The National Audit Office have released a report titled ‘Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment’, the report examines the MoD’s management of the programme since 2017 and the risks towards achieving Carrier Strike’s full capabilities.

The MoD faces “significant challenges if it is to build on its progress since 2017 and develop the full capabilities of a carrier strike group”, say the NAO.

Recommendations outlined below are intended to support the MoD in the next phase of the programme:

  • Develop a full understanding of the costs of running and supporting Carrier Strike. This should be updated to reflect data from forthcoming deployments and include modelling on a range of operational scenarios. It should use these estimates to inform major decisions and understand the consequential impact on the Armed Forces as a whole. It should also test whether future funding provisions are realistic, including by improving the quality and governance of its financial planning forecasts;
  • Restate its ambition and objectives for Carrier Strike when the Integrated Review is published. It should use this Review to form a revised plan to achieve its milestone of full operating capability for the Carrier Enabled Power Projection programme in 2026. At the strategic level, it should consider the extent of interoperability with allies and ensure its priorities are reflected in command plans. At an operational level, it should develop a detailed programme schedule, identifying interdependencies and critical path;
  • Establish a clear view on the future enhancement costs of a carrier strike group. It should develop a consolidated long-term investment plan covering all capabilities in a carrier strike group, identifying out-of-service dates and when decisions are needed. It should also ensure commands are making coherent investment decisions to support the continued development of Carrier Strike. This should include identifying funding shortfalls that inhibit achieving its ambition and making strategic cross-command decisions about how to resolve them;
  • Monitor the new governance arrangements for the Carrier Enabled Power Projection programme to ensure they are working effectively. The new arrangements need to provide cross-command oversight of funding commitments, a coherent approach to managing developments, and clear responsibilities for decision-making on Carrier Strike operations. These arrangements should address any potential conflicts within or between commands, and ensure long-term development or operational needs are not undermined by short-term financial pressures; and
  • Conduct in-depth lessons-learned exercises on the Carrier Enabled Power Projection projects. The Department should ensure that it assesses the factors that lead projects to succeed or fail, including the root causes, and disseminate the lessons so that they are reflected in its management of other programmes. It should also look to disseminate lessons more widely across government.

Background to the report

Carrier Strike provides the ability to launch fixed-wing aircraft from a ship to undertake a range of military tasks. It is central to the government’s plans for the country’s armed forces and the first step towards Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP), which is the government’s ambition to be able to respond to conflicts and support humanitarian relief efforts anywhere in the world at short notice.

Carrier Strike will be based around two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers – the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy – together with Lightning II jets, which are being bought through the United States Department of Defense’s international programme. The Ministry of Defence (the Department) is also buying a new airborne radar system, Crowsnest, to help protect a carrier strike group. Depending on the type of deployment, the carriers will be accompanied by at least one destroyer, an anti‑submarine warfare frigate, and ships for support and resupply.

Content and scope of the report

According to the National Audit Office:

“Since 2011, we have reported four times on the Department’s progress on Carrier Strike. Our early reports covered the decisions about the type of carrier and jets that the Department bought. In 2017, we highlighted that the phase to 2020 would be crucial and there was little room for manoeuvre in the delivery schedule. In this report, we examine how the Department has managed the programme since 2017 and how it is addressing the risks towards achieving the full capabilities of a carrier strike group. We set out:

  • the background to Carrier Strike and what the Department has achieved since we last reported (Part One);
  • the Department’s progress in managing the elements of the programme that are still needed to provide the full Carrier Strike capabilities (Part Two); and
  • how the Department is addressing the challenges to achieving its ambitions for Carrier Strike (Part Three).

Our report focuses on the Department’s approach to addressing the risks to achieving the capabilities of Carrier Strike. We do not evaluate the military or wider capabilities that Carrier Strike will provide, or the plans for its operational use.”

You can read the report here.

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Mark B
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Mark B

This looks like teaching your Granny to suck eggs!

The last thing that should be allowed is military spending to be driven by bean counters (no offence).

Military spending should be driven by military planners. Clearly the cost must be affordable to the nation and inline with the country’s defence needs.

There will be overspends – that’s life. We must always be looking for more cost effective and better kit – sure. However if we need it we have to get it and the bean counters need to find the money not tell us how to spend it!

Reaper
Guest
Reaper

It should be driven by properly qualified and suitably independent project managers. Shit bust.

