Newly appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson spoke about HMS Queen Elizabeth as he visited her on trials.

“Let’s not underestimate the growing threat from Russia and North Korea. These are countries that want to damage Britain, these are countries that want to undermine Britain,” he said.

When Russia sees this aircraft carrier – they have nothing like it in the world. This is the finest aircraft carrier in the world – it is leagues ahead of any other nation.

We should take a great amount of pride in that, and we can use this to strike fear into the hearts of all our enemies and that is what it is designed to do, and I am sure that is what it will do.”

Williamson later added:

“This is very much about how Britain can project its influence and its power right across the world.

It is how we can say to the rest of the world, we are not a nation in retreat, we are a nation that wishes to play a significant part in world affairs.”

The Queen will formally commission HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy fleet in just three weeks on the 7th of December.

The name HMS Queen Elizabeth is a continuation of an historic Royal Navy name dating back over a century and the vessel herself is not named after the current monarch.

The carrier is currently on sea trials and will return to her home port in Portsmouth before the 7th of December.

What will the vessel carry?

The term now used for the carriers embarked squadrons is ‘Carrier Air Wing’ (CVW). The vessels are capable of deploying a variety of aircraft in large numbers, up to a maximum in the upper fifties in surge conditions.

Merlin helicopters were the first aircraft to begin flying from HMS Queen Elizabeth and they will soon be followed by other helicopter types and eventually F-35s in around 11 months.

The UK currently has 15 F-35s with more being delivered. The plan, essentially, is to work up both the ship and her aircraft simultaneously to a point where the jets can begin integrating with the carrier. To that end both will require a series of trials to ensure they can function together safely and this complex programme of trials are already underway.

Captain Jerry Kyd, commander of HMS Queen Elizabeth, commented on the initial deployment and the gradual increase in air wing numbers:

“We are constrained by the F-35 buy rate even though that was accelerated in SDSR in 2015, so initial operating capability numbers in 2020 are going to be very modest indeed.

We will flesh it out with helicopters, and a lot depends on how many USMC F-35s come on our first deployment in 2021. But by 2023, we are committed to 24 UK jets onboard, and after that it’s too far away to say.”

In 2023, the UK will have 42 F-35 aircraft, with 24 being front-line fighters and the remaining 18 will be used for training (at least 5 on the OCU), be in reserve or in maintenance.

In addition to the joint force of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy F-35Bs and their pilots, the air wing is expected to be composed of a ‘Maritime Force Protection’ package of nine anti-submarine Merlin HM2 and four or five Merlin for airborne early warning; alternatively a ‘Littoral Manoeuvre’ package could include a mix of RAF Chinooks, Army Apaches, Merlin and Wildcat.

We understand that vessel would still carry at least one F-35 squadron aboard in such circumstances to offer air defence as well as support to the helicopter assault activities.

The Crowsnest AEW&C aircraft will come from a number of the embarked Merlins (any of which can be fitted with the sensor package), the number again scaling with requirements.

Recently, the Ministry of Defence confirmed plans for the deployment of American F-35 aircraft alongside British jets aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The addition of US Marine Corps aircraft will see HMS Queen Elizabeth sail with 24 or so F-35Bs in addition to around 14 or so helicopters for her maiden deployment. It is understood that the US aircraft will augment British jets on coalition operations.

A source we spoke to, currently flying the jet, explained to us that the vessels will deploy with the number and type of aircraft required for a specific deployments:

“Where F-35B is based is entirely down to the most suitable basing option for the tasks/missions is being sent to do. If that’s a well-founded host nation base, great; if it’s the Carrier, great; if it’s an austere location, fine.

Range, logistics and other ‘enablers’ such as AAR and connectivity will determine what’s the best option.”

The Queen Elizabeth class mark a change from expressing carrier power in terms of number of aircraft carried, to the number of sortie’s that can be generated from the deck. The class are not the largest class of carrier in the world but they are most likely the smallest and least expensive carrier the Royal Navy could build which still have the advantages that large carriers offer.

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Daniele Mandelli

Then don’t cut RM or Albion and Bukwark!

If he wants power projection that means.

Carriers / FAA aviation.
Amphibious / Royal Marines.
SSN.
RFA.

