Patricia Gibson, SNP MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, claimed that HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales lacked aircraft, despite both vessels deploying with jets, helicopters and even drones in recent times.

Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran of the SNP, asked:

“The Royal Navy carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales entered service six and seven years late respectively, with their cost rocketing to over £8,000 million—more than 20 times that of Scotland’s Toggle showing location ofColumn 460ferries—while being plagued with problems and a lack of aircraft. What assurances can we have that these hugely expensive carriers will provide the defence capability for which they were designed?”

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Defence, responded:

“The whole House recognises the irony of an SNP Member talking about ships being delivered late. The whole House will want to welcome the extraordinary work done by those on HMS Prince of Wales who got the ship ready to leave not at 30 days’ readiness, which is what they were ranked for, but in eight days. I would have thought that congratulating the ship’s company would be the right thing to do.”

Of course, the ships do have aircraft available to them.

The UK currently has around 30 of the jets and, it appears, has signalled a reaffirmation of its commitment to procure 138 F-35B aircraft, as per the original plan laid out in the early stages of the programme.

UK appears to recommit to full order of 138 F-35Bs

What are the carriers doing today?

HMS Queen Elizabeth is getting ready to head to Scotland for repairs after inspections uncovered a defect with her starboard propeller shaft coupling; the decision was made for HMS Queen Elizabeth to head to Rosyth for repair work. HMS Prince of Wales is taking over on Exercise Steadfast Defender.

“My Lords, the Royal Navy continues to meet its operational commitments, both at home and abroad. Having two aircraft carriers means that HMS “Prince of Wales” has quickly prepared to deploy in place of HMS “Queen Elizabeth”. She has sailed from Portsmouth this afternoon to join the NATO exercise Steadfast Defender.

Following initial investigations, HMS “Queen Elizabeth” will be required to sail for Rosyth in Scotland to undergo repairs for an issue with her starboard propeller shaft coupling, which will be carried out in due course. Her issue is not the same as that experienced by HMS “Prince of Wales” back in 2022.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth heading to Scotland for repairs

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Pidgeons

DH
DH
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Paraffin pigeons… 😁👍

Farouk
Farouk
1 month ago

I find it interesting how the SNP which has no problem throwing money at the likes of Pakistan opine about the so called lack of stealth aircraft for the U.K. , when Pakistan which is the largest recipient of British Aid stated last month it is going to procure the FC31 the so called Chinese clone of the F35. This is on top of the 20 J 10 it has recently received and on top of the 153 JF17s it has on its books which is on top of the 85 F16s it operates. Any half decent MP in the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Farouk
grizzler
grizzler
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

careful now…..

DH
DH
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Steady on ol’ chap….

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Surely a countries armed forces are essential to its security and development. Pakistan has hostile neighbours on all sides, do you begrudge them having an Airforce? Given its size and bad economic state it would not surprise me that Pakistan would be the biggest recipient of UK foreign aid. What country woukd you expect to be the biggest recipient of UK aid at the moment? As for the SNP giving money for Pakistan floods, it’s quite frankly ridiculous that a state government would give international development aid however given the tiny amount involved it’s very much a stunt. I would… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

TBH any country that can build its own nuclear weapons and splash the cash on Chinese hardware is not looking after its citizens first!
So really why should we give them any money at all?

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim wrote: “”Pakistan has hostile neighbours on all sides,”” Regards enemies at the gate, Pakistan has only itself to blame. The vast majority of its military sits opposite India, that India which is Hindu as opposed to Pakistan’s subscription to Islam. Since their joint birth, India has gone out of its way to appease Pakistan, (look up the Simla Agreement of 1972 where the victorious India after defeating Pakistan in 2 weeks after its rampage in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) resulting in the genocide of 3 million people for the crime of voting to leave the union with West Pakistan… Read more »

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim wrote:

“”What country woukd you expect to be the biggest recipient of UK aid at the moment? “”

The Uk

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Surely the SNP should be deploying their stock of camping equipment in support?

