The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that the Queen Elizabeth class carriers might be fitted with catapults ‘in the coming years’ in order to launch certain types of aircraft.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked via a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of fitting a catapult system to Aircraft Carriers.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“Since the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers entered service no such feasibility assessment has been made. In the coming years, the intent is to expand experimentation of Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) with Royal Navy vessels. This may include a number of projects to consider UAS capabilities for the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. Including Fixed Wing UAS. The launch and recovery systems for these capabilities may require assessments which could include catapult systems.”

This isn’t entirely new news, however. It’s been known for some time that the Ministry of Defence were looking for information regarding fitting catapults to certain unspecified ships capable of launching aircraft of a certain weight (more about that below). The new news here is the confirmation that it’s for the carriers and that it’s part of efforts to operate large uncrewed aircraft from the decks of the carriers.

Back in March, I reported that the Ministry of Defence was seeking information on the potential for industry provide assisted launch and arrested recover systems for a range of air vehicles, which would be suitable to fit to a vessel within 3-5 years.

The Ministry of Defence say that this request for information is to support the development of the Royal Navy’s Future Maritime Aviation Force with potential for use with both crewed and un-crewed air vehicles.

The Ministry of Defence also add that it is looking to assess the availability of electromagnetic catapult, and arrestor wire systems for the launch and recovery of air vehicles.

While the Request for Information looks to assess the “availability of electromagnetic catapult and arrestor wire systems to launch aircraft” from a ship, words associated with the previous effort to explore converting the vessels to ‘CATOBAR’ in order to launch carrier variant F-35Cs, it shouldn’t be taken as indication that the Royal Navy are abandoning the short take off and vertical landing F-35Bs and returning to catapult launched fighters. They aren’t, they’re looking to “add mass” to the F-35B fleet by complemening it with uncrewed aircraft like ‘Vixen’. You can read more about Vixen by clicking here or by visiting the link below.

What will the Royal Navy’s new Vixen jets look like?

The drones that come out of project Vixen might be used for a wide range of tasks. You can read more about the aerial surveillance side of things by clicking here and the aerial refuelling potential of the drones by clicking here.

Anyway, on to the Request for Information itself.

“Potential supplier and interested parties are invited to provide information in relation to potential solutions which are sufficiently technically mature to be fitted to a suitable ship from 2023.”

According to the Request for Information, the Ministry of Defence have set out the following requirements.

“Potential arrestor solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max trap 47000lbs / 21318Kg
b. Min trap 11000lbs / 5000Kg
c. Energy damping method
d. Potential for energy reclamation

Potential catapult solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max launch weight 55000lbs / 24949Kg
b. Electrical power input required against launch cycle time.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, the intended outcomes of the Request for Information are as follows:

“a. Develop further MoD understanding of the different technologies and capabilities available in the market, both current and emerging.
b. Alignment of potential future MoD requirements with industry standards and processes for procurement of maritime un-crewed and autonomous capabilities; and,
c. Enable the Authority to develop a procurement strategy that will deliver best value for money for Defence.”

The Royal Navy say that the DEVELOP Directorate leads the development of the Royal Navy’s future warfighting capability and “acts as the platform for the through-life capability for all maritime capabilities in order to achieve the optimum mix of present and future warfighting technologies for a modern, global and ready Royal Navy”.

The Royal Navy is driving hard to introduce a range of un-crewed air vehicles and to “give wider options for the use of different air vehicles types within the Fleet”.

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farouk
farouk
23 days ago

As a question would this entail the lifting of the entire fight deck and replacing it with a new one?

DRS
DRS
23 days ago
Reply to  farouk

There is space to fit one on the upper deck that is why the front is quite thick.

However could we ever fit it on the ramp too? Would that be too complex? Else it it to the port and starboard of the ramp are the only spaces but that may mean max wing span limits and loss of parking space either side.

Ron5
Ron5
23 days ago
Reply to  DRS

Angled out from port waist wouldn’t clip any wings.