MCMV and Escorts all secondary to these 4 Pillars.

Blue

He has resisted the cuts publicly and is fighting for an extra £2 billion! He refused to cut 1000 royal marines and is fighting to keep Bulwark and Albion. I say good on him. A defence secretary who is patriotic and wants to do his job well

Daniele Mandelli

And a genuine CSAR capability too please.

Ian

Exactly Daniele.
I’m not sure where he’s going with all this rhetoric. Russia will just be irritated and if its to put pressure on the chancellor then fair enough, other wise he’s just going to be a blow slightly harder Fallon.
Wednesday it is then – not holding my breath…

Ian

Well, if Sun reports are true then maybe this is about fighting for more resources.

Daniele Mandelli

Zero to hero for all the moaners here, maybe….

Whatever one thinks of his exact comments better than sitting silently while the treasury damages the forces yet again.

He has said he will be loud and make his voice heard for the military.

Pacman27

By all accounts he is ambitious and requested this role personally.

I suspect he believes he can make a name for himself. Let’s see if this is for the good of UK forces or to the detriment.

Mr Bell

Sheez this DS seems worse already then our last one. as good as the QE class will hopefully prove once full operational capability reached, he needs to be very careful not to rest all military capability in 1 or 2 high value hulls. I am now worried all the hyperbole about the QEs is because come the budget they are planning on cutting another key and massive capability that of amphibious landing. If they do that we will certainly embolden Putin and his ambitions for northern Europe. Dear God I hope this does not happen. The old saying is often… Read more »

IvanOwl

Our brand new Defence Sec. is just a blow hard with paper tiger ambitions. The Defence Sec. is a a total idiot thinking in such simplistic comparable terms against Russia. They don’t care that we have two carriers, their quiet new Kilo SSK submarines will have a larger target for their long range hypersonic antiship missiles. Instead of gloating about the size of your carrier (really!)… Damn well grow up and buy the Royal Navy some decent anti ship missiles of their own (you do know they are not going to have any at the end of next year don’t… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

This is good. A really coherent set of insults against the man who might just be able to improve things if he’s given more than five minutes to settle in to his job.

IvanOwl

The man has had more than five minutes, yet he commences his tenure with a weak attempt at insulting the intelligence of the Russians.

His type of silly boosts and threats are not required in a position such as Def. Sec.

Mollifying such a person and accepting his childish remarks about the size of carrier or how frightened the Russians are of it, only increases the chance of further ridiculous statements been made by him.

My comments still stand,
but Geoffrey time will prove one of of us wrong – and I really hope it is me!

IvanOwl

Oops, should have been boasts.. not boosts (I need a boost!)

Geoffrey Roach

One all, I think!

IvanOwl
skimmer

Most advanced carrier in the world? Ford is by far the most advanced and Nimitz still reigns supreme over the QE. Hell, even the older Enterprise, Kennedy and Kitty Hawk classes were more capable. Now that I think of it, the Forrestal class of the 50s was more capable. QE might look nice on the inside but when the PoW is at sea, you won’t be able to man both – or enough escorts to protect them.

Steve

That’s just ridiculous to say

The US Navy are very impressed with the QE Carriers, especially the weapons handling system.

The ford class is full of technical problems especially the catapult system and far more labour intensive.
You can not compare these ships at all apart from that they are both aircraft carriers.
And from a US perspective they had better be good because the US has no other friends with a similar capability.

Richard

The catapults (EMALS) on the Ford class are pretty much fixed now. It’s a completely new piece of tech so it was bound to have issues but once sorted the cost and complexity will come down. Each successive fit will be easier, cheaper and more reliable. In 25 years when the QECs have a mid life refit they may even end up with EMALS installed, although that doesn’t seem likely in the current economic climate. What the Ford class represents is the apex of current carrier technology. Sure there are some things the QEC will do better, as you say,… Read more »

Matt

EMALS is not fixed at all and there is a serious limitation in that it will be no better than the current Nimitz carriers for sortie generation. It will require a major redesign that will take into the 20s to fix and the updated system will have to be put into later carriers. The EMALS system on Ford will probably never be replaced due to the time and cost of ripping up the entire deck. There’s no way that QEC will have a catapult system installed and it would not provide an benefit given that the take off and land… Read more »