Tommo
Tommo
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

Along with their First minister who will feel quite at home as every position in Pakistani politics is run by someone either related or same hue. Comment with reference too his speech about how every position in Scottish hierarchy Politics ,police, etc are filled with people with low melamine ( white) . Putting this post up because of the stupidity arising from today’s leaders in handing out Aid let me Guess where its going Gender surgery? Gender studies? Diversity studies? Weapon procurement!!!

Tim
Tim
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Check out http://www.gov.uk statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2022/statistics-on-international-development. Pakistan is 9th recieving £58m. The map shows India and China also recieve UK Aid.

I consider giving any money to countries with nuclear weapons and space programs and aircraft carriers as us sending the wrong message. It is not ok to have extensive poverty alongside these things. I don’t side with arguments about soft power and influence for them. We are adding to their money pot and allowing them to spend less of their own money on schools and so on, and more on weapons.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Coming from a Scotsman, well said that man!!

gabriel francis
gabriel francis
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Maybe the abject poverty that makes it happen. That and the geo politics of the region. Hmmmm

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Farouk – Pakistan is nowhere near the largest recipient for DFID – they actually ranked 9th and received 58 million in 2022, the last year I can find figures for. Most if not all of that money would have been spent by NGO’s:

https://www.context.news/socioeconomic-inclusion/britains-foreign-aid-where-does-the-money-go

None of it would have gone to subsidise their military forces, and even if every penny had, 58 million is loose change in their defence budget.

Aitch
Aitch
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

throwing money at the likes of Pakistan” really? … where?

Bob79
Bob79
1 month ago

The good old SNP, haven’t a clue what they’re banging on about but that doesn’t stop them.. what’s that old saying better to remain silent……….ect

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob79

Oh come on they do have their moments. The best priced, very low mileage camper van (sorry Battle bus) ever sold. One Careful Lady owner who did her bit for the environment as she couldn’t drive it.🤔

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

SNP…enough said.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago

It’s ironic that there is a picture of the aircraft carrier covered in aircraft at the top of the article.

All the wingers on here should take note that your not only on the side of the Russia trolls but the SNP when it comes to slating the carriers for not having aircraft on them.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

What you done with “Dave” mate ?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Ah yes, we need an article about the SNP every time they fart in the general direction of the carriers. The fact remains, she’s pretty much spot on. The problems are concerning but not overly unexpected for a new class of ships that are still bedding in, and, as has been shown, we have been able to provide cover at an astonishing rate. However, we do have a lack of air frames and, at the moment, a lack of ambition to invest in more. This is partially constrained by build rates and funding, but we have seen rotary wing numbers… Read more »

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

I’d agree she should get the benefit of the doubt on the phrase lack of airframes, but spot on with 6 years late? QNLZ: started building in 2009, commissioned in 2017. How fast does she think they were planning on building it that that makes 6 years late?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

“Pretty much” spot on. I wasn’t really examining that part, or the random insert table of 6059505950 billion ferries bit!

But that raises a good point, and I feel the article should have lead on “SNP Politician Claims Carriers Should Have Been Build in Two Years”, as that is far more… Daily Fail levels than the aircraft claim. “No aircraft” is wrong, “too few aircraft” is more accurate.

Marked
Marked
1 month ago

She didn’t say no aircraft. Lack of could be argued to be accurate.

We don’t have many f35s available. Of them none are of a spec where they come close to the level of lethality we need (and won’t for donkeys years) . We lack any in flight refueling capability for them. We lack the loyal wingman type drones that were supposed to support the f35s.