John Clark
John Clark
22 days ago
Reply to  Ron5

I wonder if we will see an angled flight deck extension and deletion of the ski jump? You certainly need the angled deck, you wouldn’t want heavy UCAV’s missing the wire and hopping/skidding straight down the centre line! Two cats on the bow, perhaps with a slight extension there too.. The space is there and the power generation, we’ve sensibly let Uncle Sam work out the kinks and head scratching with first generation electo magnetic cats, hopefully second gen will be cheaper and more reliable.. The only slight downside is the lack of ramp for the F35B, on the plus… Read more »

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
22 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John, I wonder why they can’t have both angled deck and move the ski jump to a more central or left of centre position? Lot of work I know.
Bit of a tangent but is there
any news on the defensive upgrades to the carriers or its just the 3 Phalanx’s for now?

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
22 days ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Or even to have a hydraulic ski type ramp?

John Clark
John Clark
22 days ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Interesting idea Quentin, a hydraulic ski jump …. hmm I think (assuming these plans advance) it will simply be deleted to be honest. Re defensive fit, I’ve a sneaking suspicion there’s more to the pause on adding the automatic 30mm cannon than meets the eye. I wonder (if) plans are really afoot to substantially modify the QE class, then we might see point defence lasers, or some other form of ‘longer reach’ system than 30mm, taking these vacant positions. The laser technology should hopefully be mature enough to field by 2025/6 ?? I still think its prudent to fit Sea… Read more »

BB85
BB85
23 days ago

I guess the most important thing is how much the conversion will cost. I’m assuming it till be just the one catapult per ship and they will not remove the ramp.
Does anyone know how these requirements compare to the emals requirements for the Ford carriers? could we potential launch a fully laden fighter from one or is it only good for smaller uavs?

Last edited 23 days ago by BB85
Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Just shy of the quoted weight I can find for F35B but unsure if that was dry or wet weight

BB85
BB85
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

I wasn’t sure if there where any other working examples of an emals catapult in operation other than the US one. I was thinking if we went for a lightweight version we could bring down the cost as I can’t see the RN having budget for the US version we got quoted over 1bn previously

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

The American version barely works

David Steeper
David Steeper
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

If we bought one it would be a lightweight version.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

The American version has had over 8,000 cats and traps already. So if it barely works, it’s still done more flight ops than the QE has, and the QE is fully functioning

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Not meeting program requirements doesnt mean it doesnt work. They maintain steam catapults every night to reset any faults and that is well before even 100 catapult launches per catapult.

The F-35B failed to meet spec in a lot of areas. Doesnt mean it isnt working. It means the contractor over promised and under delivered.

If failing to meet requirements still means exceeding the Nimitz class in launches, then I’ll gladly fail requirements

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

Mate you’re talking absolute bollocks

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Mate, been on board and helped launch and recover aircraft. Been also deployed on a Nimitz and seen daily ops in sustained combat ops. Have you even seen actual CATOBAR ops?

They do more ops a day with Carrier Quals than the QE does. And thats at home with no deployment. Not bad for a ship supposedly broken

Johan
Johan
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

Still cannot Launch its 5th gen fighters or the New Hornet, due to the fact its causing failure of composite panels and fuel tanks

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Johan

F-35 cannot be launched because they havent finished the ground certification of it yet. Intentional since no F-35 squadron is deploying on it for a while.

And source me that. Absolute bollocks given we have been taking out class after class of Super Hornets to the Ford

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/388636/super-hornet-frs-squadron-marks-first-qualifies-naval-aviators-using-plm-uss-gerald-r-ford

More Super Hornets have taken off and launched off the Ford than all ops ever conducted off the QE. Might even be a surprise knowing Brits assigned to USN units have been to it and flown off of it.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

And I should add its the F-35 that hasnt been certified to launch off it yet, not that EMALS isnt certified to it. Testing was delayed by COVID and for the F-35 ITF in Pax River to focus on certifying other things, like the QE and Cavour

Northco
Northco
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

The Americans have actually carried out over 3,000 launches on the Ford already, somewhat more than barely works.

