 12 manned escorts. This leaves only 4. Not… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

Donald is the Royal Navy capable of deploying 12 frigates/destroyers in their normal operational tempo? In an emergency I’m sure they could, but under normal operations?

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew, of course not. It is on average 85 sea-going days on average, now. It is 1615 ship-days. So, 4.4 ships are “at sea” on average (with 19 escorts). Any “deployment” includes some “at port” time. But, any “sea going days” includes MANY basic and advanced training period. Thus, I think “4 escorts deployed with a CV” is very near to the maximum, if it is routinely. But, 2 CV can deploy ~25% of the time each (a bit less than 33%), which means, even with 2 CV, “deployment of CVTF” is with only 50% duty ratio. So, I think… Read more »

Mr Anderson
Mr Anderson
3 months ago

It’s not planned to operate two carriers simultaneously

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Anderson

In a war situation 2 frigates would be vastly inadequate. As demonstrated in the Falklands a out of date sub was able to evade our frigates and almost sunk the carrier’s. If you look at the lessons learnt and one was that the anti sub bubble around the task force was too small to provide big enough radius of operation and that was with many times more frigates. Yes the current ones are more capable but so are the subs we would face.

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve, The Argentinian Type 209 submarine, San Luis, was certainly a concern to the Task Force in 1982 – and did launch an unsuccessful torpedo attack on the T21 frigate Alacrity. However, it operated close to the Falklands – and I’m unaware that it ever got near to Hermes or Invincible.
During the conflict, air-attack proved to be the greatest threat to the British carriers.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

the 2 argentinean subs were pretty ineffective because of their torpedoes and engine problems, but they were still able to evade the sub surface net that was around the task force. I read somewhere that an attack on one of the carriers failed as the torpedo failed to fire, but might be mis-remembering. I assume anytime we are using our carriers offensively, they will need to be relatively closer to the shore and therefore would suffer the same problems. The air defenses would also be a problem, however good a t45 is, it can’t be in more than one place… Read more »

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

if you had 3 or 4 t45 on station then it would be a different topic as too many missiles to saturate.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Having that many T45s could still be a problem as none of them have Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). If a swarm of missiles are fired at the group, coordinating the defence could be tricky. It will be more likely that due to the reaction time required for defence, coordination may go out of the window and a number of ships firing on the same target. Link 16/22 can play a role here, but you would need to set up one of the T45s as the “master controller”. But even then without CEC it will prove hard to coordinate.

Cam
Cam
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Anderson

Exactly, ones enough for the Royal Navy these days.

Bill
Bill
3 months ago

The QE’s will never operate simultaneously so only one set of escorts needed.
Incidentally, single US carriers generally operate with 3, not 4 surface warships plus at least one sub. US carriers have more capable self defence systems as well.

Cam
Cam
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

I don’t understand why we don’t put sea ceptor on the carriers, even a container next to the ramp. Hell even sea ram would do.

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Cam

This has been explained in plenty of other articles. To summarise, it’s a cost benefit analysis: based on expected threats, the small benefit heavier carrier defences provide are not worth the money or the sacrifices they’d require

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

But, none of the other navies agrees to it. France and US has it. China, and Russia as well. UK is minor here.

So, people here is always arguing against this assessment, I guess. And this arguing is reasonable.

Callum
Callum
3 months ago

The USN and China have gargantuan budgets with very different definitions of cost effectiveness, the Russians built a “heavy aviation cruiser” that also featured AShMs, and the French blew all their money on a single faulty carrier and regretted it.

