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.

Please note, this isn’t for Tempest.

MoD confirm Tempest jet will not be carrier capable

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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Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
3 months ago

Definitely maybe

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Ah, Captain, this news is for you. Leaves one as unsure as before!
Standard MoD.
I’m confident this will happen.

Last edited 3 months ago by Daniele Mandelli
Peter S
Peter S
3 months ago

The statement is typically vague. The RFI refers to both crewed and uncrewed air vehicles. Whilst most attention is focussed on UCAVs, what crewed aircraft might need cats and traps? 55000 lbs is too low for currently available aircraft at max t/o weight except Gripen. But the upper weight limit implies quite a large aircraft.
My guess is this will come to nothing because costs for the RN will be greater than ordering more F35s.

Peter S
Peter S
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Just re checked. 55000 lbs would allow Rafael M to be launched.

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

It says 47000lbs for traps

Ah… just seen for 55k cats …!

Last edited 3 months ago by Trevor Holcroft
Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

E-2D? I know they are incredibly expensive!
Max take-off weight exceeds the CATs by a bit, but top-up with fuel in air.

Last edited 3 months ago by Meirion X
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

😆

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago

There’s a whiff of Sir Humphrey about it isn’t there.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

I really believe it will happen as it’s not Bjo but 1SL talking of putting drones on POW.

Unlike the army the RN turn equipment programmes into reality. Harsh I know.

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago

I hope you’re right mate, just having the ability to launch slow, loitering AEW drones and tankers would be a huge ‘force multiplier’ (apologies for the cliche).

I know there’s been big advances in this area but I just wish they’d have kept it simple and went with C&T’s to start with. I know there are pro’s and con’s but for me the pro’s edge it. Having said that…. we are where are and if we can get a ‘half strength’ system to launch practical UAV’s then cool, I’m all for it.  👍 

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Agreed. And they’re needed, as we are not increasing mass without it.

Convenient for them maybe after all the cuts to suddenly have a route to bulking out the air group but we shall take it.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Nothing simple about C’s&T’s !!

Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Very true statement about operating a CATOBAR carrier. The RN has been out of the CATOBAR game for 40 years and has neither the people to man one or the money to operate one, plus we lost the skills 40 years ago to operate one . It has taken 4 years to get the QE ready for its first operational deployment and we only got rid of the harriers 10 years ago. Can you imagine how long it would take to train fast jet pilots how to operate from a carrier and to train the crew of said carrier? Want… Read more »

farouk
farouk
3 months ago

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

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Think there’s already space between flight deck and hangar roof to fit cat n traps. Someone described as like a mezzanine. Really stretching my memory here so could be wrong.

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I spose the only way we’ll know for sure is if/when they fit them

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Does the QEC fit in Bideford?

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

Only with a cut and shut!

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Good job I wasn’t drinking my tea as I read that…

DRS
DRS
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  DRS

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

John Clark
John Clark
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Or even to have a hydraulic ski type ramp?

John Clark
John Clark
3 months 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 »

Nate M
Nate M
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

wouldn’t that take a lot of time? like taking of the different sections and stuff. at that point might as well just slap a new flight deck on.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

 😳  Like Battlestar Galatica!? Is the “launch tunnel lit with those fancy lights too?”  😜 

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

It must be a sturdy 4 post ramp captain….

BB85
BB85
3 months 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 3 months ago by BB85
Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The American version barely works

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

If we bought one it would be a lightweight version.

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Miguel

Mate you’re talking absolute bollocks

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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 3 months ago by Northco
Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
3 months ago
Reply to  Northco

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

Miguel
Miguel
3 months ago
Reply to  Northco

Over 8000 launches now.

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
3 months ago
Reply to  Miguel

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

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

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

DRS
DRS
3 months 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
3 months 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 3 months ago by DaveyB
Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

And @ Farnborough before, used to keep us entertained.

Steve M
Steve M
3 months 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)

BB85
BB85
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I remember seeing that $400m quoted for the design study to add cats and traps. I assumed it was a complete piss take and an easy opportunity for the carrier group to hide their cost over runs under a change in requirement. It’s not like work stopped on the carriers while the study was taking place.

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Well they were taking the piss out of David Cameron. They were just copying everyone else.

Trevor
Trevor
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

You might be on to something there – wasn’t there research done on some kind of rubberised flexible flight deck which would eliminate the need for conventional landing gear on the Sea hawk?