Last edited 23 days ago by Northco
Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
23 days ago
Reply to  Northco

And fails after 188 launches, somewhat short of the projected over 4k

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Northco

Over 8000 launches now.

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

and is still less than 10% of required efficiency, like I said you’re talking absolute bollocks

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Marty Palmer, you have no idea what you are talking about. Less than 10% doesnt mean they arent exceeding previous performance. Also, that rate reported was for the first 3975 launches the first 3 years of service including testing. Theyve had over 4025 in the last year alone. What was their reliability now? Also, how often do you think steam catapults were brought down for maintenance? They wanted exceptional reliability for EMALS and that hasnt been met. But if it already exceeds past catapults and is only getting better, and theyve already launched and recovered more aircraft than any other… Read more »

Johan
Johan
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

Its well Know the Emails is trouble sum, and was why the Royal Navy discounted as un-proven tech. Queen Class is out on maiden deployment. While Ford Class is being Bombed and then Heading into refit and maintenance. its not just her launch systems, but the weapons lifts, and automated systems, its far reliable

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Johan

The Ford would have deployed this year but the shock trials were mandated by Congress. Mind you the Nimitz didnt have their shock trials done until 1987, so the Ford is being shock trialed abnormallu early. They doubled their cat and trap numbers in the past year alone.

9 of 11 elevators are completed and theyve already moved ordnance up just fine. A lot had changed and the news is only now catching up

Joe16
Joe16
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

I’ve seen comments made about a British equivalent of the EMALS, which was also at development phase (but also significantly better, because of course it was). I’ve not seen anything officially published about it though.
We certainly wouldn’t want to go full EMALS, I agree- far too over-specced.

Johan
Johan
23 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Quintiq has been firing Drones from their system for decades, But had issues as the weight went up they kept ripping wings of their test craft. and couldn’t control the shock effect. BAEs did a design study to navalise the Typhoon, But do to the loadings the airframe needed to be a totally new design. The new Advanced Super Hornet is having issues on the ford class, that its not having on any other class, in that Carbon Fibre doesn’t fle

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Johan

“The new Advanced Super Hornet is having issues on the ford class, that its not having on any other class, in that Carbon Fibre doesn’t fle” Want to source that they have been having issues with the Ford specifically? They havent done any Advanced Super Hornet tests on EMALS at Lakehurst. They have done a lot on steam catapults, and the issues were specific to the CFTs. More Super Hornets have launched off the Ford than F-35s have from the QE. All supposedly on a broken ship. Fell free to tell Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic himself though, he was there a… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
22 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

While I can’t comment on advanced vs normal SH and what’s flown from and on to the USS Ford, I think you’re maybe reading more into the comment than was meant. The Ford is a more complex vessel, utilising more new technologies than should have been fitted to a first in class hull. That’s not my opinion, that’s a general consensus opinion held by many defence commentators. That’s not to say it is a broken ship, nor that it’ll never work, but that it is taking longer to get all of that tied together and is costing more to do… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
22 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Ah, it was Qinetiq, thanks- wasn’t sure who had the British version.

DRS
DRS
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

This on steroids? This is the original proof of concept before the ships were built and EMAILS was a thing. Whatever happened to – EMCAT – Think Defence

DaveyB
DaveyB
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Qinetiq have used the GE (Coverteam) EMCAT electro-magnetic catapult to launch target drones for at least the last 10 years at their Benbecular site.

Last edited 23 days ago by DaveyB
Johan
Johan
23 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

And @ Farnborough before, used to keep us entertained.

Steve M
Steve M
23 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

F35B is listed as max 27200Kg, the F35C is 31800kg that’s 24500kg(empty + 9k Fuel) & upto 8k weapons, so 6 ammrams is only 900 kg if you take off with 20% less fuel and tank fm drone straight away it wouldn’t have much std mission restriction only prob would be if you wanted to use as bomb truck and put external weapons on it. (think that right)