The QECs were designed for the RN, not any other fleet. Arguing that a different navy, most facing very different challenges, would do things differently means nothing.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

Partly agree. RN has RN’s choice, or freedom. My point is only that, “add CAMM to CVF” comment will NEVER DISAPPEAR, and it is reasonable one. Also, RN not doing so is reasonable, because RN has its own way of thinking. But, the argument is the same to, – “all T45 must have ASM”, RN do not think so. – “Merlin shall be armed with SeaVenom”, RN do not think so. – “T26 and T45 shall have torpedo launcher”, RN do not think so. – “T31 shall have hull sonar”, RN do not think so. – “T31 shall have more… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
3 months ago

I don’t think it’s a case of the RN thinking differently and not wanting them. More a case of some beady-eyed accounts at the MoD % Treasury sucking in through their teeth, saying “computer says no,” and taking out a red pen to cross out things the ships can have.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago

Admittedly escorts are going to be a problem for the Carrier Strike Group but it will be nice to have an active carrier again. My concern for the Carrier Strike Group is strike with what? Paveway and TLAM from the sub? At present the sub will be the only vessel to offer some land attach, anti shipping and anti sub.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Spear 3, the new interim anti ship missile with land attack capability and eventually the FCASW missile.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

But when?

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

What’s the rush? Tech goes out of date you know.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Spear 3 round about now, the interim missile in 3 years when harpoon is retired and FCASW ideally by 2030.

Bill
Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

2030 is a joke. China and Russia are tooling up nicely and we have gimpys on the QE. Nice to know though they are actually fitted with. We effectively disband the fixed wing FAA for a decade and abdicated MPA responsibility for our own waters. Yes, it is certainly good to know we have good friends around to continue to plug our own capability gaps which in our current economic situation is not going to improve in the next 3-5 years.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Agreed.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

The only way of fixing it is making ‘air launched’ a new requirement for the interim missile.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Apparently the interim solution has no funding.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Reduce 5 T31 to 4 or even 3. RN will immediately find 300-600M GBP.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago

The RN are going to need all 5 of the Type 31 frigates, in order to forward deploy up to 3 frigates away from home, for 3 years at a time. That is the plan I hear!
2 will be needed at home for training and exercise etc.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Understandable. So my point is, what if one of the three “forward deploy” position replaced with River B2?

Please do not take me wrong. I am not saying MOD should not increase the budget. What I am saying is, if there is no money, show it clearly (= LACK of frigate number compared to what RN needs) than silently (= “5 ASM sets” to replace “17 sets of Harpoon system” RN currently has, and even not funding it).

I prefer to arm all escorts with ASM (NSM is fine), even if it means losing 1 T31, making it 4.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago

Any B2 deployed East of Suez is a nonstarter! Even Singapore has better armed corvettes then the RN.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Not sure.

For me, having T31 (with no ASM) in place of River B2 on,
– Singapore
– Persian Gulf
– Atlantic
does not worth COMPLETELY REMOVING ASM fleet wide.

If the “3 forward deployment” is the 3 listed above, I can happily omit Atlantic from it.

“Regrettably RN is forced to cancel 5th hull to fill the Atlantic tasking with T31, because of lack of fund (because “keeping” ASM capabilities is indispensable for escorts and RN must fund it). The task will be temporary covered by River B2, until the gapped “19th” escort is budgeted in future”.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

I assume that any missile decided upon will have to be launched from a deck mounted cannister or arm like Harpoon if concidered for the T45. I don’t know if all VLS cells are same and if the VLS on the T23 could take LRASM for example. Maybe as Persius becomes availble this interim missiles might find their way on to the T31.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

At the moment NSM/JSM is only cannister launched from ships. It has a first stage rocket to get it out of the launcher and when up to speed the missile jettisons the booster with the turbojet taking over. It weighs at launch 407kg, which is 2.5 times heavier than Camm-ER at 160kg. So it may be too heavy for a soft launch vertically. Therefore it would have to be fired from either a Mk41 or Sylver A50 VLS using a rocket booster.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I agree, NSM and LRASM are a way too big for the Sea Wolf cannisters on T23.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

I’ve had another look at Spear 3. Flexible/multiple target types. The F35 could carry 8 which is a lot of punch. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable about the RN’s amount of bite.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