Elliott

EMALS has been fixed. The media like with every program just like with every new tech or weapons program piss and moan about cost. Catapult carriers are in every way superior to STOVL ones. More ordnance carried and less fuel burned on takeoff. Support aircraft vastly enhances the effectiveness of a carrier for instance E-2D Hawkeye, and the new tanker drone the Navy is buying which greatly increases the strike for range of the air groups. QE has automation to reduce manpower due to the UK being cheap. The USN thought about putting a similar automated munitions handling system on… Read more »

Matt

Elliot, You’re referring to a software fix earlier this year to enable heavy load launches via EMALS. There is still a fundamental design issue which impacts the operational performance of EMALS. When one of the components fails, the whole system goes down. This design update won’t be complete for many years and will limit the sortie per day generation date to no better than Nimitz. Sortie generation rate of QEC will be 75-125 per day – Nimitz was designed for 75 but never got above 40. The fact that you mentioned E-2D Hawkeye shows how out of step you are.… Read more »

Elliott

Matt Where the hell do you pull those numbers out of your ASS? You truly have no idea what a E-2D is do you? It is what the UK had to settle for Crownset for. E-2D Hawkeyes are the latest modernization of the type and carry far surveillance and electronic warfare equipment than you can cram into a fighter. You do realize EMALS is a fancy way of saying “giant magnet.” It took time to get it to work but it requires LESS maintenance than a steam catapult. Nimitz class carriers have during Operation Iraqi Freedom did a average of… Read more »

Lee H

What do you mean by capability? Your argument seems to be based on size not not the application of military power. With regards to having two carriers at sea in the CTG role. HMG have not stated this as a requirement. 2 May be at sea at the same time but only one will be in the CTG role and like the USN will probably utilise other nations to plug gaps in the escort cover required. Do not be surprised to see a French Horizon destroyer or US Arleigh Burke operating as part of a U.K. task group. We train… Read more »

dadsarmy

No, you’re absolutely right. The UK provides two carriers, NATO can provide the rest if needs be.

Geoffrey Roach

If the plan is to operate east of Suez I can easily see a five nations battle group coming together who between them have all the capabilities such a group would need.

Richard

This kind of talk is just childish. Our military capability should speak for itself, our Defense Secretary makes it sound like we’re covering for something. And claims such as, it’s the finest in the world, are asinine when the Ford class carriers are clearly better. The QEC maybe better value for money but enemies don’t care about how cleverly frugal you’ve been, only how easy is it to defeat you.

Ben P

Our Defense Sec sounds like Trump on twitter. Whoever writes his speeches needs to be fired.

N Roach

The second article so soon after the last idiotic joke..
Can we have some real journalism and articles that have real value and capability.
This all reminds one of the last Prince of Wales, same attitude,same arrogance ,same strength ,probably same result !
UKdj is no better that RT how it writes.

dadsarmy

Mmm, a quick look at the Hermes in the Falklands. Armament: 10 × 40 mm Bofors, 2 × Sea Cat launchers – which were supposed to be replacements for Bofors, short range missiles. Kind of like CIWS basically in total. Other armament? None. Was she sunk? No. Was she fit for purpose? Yes. Tonnage – 23,000. Length 225.20 m. Beam (fd) 43.90 m. Aircraft carried – up to 28 Sea Harriers and 9 Westland Sea Kings. Success? 100%. QE – 70,600 tonnes. Length 280 m. Beam (fd) 73 m. Armament 3 x Phalanx CIWS, 4 x 30mm calibre gun, various… Read more »

IvanOwl

Yes the Hermes was good for the Falklands, and yes the QE will be an excellent vessel, but I would be sad to see the QE up against a hypersonic anti-ship missile that has slipped through her escorts suppression with only some CIWS to defend her.