A lack of aircraft sounds like a relevant statement to me.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
1 month ago

It is true we do not have enough to field both carriers together and the sub glacial pace we are buying more. Further we should not be retiring T1 Typhoons without replacing them with T3.
Maybe it will dawn on our government that 2% is not enough and we need to gear up for the worst case scenario that is very probably heading our way.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

I’m saying nothing……😶😶😶

Terry.
Terry.
1 month ago

As the life span of our carriers is now down to 45 years, I wonder if we will ever have a full complement of aircraft, as I understand it each carrier should have 40 Aircraft each. And as some Admirals have suggested in times of war a possible 70 Aircraft would be a maximum. I am proud of our forces, they are truly the best. But this situation has now turned into an embarrassment .

Steven B
Steven B
1 month ago

Let’s be honest we do lack aircraft, and many bang on about it regularly on here. Lacking and having none are completely different things. Lacking can equal short supply … As much as I do not like the SNP, the criticism in this article is wrong.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven B

It’s clearly in the national interest to buy F-35Bs after Technology Refresh 3 and Block 4 software becomes available as we have seen with Typhoon that upgrades to earlier versions are hard, slow and expensive. So much so that Tranche 1 disposal is preferable to the upgrade to Tranche 3.

As the tier 1 manufacturing partner we should get first choice after US forces in the supply pipeline. Not forgetting the integration of our choice of weapons.

Further we are putting our crews up at the sharp end both Baltic, Black and Red seas which should count for something.

Steven B
Steven B
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

What you have said maybe correct, but does not change the fact we lack aircraft.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago

I hope the SNP dont see this tweet:

Ricky D Phillips Official

Sigh…. the Invincible nutters are back with another convincing photo, showing HMS Invincible damaged… there’s no refuting this piece of cast iron evidence, now is there???

klonkie
klonkie
1 month ago

I don’t really care ( well not that much) about the current lack of F35. What we need to see is a clear plan and path , with dates) for the F35 fleet growth along with funding.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  klonkie

As long as we have the capability to deploy a full air wing of 3 squadrons by 2027, all else is fine.

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

OT- Just read that the latest RN test firing of one of our Trident misiles went great until it dropped into the sea shortly after launch, rather than covering several thousand miles. Previous test in 2016 also failed, going off course mid flight. Bit of a worry, but “worse things happen at sea”.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

Another misguided comment from an irrelevant Politian who only aim is to undermine UK defence.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

I’m going to be balanced here…one of the statements was “lack of aircraft “ not no aircraft”…lack can mean not having enough of…which lets be honest is true….it’s also the fact that “not enough” is a movable feast and so is difficult to decide if the statement is wrong or not…

David Owen
David Owen
1 month ago

I wish people would stop sniping about politicians, THE BOTTOM LINE IS THEY ARE ALL FXXXXXXG USELESS ,SNP ,LABOUR ,TORIES ,LIB DEMS AND PC BRIGADE BASTARDS GREEN PARTY, ANY BODY SUGGEST A DICTATOR OR DESPOT AS LEADER ,GIVE THEM A TRY COS WHAT WE HAVE IS NOTHING BUT CRAP ,

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago

As much as if pains me to say the person does say lack of aircraft which the carriers do have. While they have some ideally 2 squadrons of fast jets 24 F35, and a couple of squadrons of helicopters to provide AEW, ASW, resupply, search and rescue. Obviously mission dependant of what should be on board. If the carrier can hold 40 F35s that’s what should be aimed for.
It’s not all the MOD/navies fault as the aircraft production is an issue. The helicopter shortage is though and lack of keeping the harriers, bringing drones online is.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall
1 month ago

617 Sqn RAF and 809 NAS currently share a pool of about 16 operational standard F-35B aircraft, 3 or 4 of which will usually be in level 2 or 3 maintenance/upgrades and unavailable. The F-35B is notoriously maintenance heavy due to its complexity and stealth technologies. So embarking 8 of perhaps 12 serviceable aircraft on PWLS is impressive. Any more and training activities at Marham, including the ramp-up of 809 NAS would surely be badly affected. Probably 5 new aircraft will be delivered this year, so a CSG25 deployment of 18 UK owned F-35B’s across 617/809 is plausible if –… Read more »