Joe16
Joe16
23 days ago
Reply to  BB85

Compared to the EMALS/AAG combination, we’re not speccing the same: That system has max launch weight of 32,000 kg and arresting weight of 25,000 kg, while ours is 25,000 kg and 21,000 kg respectively. Interestingly, compared to the current gear on a Nimitz (36,000 kg and 23,000 kg), the arresting weight is actually not that far off. I think the real calculation is also to do with the minimum landing speeds and room available for take-off and landings though, so just going by weight is a bit of a simplistic exercise. That said, that’s about my level when it comes… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Joe16
Ian M.
Ian M.
23 days ago

The system is called “Crossbow”. A 24949kg rated bungee, winch and hook. 😁 

Rob
Rob
23 days ago

As I understand it these are small cats & traps designed to launch / recover small unmanned aircraft NOT the full on ones that launch manned aircraft. The problem is that having a basically STOVL carrier which doubles up with Cats & Traps is going to make the deck layout exceedingly complicated. Any ideas how that works? Maybe a second angled runway to port of the ski jump (expensive). Whatever they do the deck management is going to be extremely difficult.

Sean
Sean
23 days ago
Reply to  Rob

The obvious placement for the catapult is to run lengthwise along the ship, parallel to the take-off strip and ramp used by the F35Bs. However the clearance between the rightmost edge of the ramp and the leftmost edge of the front island would possibly limit the possible wingspan of the UAVs that could be accommodated.

Jon
Jon
18 days ago
Reply to  Sean

The obvious placement for the catapult is on a small auxilary carrier, so the QE class won’t get taken out of service while we learn how to work the blessed things. Maybe we should buy the Garibaldi.

Sean
Sean
18 days ago
Reply to  Jon

And presumably half the number of T26’s to pay for and crew the new drone-only carriers?
Learning how to work these will be done using a land-based test site. Installation with be done during a scheduled refit.

Peter S
Peter S
23 days ago
Reply to  Rob

As you say, we risk having very awkward deck arrangements if this plan goes ahead. I think it’s the worst possible option. We have (rightly in terms of manpower and other costs) chosen a STOVL design. Operating F35b alongside rotary wing craft has been practised and is, relatively, straightforward. The USMC is looking at options to fly AEW missions from their America class carriers. Without cats and traps, they need a STOVL/VTOL aircraft. Front runner seems to be an unmanned tilt rotor.
This would be a much cheaper and less risky solution for AEW and even refuelling.

Rob
Rob
23 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Agree 100% with AEW but how are we going to get the UAV wingman off the deck? If it isn’t STOVL, not sure if that would work, the flight deck is going to be a mess is it not?

Peter S
Peter S
23 days ago
Reply to  Rob

The loyal wingman UAV is the big problem. If it is anything like the Australian Boeing prototype, it will be a pretty hefty piece of kit, towards the upper weight limit in the RFI. If a reasonably priced tilt rotor could deliver AEW and refuel, we would be looking at the relative costs of-
a) developing an EMALs and a UCAV and retrofitting the carriers
b) buying more F35s.
I think b) is a better choice. Sticking with an all STOVL/VTOL air group gives options to use other platforms if necessary.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

What other STOVL/VTOL options? Everything is in theory and undeveloped.

The USMC talks about developing these things all the time but never does it.

The USN developed the CMV-22 and went right ahead with the E-2D and MQ-25 so they arent touching a tiltrotor tanker or AEW anytime soon.

So the real cost is more F-35Bs and more development of brand new aircraft, while having no USN options

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
23 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Not sure the layout would be that complicated. Comparison of QEC vs Nimitz shows how cats at the waist might work, F-35B seems to start its launch adjacent to the forward superstructure.

QEC vs Nimitz.jpg
Last edited 23 days ago by Glass Half Full
Ron5
Ron5
23 days ago

Especially if you imagine the UK cats to be half the length.

Peter S
Peter S
23 days ago

Not sure that if angled decks are deemed essential for safe cats and traps landing by manned aircraft, it would be wise to dispense with them for UCAVs.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
23 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

We wouldn’t have to dispense with the “angled deck” though. The angled deck perspective on the Nimitz is defined by the paint and the position of the traps. On QEC, without even amending the deck shape/area we might support something approaching the same length and presumably there is space under deck for where the traps are located. For QEC we might also want to design for more clearance of the bow ramp for bolters.