dadsarmy

Yes, but it depends on what the F35-Bs in the air presumably with some in a defensive role in that situation, are kitted out with, plus the Merlins in AEW Crowsnest mode. I’ve got to say that if I was in charge of an aircraft carrier, the last thing I’d want for my pilots desperate to land quick or even take off, is hundreds of smoke rolling all over my flight deck, like this or worse, specially if there was an inversion: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/ballistic-missile-intercepted-destroyed-off-scottish-coast/ Plus I’m guessing there could be the equivalent of wake vortices roiling around for a few seconds… Read more »

dadsarmy

It occurs to me by the way, that one essential neccessity for an aircraft carrier in a hot war is to be able to push a burning aircraft over the side as easily and quickly as possible, so the least amount of awkward things like missile silos in the way, the better! Oops there goes, another F35-B …

FrankLT

Most other fleet carriers have much more air/missile defense weaponry than the QEs last-ditch CIWS. They also more often have a more reliable supply of escorts than the RN seems ever destined to have. The USN packs medium range ESSM, then closer range RAM, before last-ditch Phalanx. So the QE is poorly, if not recklessly under equipped, especially for such a high value(& crewed) ship. ( Illustrious class had Sea Dart) There’s actually loads of space to push trashed aircraft off any of these carriers as even a full defensive kit-out takes only a small fraction of the flight deck… Read more »

dadsarmy

It was a little tongue in cheek, but with a serious intent of trying to work out why, exactly, the QEs wouldn’t be fitted with more defences, apart from budget alone.

Gunbuster

FOD…
Firing missiles and shooting CIWS ( Let alone a 76 OTO or ASTER) generates FOD… lots and lots of it.
When ever you get FOD you stop flight operations to clear it away. You don’t want a small piece of orange plastic from a Phalanx sabot or the Ally pusher piece going up the intake of your very expensive SINGLE engine jet.
Then if you consider safe approach lanes and aircraft control requirements when you start sticking missiles in the air then it really isn’t worth the aggro.

ROSS MMANSELL

Well the carrier I was on (and we pushed a few over the side) had aerial pylons that lowered outboard a during flying stations nd we still dumped the wrecks………of course..if they had fitted a catapault tiothese new types……………………..

:¬)))

Danny Boyd

Anyone with any knowledge of defence matters knows that these ships will never be deployed anywhere near a peer, near peer (or whatever the adversary level below near peer is) – they are too big to lose, and they have no self defence capability of their own if the weather is bad, and the RN do not have the ships to defend. These boats are nothing but white elephants and the Russians, Iranians and the North Koreans will be very aware of this, and probably quietly chuckling to themselves. Two more T45s would be more useful – actually let’s be… Read more »

Lee H
dadsarmy

Aye, very good as long as he sticks to his guns. At the moment the guy, the fresh-faced youngster boy scout, has virtually unlimited power in his hands. What’s May going to do if he doesn’t co-operate, sack him? And if he’s not given what he needs, and threatens to resign so soon, what’s that going to do for May’s government? All he has to do is stay clean and say no to any cuts, stay away from any conspiracies, keep out of Brexit, and he’s home and dry, at least for a few months.

JohnStevens

I had come across the same info: Lee H.. fingers crossed, let’s hope!

Willy Wilcox

That old Russian bogey man again. The threat to the UK’s interests walk our streets!

ROSS MMANSELL

This one should have stuck with his model railway by the sound of it……..

Geoffrey Roach

Anybody read The Sun headlines this morning?…

Peter French

When will these DS,s stop this childish laughable bragging and conduct themselves with dignity.
Its an embarrassment

Geoffrey Roach

There’s something wrong with good news???

Daniele Mandelli

Well for all the moaning about the DS I like what he says actually.
Will fight in cabinet as a voice for forces.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/14/british-born-isil-fighters-must-killed-drone-new-defence-secretary/

Geoffrey Roach

Good Morning Daniele…What do you reckon with today’s headlines? Good news?

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Geoff.

I hesitate to jump in but I really think so.

Daniele Mandelli

Other papers picking up the story now.

I agree with Dadsarmy. He is fresh, with nothing to lose, and extremely sharp according to sources when he was Chief Whip.

Maybe, just maybe, he has taken it in, seen what has happened in the last 20 years, and though sod this its not happening on my watch.

Fingers crossed!

Julian

Yeah. I hadn’t thought about that but you make an interesting connection in your second paragraph. Chief (or any) whips aren’t known for being the shy, retiring unforceful types. Whips are their to enforce party discipline, i.e. to get their own (which is the party leader’s) way. If he deploys those same skills and attitude here he could for once be a strong voice for the armed forces that won’t roll over at the first hint of resistance. Let’s see what happens.