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

You want people capable of doing the job …. what a radical suggestion I don’t think that has ever been tried

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Mark B, That was pretty much the attitude of many senior decision makers in the MoD when I was an analyst (putting it very simply). Unfortunately, they then spent way too much time fiddling with the requirments – up shot, moving equipment specs leading to run away costs and project overruns. Throw in some political interference on top and you end up where we are today. Very Sad. The system should freeze the requirements and let the to supply chain get on with it. At that stage the MoD should focus on cost, time and quality against the frozen… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Yes. Once you move the goal posts you are going to struggle to score a penalty!

As you say is a disaster once any requirements start to change.

In terms of growth requirements. then it’s good that the F26 and F31(in particular) look to have some growth built in. And the carriers themselves look the same.

Looking at Warrior, that too is and can be upgraded. The F35 can I am guessing can have fresh weapons and computers and avionics….

Develop the right platform and it ought to have a good life

Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

I think the F35 procurement program is actually a very good example, through its planned in block upgrades. They knew that especially with the computing and software capabilities. The technology available in the late 90’s early naughties would not be able to deliver the end goals of the laid down requirements. So they released the basic package first, i.e. get the aircraft up in the air and ironing out the flight control laws. Block 2 increase the flight envelop and introduce some weapons capability. Block 3 replace the older computers with a newer version, enhance the flight envelop, more weapons… Read more »

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Hi CR

We need a whole new procurement process which incorporates space for the Government to say what it needs to achieve (not designing the product!) and competitive designs from design companies and potentially different companies building the product.

Reality tells us that the boundaries will always blur a little and sometimes we need different approaches but maybe a little common sense might resolve these difficulties.

Chances of this happening?

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Mark B, When I was in DERA (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) and then QinetiQ the whole idea was precisely that. MoD was trying to contract for ‘capability’. The best example of this that I can point to is when the Army bought the WAH-64 Apache. They needed a tank killer. Traditionally that meant another bigger, better, noisier tank, but in the 1990’s they chose a helicopter! Fantastic, finally real change! Wrong! Work continued to try and develop the concept but it all ran foul of cap badge politics, especially when the axe started to fall. Too many 2… Read more »

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

For my idiots eye view of Defence Spending the No1 priority is and always will be Defence of the Realm, this should be set in Stone as a Core Capability. The Second priority is how we interact with the the rest of the World. This will obviously be Dictated too by the Government of the day and its Foreign Policy, and will vary as to its costs and needs. Once the Carriers were ordered a statement of intent was made and the whole programme should have been financed leaving nothing to chance.

Paul C
Guest

Agree. The decision to go ahead with the carriers was the point of no return as they are the assets that the RN will be built around for at least the next 40 years. If the government of the day was not sure about the project then they should not have chosen to proceed. Having said that, was there a ‘Plan B’ if things did not work out with the QE class for whatever reason? Probably not. Also, the idea that defence can be directly tied to foreign policy is false. The latter is always changing and depends upon the… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

Our millitary should be given what they need to do the job properly and protect themselves and their platforms no matter the cost. What’s the point having Expensive half arsed procurement with limited self defence protection and limited offensive capability.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

I completely agree. The Tory monetarists who came in the 1970’s have succeded in emasculating our armed forces to this point where we don’t have enough ships to support our carriers. Dropping essential assets & systems when our likely foes are fully equipped seems like back-door treason to me. The agony is it looks like staying disfunctional for the foreseeable.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

70s,?? Labour were in power from 1974. I seem to recall Labour removing us from “East of Suez”.
It was Labour who scrapped the idea of a new “real” carrier.

Herodotus
Guest

Well, Labour bashing again. The reason we withdrew from east of Suez was the age old problem of not having any money. Both political parties have reduced our military assets, and I think that the Conservatives have had more much more of an impact on that in the C21st. I refer you to a letter I received from the Labour shadow defence secretary today! This Armed Forces Day, we celebrate the pride we share in Britain’s service men and women. They embody the values the British people admire most – courage, integrity, loyalty, discipline and service. We have seen this… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Good to know he supports motherhood and apple pie. So do I.

But it was the respondent who brought up conservative policy in the 70s when Labour were in power between 74 and 79. Why wern’t Labour supporting the government over Greenham Common a few years later when the Soviet Block were bringing in short range nuclear missiles to threaten us? Even a then unknown Tony Blair joined CND.

Herodotus
Guest

So did I….you don’t get it do you? Issues change and so do people. I suppose all your values have remained intact since started breathing air….though I doubt that!