To be clear I’m not suggesting its just a matter of painting diagonal lines.

Ron5
Ron5
22 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

They are not deemed essential for manned or unmanned so your point is worthless.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
23 days ago

I thought HMSPOW had other ‘stuff’ fitted on board, making her heavier than the Elizabeth?

Brian
Brian
23 days ago

Uncrewed I guess unmanned is a dirty word these days. Uncrewed just sounds horrible, an ugly word to say.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago

The max trap easily exceeds the recovery weight of any CATOBAR aircraft in US service except the Growler.

The max catapult weight, however, is below what fully loaded CATOBAR fighters would weigh – but not necessarily by a lot. An F-35C without ordnance could be launched, or alternatively swap fuel for ordnance – which would still place it at more gas than an F-35B.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

Trap weight is relatively close for an E-2D though, with an empty weight of ~19,500kg.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago

Empty weight is closer to 40.5k lb

https://www.navair.navy.mil/product/E-2D

And even 19.5kg empty would still mean nearly 4k in gas which is a lot for a turboprop. Thats hours of flying remaining

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
23 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

Ah OK, I was using an older Northrup source that listed empty weight at ~43,000 lbs. In any event it seems I was being too conservative. Thanks for correction.

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago

No problem. The E-2D and potentially MQ-25 would all be possibilities in that range. The possibilities with just existing systems is quite large

Chris
Chris
23 days ago

Seems so incredibly dense and shortsighted to spend all this for a 55k cat launched drone, while coming up 15k shy of the 70k for a full up F-35C (heaviest carrier launched aircraft right now).

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Chris

FWIW, the F-35C max catapult launch is not 70K. Note that all the brochure matter says it is “70K class” for max takeoff, but thats land takeoff.

The actual numbers are lower. As the USN has said, the Super Hornet has the superior payload capacity so you can do the math for what that means

CAM
CAM
23 days ago

Sorry, I probably picked it up wrong but are they trying to say that the catapults MIGHT be F35C capable?

Andrew D
Andrew D
23 days ago

Maybe fitted out for 🕊 ,let’s hope there just Get it right 🇬🇧🙄

Mark
Mark
23 days ago

Who does one send an idea to if they think they have a out the box low budget solution. A Predator sea guardian for instance only needs assistance for the aircraft to takeoff and with 200m runway to play with and most aircraft only need about 80-90knts to take off. It’s been designed to land on carriers already and it couldnt be hard to put a crowsnest on a revolving front facing nose cone and a little design tweek. Just lay a scalectric type track down the middle. A Tesla taken apart and made into a go cart (go-cat)with a… Read more »

Paul
Paul
23 days ago

Should have been included in original design as allows different aircraft to be used from the ship’s only a British government would build the two the largest carriers in RN history and hog tie them to one aircraft (the most expensive variant and least capable F35)they can operate!

Andrew D
Andrew D
23 days ago
Reply to  Paul

You would think it’s a Bit late in the day ,however that’s HMGs for ur.🤔

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

While better to have two in hand than one now, given the money that will now cost to retrofit them if it happens, and the costs to procure and operate the B model, it does make you wonder

Derek
Derek
22 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I think this is because they recognize that Crowsnest isn’t going to be effective enough. So it’s a case of …”What are our options?”

Ron
Ron
23 days ago

Right, I have understood the RN needs and the terms of the RFI from the MoD. However there are three issues that should be looked into. 1. What needs to be done to the carriers, eg deck cutting, power requirements etc. 2. If the deck needs to be cut into and power upgrades are required then would it not be better to make privision for a full cat and trap system for a possible later upgrade. 3. To look into the possibility of combining the ski jump with a EMAL system. 4. Would it be better to have a full… Read more »

Nic
Nic
23 days ago
Reply to  Ron

They wouldnt need the systems for crewed aircraft as most of NATO countries use the F35b , so a EMAL system would probably serve the purpose for the Vixens .