8 internally and a further 8 externally if needs be. Accurate enough to target specific parts of a ship, like the exhaust or main superstructure. Ofcourse a heavier, air launched Anti-ship/cruise missile is still needed but Spear 3 is still an effective weapon.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

And if the UK decide on NSM as the interim, sitting between SPEAR 3 and FC/ASW in capability, then if would be synergistic to adopt JSM for the F35B. Having the three weapon classes would enable a tailored approach to threats, both in terms of capabilities and missile costs.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

Completely agree on NSM/JSM. It’s the sweet spot between Spear and FCASW. Would do great on the Type 31s once FCASW is ready and loaded in Type 26 VLS cells.

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

A carriers primary weapon is the aircraft it carries.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

I know, but at present they only carry air to air and Paveway.

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

So, enough to blow the hell out of anything, if we had to use it today.

The carrier has a 50 year lifespan, we have a plan to quip it and all it’s aircraft and escorts.

That plan does not involve having everything ready a year before the first friendly deployment.

This plan allows us to have 2 carriers in the first place, so it is to be applauded in my opinion.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Agreed

charles
charles
3 months ago

One bit of good news is that perhaps due to the current days economic problems recruitment for the Royal Navy is up. If this continues them PERHAPS the manpower pressure might reduce. Slightly.

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  charles

Numbers were increasing dramatically before COVID, with COVID we will have no problems or lack of money to completely solve our man power issues.

Helions
Helions
3 months ago

The debate goes on about the future of the USN’s carrier force. Interesting article – basically says we need a CATOBAR carrier about the size of the Midway (or the QE).

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/07/06/the-aircraft-carrier-we-need

Cheers

Callum
Callum
3 months ago
Reply to  Helions

The author of that article is dreaming. He makes some perfectly valid points, but he’s absolutely mad if he thinks what he’s suggesting would cost $5.5bn at most compared to a Ford’s $13bn.

His design still has the vast majority of what makes the Ford so expensive, he’s just taken off one catapult, half the arresting gear, and made the ship smaller. In what world does ordering 70-80% of a ship translate to just over 40% of the cost?

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

Totally agree.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

The proposal would cost more the QE class carriers!

Helions
Helions
3 months ago
Reply to  Callum

I agree that the cost disparity would be a no go if it were maintained, however, the GRF cost that much due to its design and first in class problems. The JFK cost much less (and will be in full commission sooner than the GRF) thanks to lessons learned. The next two – Enterprise and Miller – are being bought on a two ship contract that supposedly will bring the cost of each down to ~ 10.5 billion. I don’t expect more than 6 GRFs to be built anyway – possibly ending the class with the Miller. Carriers are getting… Read more »

Rob Collinson
Rob Collinson
3 months ago

I commented on other feed regarding drone deliveries. Here is what I said: No doubt, there is a place for this type of delivery. Drones will be able to do much of the light delivery. But an F35 engine? Ammunition for the planes? Aircrew? What about refuelling the F35? With about an hour of flight time, how are the aircraft to be refuelled if there are no flying air fuel stations of an ally for an F35 to use? It is like sending a cage fighter into the ring with a 1000lb weight tied around the waist. Time to think… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago

Ok I am going to ask! Is the RN CBG the main effort of the RN at the moment and can they still provide a decent ASW group in the Greenland/Iceland gap if needed? As looking at the numbers, a CBG can have 2 x T45, 2 x T23 and an astute, while still leaving 3 or so T23, with tails, plus an astute, to form an ASW group with maybe 1 x T45 spare! These numbers do take into consideration manning and numbers in refit/repair etc. I do understand the numbers will be bolstered by FF, but I have… Read more »