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

I’m sorry but Labour needs bashing. Removing ourselves from East of Suez was idiocy. East of Suez was where the trouble was, the oil and much of our trade and finance which enriched the country. You can make the case it was the stupidest Strategic decision ever made based on Labour’s hate Britain First foreign engagement.

Herodotus
Guest

I was in the Middle East in the 70s…Britain’s influence was still a force to be reckoned with. I was also caught up in the Iranian revolution of 1979. I have loads of stories about the positive way that Britain was seen. I many ways, withdrawing from Empire was a very positive influence on the Arab sheikdoms. At home, the economy was an absolute mess…3 day weeks and social disorder along with ineffectual government…both Labour and Conservative. You can’t blame one party for the shit that we were in….how can you lay this at the door of Labour when Heath’s… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Nice words but just a hollow echo in the political sphere! There’s a few ex forces in both sides of the house, but not enough to influence any joined up thinking in regard to the military and Defence. Still nice letter to receive, however surprised he had time to sign a letter his PA penned by his PA, as the shadow cabinet will be getting ready for combat, once again, with each other and career comes before country!

Herodotus
Guest

Yes, I accept your cynicism…he would say that wouldn’t he. However the letter (email) was sent to members of the Labour party (I’m one) and not to the wider public. I will be putting forward my views.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Experienced views are important H and as a Labour Party member I hope more do the same! We need a decent, credible shadow cabinet to hold Government to account, always! And the more ex mil voice their opinion, their may be a tiny chance you get listened to. Defence and the Defence industry, while controversial in some areas, will be a major factor in our Covid recovery! Not to mention an estimated 4 million veterans, from all services and all ages, currently active in the UK. We could be a loud voice if we tried! The Armed Forces, corny as… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

A good post Airborne, whoever is in government, we need a credible opposition to scrutinise them.

The defence industry is massive, I’m not sure how you can make it more appealing to those who take the stance that they don’t want the country they live in to be involved with it at any level, that’s up to them but wars are going to happen with or without UK weapon sales, war is up there with death and taxes sadly.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Mate we are humans, peace is just a break in man’s normal state, ie war! Sad but true. Cheers.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

I think that’s something we can all agree on. If we stick to recent history, Tony Blair had no effective opposition, it was only when Michael Howard took control of the Conservative party, that a valid and effective opposition began slowly to counter Labour. Today we have the same thing in reverse, Labour has effectively collapsed and the Conservative Government has no real effective opposition. Mr Starmer can shout all he likes in the Commons, but he simply has too few seats to do anything, he’s just a toothless lame duck leader, for the next five years. I’m a Conservative… Read more »

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

And which foes are fully equipped? China can’t deploy a single 5th gen all aspect stealth fighter, on board a aircraft carrier, let alone send it to the far side of the world for 6 months. Russia has 1 carrier in bit’s rotting away in some miserable dock yard, and nothing new at all in the way of new carrier design or build. So let’s just appreciate what we have, and developing, and a little appreciation for how difficult is, making new aircraft carriers, and bringing them into service with new aircraft types. 🇬🇧

Cam
Guest
Cam

Shame the expensive carriers will only have last ditch defence, and limited ammo on them! we should add a second layer of defence like sea ram as it’s the cheapest option, But sea ram would give the ship lots more survivability.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

The best survivability is from the T45 destroyers and F35 and layered air defence from other RN vessels and coalition warships. if a carrier has to use its own weapons, then probably all is lost. id rather have 4 or 5 more F35’s on board then any number of defence missiles. And if the threat is that dangerous, then the carrier won’t be anywhere near it.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Type 45 only have 48 missiles! Two saturated atacks and they are gone! Phalanx has a couple thousand rounds so gone in a minute. Even the yanks Far smaller marine carriers are far better protected And most other navys too. All I’m saying is the carrier should have the ability to protect itself better if that need arises. They are number one target for a reason and will be atacked with everything going. I wonder what anti torpedo protection they have… the yanks carriers have anti torpedo torpedoes!

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Only 48! like that’s a small number. If the shit has it the fan that badly, that some Rogue nation is trying to sink our aircraft carrier, then we will have more then a couple of T45’s to protect it, all our F35’s and coalition fighters will already have been shot down for anything to get that close to truly threaten the carrier, all other vessels will have been lost, jesus, it’s not a computer game. How do you think modern warfare works? And if the RN really wanted missiles on the carrier before it sets sail for WW3, then… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Cam, the USN are removing their anti torpedo torpedoes. linked article provides details.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/26347/the-navy-is-ripping-out-underperforming-anti-torpedo-torpedoes-from-its-supercarriers

Cam
Guest
Cam

Do we have any hard kill anti torpedo weapons on our new ASW frigates ?