Miguel
Miguel
23 days ago
Reply to  Nic

While most NATO countries use the F-35B, all of them combined dont even meet what the totals of what the USN will field to replace the 560 Super Hornets in service. If the QE will serve 50 years, better to be tied to the USN which has already demonstrated unmanned systems on their carriers and has a next gen fighter in the works, than the F-35B whose main customers (USMC and UK) arent even committed to the full program of record

John Clark
John Clark
22 days ago
Reply to  Miguel

While I have reservations for the RN operating conventional manned fighters, a middle ground of Stovl F35B and a co based heavy (cats and traps) UCAV solution, does seem a very sensible solution for the 2030’s and forward. I don’t think the lack of ski jump would particularly hamper the F35B either, the QE class have very large decks to play with after all. The main issue would be the longer F35B take off run that would impede deck movements somewhat and require some creative deck handling to keep the sortie rate up when needed. It would make sense that… Read more »

NormanB
NormanB
8 minutes ago
Reply to  John Clark

Have you any expertise in this field – at all?

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
23 days ago

It says it’s looking at possibilities for marine development, manned and unmanned. But no where is there any linkage to cats and traps for manned planes.
The words are designed to confuse.
The work is suggested to examine what is available to be produced. If it is available at 2x then we could therefore produce x.

Bill
Bill
23 days ago

Absolute tripe!! Cats for UAV’s?!

Johan
Johan
23 days ago

Recent design study for drone launch is the Landing of UAVs is on the port side, flight deck, with trap catch or option. Launching was 1st looked at using the ski jump run, BUT F35s run very hot and could damage the cats. option to off-center on the ski jump or have a mini ski jump with launch assist. Navy has no interest in F35A. That’s a RAF wish buckett, Navy also struggling to launch its UAV from other classes. each to their own, imagine the outrage if we go back to a system that is proving unreliable, which is… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
22 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Totally made up. You should be ashamed of youself. Go away.

geoff
geoff
22 days ago

I always come late to these chats as otherwise engaged evenings but a few thoughts and questions. When mooted originally the cost was prohibitive-in the Billions, so why would it be considered now particularly considering the time needed to do such a major fit and work it up would require a long out of service period? The F35B may not have the performance of other conventionally launched jets but still gives the RN a capability way above that of the Harrier and surely more than adequate to task? Also can one catapult an aircraft manned or unmanned up the ski-ramp.… Read more »

Billythefish
Billythefish
22 days ago

Not sure what the obsession is with electric powered machinery – steam is tried and tested and very easy to produce on the ship.

Ron5
Ron5
22 days ago
Reply to  Billythefish

Very maintenance intensive i.e. expensive in crew and skills to keep running. Less available because of that too.

Gemma
Gemma
22 days ago

Back in 2012. Cameron Tory Government did a U-turn on aircraft carriers as catapult costs apparently spiral. It was a Labour Government that ordered UK 2 brilliantly designed aircraft carriers. Its the dithering Tory Government of slash and cut to our armed forces. The Navy seems to be modernising fast but needs more destroyers ,frigates & submarines. Army needs just more modern kit. from tanks to towed & self-propelled 155mm artillery. Air defence of UK?. UK does not have high altitude, long range ground to air missile defence such as Patriot Missile. The Dutch have them. why not UK?. It… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
22 days ago

So now to launch UAVs they’re looking at an EMCAT and arrestor wires with a MTOW of 25k kilos. Because of course they are. Why not have a 65K STOVL carrier with CATOBAR facilities but only for drones, that’s logical.
Am I missing something here cause this is getting ridiculous.

Nic
Nic
20 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

It is definitely an option to have an all drone carrier or converted ship , rather than putting the Queen Elizabeth carrier out of action for conversion .

Jon
Jon
18 days ago
Reply to  Nic

Absolutely right. By far the best option. We want something cheap to work it up on first.

NormanB
NormanB
1 day ago

Classic YES MINISTER – ask a question about feasibility studies of cats and traps (assuming the Minister would know this in the context for manned 5th generation aircraft) and he starts waxing lyrical about the possibility of a catapult to launch a piggin drone.