Ron
Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

The simple answer is no, the RN does not have the capacity to form a ASW group plus a carrier group and Amphibious group and its other deployments such as the Gulf. It is something that I have been shouting about for a long time. I gave three suggestions to resolve this issue, 1. To buy some Thales containerised CAPTAS-4 (light) towed array sonar for the Type 31 frigates. Possibly three sets to start with. 2. Albion and Bulwark hopefully will get replaced if so then replace them with two better three HMAS Canberra type ships. These could then work… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I think we and probably the RN are hoping that unmanned subs that can be used for hunting subs are available soon. In the ideal world, I am hopping that the T31 could fill the mothership role in a conflict. Thus letting the 26s do their primary role of actively hunting subs. Therefore, perhaps a pair of T31s could be assigned the goalkeeper role around the CBG, whilst the T26s if not assigned to the Norwegian sea and North Atlantic, could be roaming around the periphery of the CBG as part of a layered ASW screen.

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

I think they probably could if availability was good and all other commitments were chinned off. I purposely didn’t mention the amphib assets as they would definitely be a NATO/Allied commitment. We would provide the amphibious platforms and allies the escorts! But cheers for your thoughts!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Crikey mate. I remember when I first got interested in the military in the 80’s reading my books, of the RN having 50 plus escorts, and being maybe number 2 in ASW in numbers, let alone capability, where maybe we were top dogs. Unsure on that vs the USN. Considering I myself have no idea just how many ships constitutes a group, I guess the RN could, if WW3 happened, provide an ASW group, at the expense of the CBG, if it were decided the T26 was better for that? Maybe the QEC would be escorted by other NATO vessels?… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago

Yes mate those numbers are long gone! Yes platform capabilities have improved but there is always a minimum number required to carry out all tasks, have an ongoing kinetic effect and still be able to suffer losses. Alas mate we are well past that in all 3 services aren’t we!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

For now…until the Empire Strikes Back! Oh, my joke may have just upset some of the PC set. Oh well.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

-hums Rule, Britannia to upset them even more-

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Quietly, but enough to be heard! Last Night of the Proms will be interesting this year. You just know that song will be axed.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

Over my dead body. That lot seem to forget the role the RN played in ending the Atlantic Slave Trade with the West Africa Squadron, at considerable cost in terms of men and ships (1587 sailors & marines died). However, 150,000+ slaves freed and over 1600 vessels stopped. That’s something to be proud of.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

were* freed. Apologies.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

You know my views mate. I also know the modern PC brigade care not for history. Only the history that suits their narrative. We shall see. I hope I am wrong.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

I do indeed. For once I hope you’re wrong!

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago

Does anybody know anything about the additional work being carried out on POW to better facilitate the Littoral Manoeuvre package?

Bill
Bill
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

A 70,000t littoral combat ship?

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Bill

It happens when you dismantle your only helicopter carrier and simultaneously order about 3 jets a year.

Max Jones
Max Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

30 over the next 3.5 years, just been in a bit of a dip recently.

geoff
geoff
3 months ago

I would have thought that a Nuclear Sub would be an essential element in the Carrier Group. I know numbers are small but surely one out of a theoretical seven must be available to guard such an important force once assembled?

ALEX
ALEX
3 months ago

You guys can count and tweak all you want the The Royal Navy lacks escort numbers specially destroyers to be taken seriously even with 3 destroyers and 3 frigates in real war you might lose more than half of them. The UK total destroyers fleet is just 6? Lol Easy target if it enters South China sea, take out few and you paralyze the entire British fleet. This fantasy of relying on foreign navies even if allies should be shelved! When things get real they may show their back like Germany does often The Royal Navy is a paper tiger… Read more »

T.S
3 months ago
Reply to  ALEX

Alex, I am coming to the opinion that the days of high numbers of large or costly capital assets is coming to end, and for good reason. With the rapid uprising of capable outboard autonomous systems in all areas, many of the capabilities of the large platforms can be replicated by these at a fraction of the cost. I imagine our carriers group in 20 to 30 years time with No manned escorts. The escorts would be much smaller autonomous ships and in larger numbers forming an outer screen each with specific roles to play such as ASW or missile… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  T.S

I don’t think we will see the end of the destroyer anytime soon! They will get even bigger armed with lasars which required a lot of engery genartion and storage. Yes, the ’rail gun’ will be perfected in the future as well.