Julian

“their” = “there”

Lee H

Morning gents He has political capital, he needs to make his mark. Remember he is a May man and going into bat against the Treasury is no bad thing. All he has to do is make the statement and if the Treasury refuse, blame Hammond. He was the Chief Whip, he knows how to play politics and now he has quite literally an Army Behind him – all of them ready to show off their toys. Who wouldn’t be impressed in that? He is there to defend the department, making sure they get the best settlement. He was the Chief… Read more »

Chris

I think I made the comment when he was appointed, arguing against the usual suspects and their sarcastic negativity, that we need a political tactician and hard man as DefSec not some ex Army Captain or Navy Reservist good people though they may be. He has not put a foot wrong and his statements are exactly what we need to hear. On his visit to QE he didn’t just have nibbles and tea with Cap’n Kydd he went to meet all hands and see every part of the ship. He earned some respect there. This guy is a hard man… Read more »

dadsarmy

Yes, and the replies. The UK is facing a Brexit, needing to trade with the world, and some rules haven’t changed over the centuries, that a strong naval presence helps and secures trade, it’s simultaneously soft and hard power. For me, with 2 splendid carriers, the F35-B which is at last getting basically rave reviews, supported by 6 T45 capable as they say of tracking and targetting 2,000 aerial targets, with 6 perhaps 8 T26 with a high ASW capability and probably anti-ship, and 7 Astutes by mid-20s which have received accolades from the Yanks, nobody is going to laugh… Read more »

dadsarmy

“It needs to be backed by a Marine capability” should be of course

“It needs to be backed by a Marine and amphib capability”, i.e. Albion and Bulwark and scheduled replacements (upgrades).

Daniele Mandelli

I do like reading positive posts.
I agree with all.
Numbers low but capability good.
I still want to see some extra mass in the lower tier range, T31, Rivers, RFA etc so our top level assets can concentrate into a proper CBG.

dadsarmy

Well, within a sensible but not dropping defence budget, if the T31e is capable of having an ASW format, I’d go for, and sorry Clyde shipworkers I live on the Clyde, but it’d be just another 3 T26, adequate for carrier escort, and at that I’d prefer another 2 Astutes to an extra 2 T26, 7 isn’t enough. And yes, more lower priced GPFFs if the budget stretches, the Rivers (with Merlins) and indeed well specced RFAs to spread the load. With the two CVBGs as the main contribution both somewhat standalone, and NATO-contributory. The Clyde and iScotland politics could… Read more »

dadsarmy

I always miss out something. T31e likely assembled at Rosyth, same as the RFA.

TH

All this waffle over an aircraft carrier which needs US planes to make it effective. Hoq embarrassing! What a joke. So the defence of Britain now depends on a couple of ships? A dose of reality is needed!

Daniele Mandelli

Are you getting desperate?

It had been so nice for a few weeks not reading your posts talking the nation down.. ..

Geoffrey Roach

Time for another rest T H

Elliott

It only needs to buy planes from my country because people like you TH gutted your own defense industry. While mine took the steps to keep ours, the Berry Amendment and Jones Act for example. Providing hundreds of thousands of high paid workers careers. All while economically illiterate morons hobbled the UKs once great industry. Vickers-Armstrong gone, Hawker gone, deHavelland extinct and many more either gone reduced or eaten by BAE. Because idiots like you TH don’t seem to be able to understand that defense spending in country is inevitably recouped in taxes on the companies and workers spending. Buying… Read more »

Ian

Once again I agree with Elliot ?

Lee H

Afternoon TH You make 2 points, both of which I will try to answer separately: Aircraft carriers by design need aircraft to make them effective. HMG believe that the most cost effective way to do this is with the F-35B Lightning II. This aircraft had 2 level 1 development nations, one was the USA and the other the U.K. 15% of the total F-35 model is built in the U.K. the European hub for maintenance will be in the U.K. The F-35B contains the RR lift fan assembly designed and built in the U.K. All aircraft are fitted with Martin… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

He never actually makes any real point Lee but well laid out piece on your part.