Joe16
Joe16
3 months 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 3 months ago by Joe16
Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Sea Typhoon much like the Rafale is and was a different plane. than their land base. BAEs then played a pissing contest over MRA4 and wanted more cash. as it still didn’t work and was proving that Hand built Aircraft are not uniform. and in that pissing contest went TWIST and UKGOVs busted them and in a spinless shot took the harrier fleet with them. so being reliant on BAEs was never a option again.

Ian M.
Ian M.
3 months ago

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

Rob
Rob
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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 3 months ago by Glass Half Full
Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago

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

Peter S
Peter S
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

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

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago

this Is clear evidence that politics is infact a quantum effect in that political decisions act in the same way as sub atomic particles. The decision on adding catapults to the carriers has been made and yet the decision is not decide/fixed in place until it is observed. It’s a case of Schrödinger’s cats (and traps)

Last edited 3 months ago by Jonathan
Tim
Tim
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes, the Cats and Traps are indeed collapsed wave forms.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
3 months ago

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

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Sure there’s a joke about Wrens there, I just can’t see it…..  🤔 

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

 😂 
comment image

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Miguel

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

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago

C&T does make us more interoperable with our ‘chums’ as well as giving a bit more ‘legs’ to our aircraft. Excuse the pun but that ship has sailed.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Last I checked the UK were so interoperable with our chums, they came onboard for a world trip.

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

What, the French ?? The US Navy ??

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Better than either of them

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Maybe not as numerous though, at least the USN.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

It’s the Belgrano through the periscope!

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Action stations, action stations, special sea duty men (& women George) close up. OOooerrpp, OOooerrpp! Man the braces!

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Only joking.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Eirie captain.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Well done you cycling to to top of Portland… Strange people on there… Don’t mention rabbits… There bunnies.

My missus is a Weymouth girl, my kids where born in Dorch and we lived and owned a house in Weymouth off and on from the late 80s until around 8 years ago.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Good luck with the e-bike and camper, sounds great. BTW did you see the yanks ‘stress testing the USS Ford with explosives. If we do that with POW you’ll get an even better picture.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Indecision is the key to flexability…

I once said that at a Task Group Command meeting when the N4 couldnt decide on releasing task group spares…
The Commodore laughed…
My boss called me to his cabin afterwards and it wasn’t for a coffee and cake! …

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Sometimes these things come out of your mouth before you realise it eh ?? It might be a version of Sergeant Wilson’s “are you sure that’s wise Sir” but you rarely get a thank you for it.  😂 

Chris
Chris
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

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

Mark
Mark
3 months 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 »

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago

“Sea Typhoons” and “saving money” in the same sentence. Never seen that before, never expect to see it again  😎 

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

I agree. ‘Sea Typhoons is absurd.

Last edited 3 months ago by Trevor Holcroft
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

On an old defence forum at least a decade ago, UKDM, UK Defence Management, there was a guy called Martin who was obsessed by the idea of a Sea Typhoon. Obsessed. Bit like our Nigel today with F35’s.

Ron5
Ron5
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

They didn’t take a land based aircraft and turn it into a carrier based one did they? So no.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Sea Typhoon, Rafael M, what’s the difference really? (Probably quite a bit but that’s aside the point)

Nic
Nic
3 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

If they had thought about developing a carrier variant of the Typhoon it would have been in service already.
I don’t think they are going for another variant of the F35 that again would have been factored in on the initial orders and I don’t think it is to make carriers available to other carrier capable aircraft from other countries . So that just leaves the Vixen drones .

Paul
Paul
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul

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

Miguel
Miguel
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Have you any expertise in this field – at all?

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
3 months ago

Channelling your inner Turner…

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
3 months 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
3 months ago

Absolute tripe!! Cats for UAV’s?!

Johan
Johan
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

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

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

Looks like you took a picture of a picture of a picture of a ship in a periscope! Hah. Despite her loitering around cornwall, I have yet to see her. I did get up cose and personal with Sabre and Scimitar in Penzance harbbour though!

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Lusty looks good. 😉

geoff
geoff
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago
Reply to  Nic

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

Steve
Steve
3 months ago

I guess they have three major hurdles. 1. Can the electronic cat/trap be designed within a sensible budget 2. Can the drones be designed/build within a sensible budget, 3. Will there be any budget

Pretty PowerPoints do not make a working system and it seems we arent even at the tender stage let alone drawing board.

NormanB
NormanB
2 months 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.

Richard Beeston
Richard Beeston
1 month ago

Good to know the magic money tree is still working.
We have had drones for decades so there were missed opportunities when they were first drafting the QE requirements.