Steve R
Steve R
3 months ago
Reply to  ALEX

Alex, by your logic of never relying on allies, I assume you also reject NATO and believe every country should have massive standing military forces to be able to go it alone. You say the RN is a shadow of its former self. Yes, comparing it to the days of empire when we ruled the waves, it is. In terms of numbers it is far fewer than even in 1982 during the Falklands War, yet it is more capable in many respects. The admirals at the time would have jizzed their pants at the mere thought of F35s operating from… Read more »

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

All this discussion about not enough escorts. Yes in an ideal world we would have say 16 specialist ASW frigates, 8 GP frigates and 8 destroyers for air defence but that isn’t the case and that isn’t going to change. I think we will see plenty of allied navy’s contributing on a regional basis as a top up to a basic UK task group. If we’re in the Pacific then Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore & South Korea could contribute. Northern Europe / Atlantic Dutch, Norwegian, German, Canadian & French. In the Med Italian, Greek, French. The possibility that we use… Read more »

ALEX
ALEX
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

What is point of having 2 carriers if you have no sovereignty ? This countries show flag only for NATO patrols not for wars! Most would show you their back in a real battle. Recall the Iran tanker incident not long ago? Where was NATO or the US? Britain was left alone to defend its interest and was humiliated

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  ALEX

The Falklands was a unique operation. Most, if not all, future deployments of the UK CBG will be as part of a coalition. Think Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan & Serbia. Note we will still have the ability to deploy a purely UK CBG in extremis but this will not be normal.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  ALEX

The Gulf is outside NATO’s remit!
The US has it’s own policy in the Gulf.

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
3 months ago

Just reported on Janes ‘UK may not upgrade all F-35Bs to Block 4 standard’…

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
3 months ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

With so few air frames available now, due to be purchased in the next 5 years and realistically – a reduced buy overall – Is this not a huge mistake?

Andy
Andy
3 months ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

I think not, the slow buy rate means we end up more, more advanced versions overall.

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy

I’m not sure how many of the already delivered jets are not to block 4 standard but should we not aim to get them all combat qualified? Anything lower than block 4 will not be certified as combat ready. I realise the slow buy rate avoids earlier blocks and that’s not my concern or complaint – I actually agree with it – any jets bought from now onward WILL be block 4 certified at delivery so the buy rate argument is largely now irrelevant anyway. My worry is that the overall buy number will end up being reduced and then… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

It should be LM that tske’s the hit in this case!
By providing the UK with low cost leasing of F-35b Block 3F’s. It would be LM’s decision of what to do with the returned leased aircraft.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Rfn_Weston

I found this part amusing! “The costs of the Block 4 upgrade are managed through the F-35 Joint Programme Office and, as one partner in the multinational F-35 programme, the UK is not in a position to share detailed cost information,” the minister said.” Block 4 will not be finalised until at least 2024/5 so what now? “The Block 4 upgrade – a modernisation of the relatively new stealth fighter’s software and hardware – was initially to be delivered by 2024, but now will not be handed over until 2026, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins
Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I think the US should lease the UK some F-35b Block 3Fs until the Block 4 procurement gets underway?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago

Wait just one minute…..I’ve seeing the media and commentators saying “look we have build a white elephant with no planes to go on it”. Clearly the RN has been photoshopping these pictures…..Because I can clear see airplanes. This is government miss information…disgusted of little England.

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
3 months ago

Are those the new Sea Ceptor launchers on the type 23? they look kinda gross ! its like some fungal growth !

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

Yes that is right! The launchers were originally Sea Wolf launchers, they where extended because Sea Ceptor is longer
then Sea Wolf.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

It’s called ‘The Mushroom Farm’ for a reason!