Daniele Mandelli

His point is always the same. Many outbursts over the months are then debunked in kind, such as Lee’s well laid out and perfectly valid explanation, but are then ignored with no real debate, although last time apparently I was “too young to understand the value of money” The reasoning is always the same. UK broke, so scrap most of the military as we do not need it. Never mind the fact that other nations are also in financial difficulties and are not reducing their armed forces of the scale the UK already has, so in effect unilateral disarmament. Scrap… Read more »

dadsarmy

Think M&S TH. It’s not just any aircraft carrier, it’s the QE aircraft carrier.

Patrick

TH must have escaped from the asylum again.

Ian

Ignore TH, he is laughing at everyone (which probably includes this post) who gets bothered by his pathetic posts!

Pacman27

Welcome back TH. The carriers do not need US aircraft to make them work – please remember that this is a 50 year plan and as with all big ramp ups of capability it takes time. Asking the USMC onboard is smart as these guys have been at the forefront of bringing the F35b to life and they have far more experience in operating it (From Wasp class) than we do (none). It is convenient for our govt as well that this helps with the finances – but please do not belittle what is a stellar achievement by the RN,… Read more »

Jonathan

Is the ford a more potent Carrier than a queen Elizabeth….. Yes without doubt

But that’s the wrong question to ask, as you can have around 3 queen Elizabeths for every ford (capital and manpower). So is one Ford more potent than 3 queen Eizabeths ?

Daniele Mandelli

I don’t think we should even try to replicate a US Carrier.
For the UK’s station, as a middle ranking world power, the 2 QEC’s give the UK serious capability well in excess of most other nations in this area. Which is what HMG paid for.

Immensely proud of both the ships and our service personnel, serving and veterans.

dadsarmy

In terms of aircraft total 90 compared to 55 / 59. So 50% more for 200% more cost.

FrankLT

Hyperbole that deceives the people that our forces are well funded & equipped is very dangerous. The QEs have great potential if properly equipped, manned, escorted & supported.

What is a scandal is successive HMGs cutting defense to dangerous levels whilst crowing about flawed capabilities. No hostile party is deceived.
My concern with the new DS is he may be a government hatchet man, committed to Tory austerity dogma rather than the good of our forces & the country. He sems to be starting in office with the same empty boasts Mr Fallon employed. I can only hope I’m proved wrong.

dadsarmy

Fair comment, it always needs the voice of caution.

dadsarmy

Just a cuppa and Tunnocks teacake last thought. I want to see both carriers fully capable for both the planned roles, and hot swappable. So modular in that way, and a detailed logistics package, including perhaps the use of an RFA to enable hot swapping within say 24 hours – in-theatre.

TH

QE with USMC jets. How sad. Still, as long as the British please the US on the latter’s nut job overseas military intrusions all will be well.

dadsarmy

The UK already has 13 F35-B and expects to have 2 full squadrons for the QE by 2023.

Pacman27

What is sad about allies working together TH?

Delivering equipment to the military should and will become a major industry in post Brexit Britain.

I think the US have stood by us for a long time now and we are clearly in each other’s pockets, but that is just life – get over it.

Mr Bell

TH works for either Putin, Kim Jong Un or president xi jinping.
As I have said before TH take a seat , have a cup of tea, those nice men and women from Mi5 and Mi6 will be coming around to your house soon.
i refuse to believe any countryman of mine could be such a traitor and so against a properly funded, sized and equipped armed forces.

Daniele Mandelli

Sadly I fear there are many out there.

dadsarmy

I think there’s quite a few who don’t think the UK should protect the world, but perhaps don’t realise that well, someone has to do it! Or to put it another way, why should the UK spend 2% of GDP, while the European average is about 1.6% (or less). While other services like the NHS and education are underfunded. Shrug. Perhaps the answer is “remember neural Belgium and the Maginot Line”.

TH

Rest assured, I am most certainly not on my own in demanding defence cuts. As you will be aware, a growing number of ex military people are also calling for a new reality. Yes indeed, why should we spend the percentage of GDP we do on such things? Other nations are more realistic. I also assure you that the security services will never knock on my door as has been suggested. This said, the overseas aid budget is far too large and should also be dramatically reduced along with MPs expenses and many other things.