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

The Type 23 frigates have Sea Gnat and Siren Mk 251 active decoy fitted, and the surface ship torpedo defence (SSTD) system.
RN warships are fitted with systems most of the general public would not be aware
of!

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

Hi Robert. What I mean by fully equipped is that they don’t have FFBNW, all systems are present wheas many of our ships miss essential warfighting weaponry, so would be starting any fight seriously impeded. Their carriers also have better AA fit out(As does virtually everyone else). Having been a world leader for centuries in fleet building, today we make it seem like we’ve never built warships before, so slow & painful is the process & it usually costs us much more than necessary. “Developing” takes decades & much arrives very late. The PLAN now has a huge fleet of… Read more »

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

The thing is, we are never going to go to war with China on our own, it isn’t going to be the QE and a couple of T45’s against the intire Chinese navy. let alone, the monumental political fall out that would need to happen before we start sending the fleet East of Suez, because China certainly can’t deploy anything very threatening our way for an extended period. And our Ships are expensive, and take along time to develop, the Chinese are still copying Russia 1980’s designs. And the threat of anti ship missiles is massively over played. To even… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

Completely agree frank

Meirion X
Guest
Meirion X

The Tabloids exaggerate the issues of our Armed Forces!

Paul C
Guest

Labour has been at least as bad. 1966 review? 1975 review? What about the cuts fest which began with the 2003 White Paper and effectively destroyed the RN as a credible fighting force? Butchering the RN, in particular halving SSN and destroyer numbers and scrapping our only naval fighter 10 years early is pathetic when money was being thrown at everything else like confetti.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

Quite so. Yet it is the Tories who are holding the RN at it’s current nadir & starving it of the means to substantiate the deliberately misleading PR soundbites.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. 35 escorts, then 32, then 31, then 27, then 23. All on Labours watch. I can detail if one wishes.

For the RAF, 23 or 22 combat squadrons down to 12.

I used to post on a site called Defence Management.Com at that time. We had the same
moans then about that Labour government as this one.

They’re both useless and this sniping ignoring the role of the other should cease.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

I sometimes think we should tell the NAO to run the country themselves… e.g. seem to know everything.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

In a lot of ways the Civil Service IS running the country, they have to try and implement whatever policy (whether good or bad) the current government dictate. It would be interesting to hear what the top Civil Servants would do if they had free reign.

James
Guest
James

I’ve had enough. For years I’ve tried, but no. I’m out. I will no longer try to justify this white elephant, or excuse it. The real world: “Here’s something you want: it will cost you £100.” Morons in HMG: “Ah. But I don’t want to pay that much.” The real world: “Okay. Well here’s an alternative for £75. It’s a piece of crap and it will never work properly.” Morons in HMG: “WE’VE SAVED 25%!” What a spectacular waste of taxpayers’ money the carrier programme is proving to be. We should have gone all in with nuclear reactors, EMALS (part-funded… Read more »

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Somebody’s not having a good lockdown, ever single thing you just said is complete utter bollocks. Think you need to get the TOP GUN images out of your head.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

You would think that during the lockdown he would have made an effort to educate himself in the subject matter, don’t you think. Cheers.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

That is abit of a classic rant, 😆 even by ukdj standards 😄

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

HS2s role is to help the WCML which is at peak capacity.

The rest of your post, no comment, though I too would have been happy with F18s.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Why F18’s? they are still expensive, wouldn’t be built in the UK, at massive expense to our aerospace industry, and far less capable then the F35B. We will build 15% of ever single F35 that will be built, something close to 3000. Huge gains for our industry that we help with development for Tempest, and further development of Typhoon. F18 is a 70’s design near the end of it’s development cycle. it would be a massive step backwards.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

You miss my meaning mate. I’m happy with 35. My point was IF we had gone down that route in 2007 it was a step up from Invincible/ Sea Harrier.

As it is, we have these assets and I’m very proud of them.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Yes, back then it would have been a considerable step up. I really don’t get the British negative attitude at times, and this is nothing to do with anything you have said. We have two fantastic 5th generation aircraft carriers, a fleet of truly world beating 5th gen fighters entering service that will fly from these two wonderful ships, yes of course we all wish greater numbers of F35’s where being delivered, and quicker, and 4/5 more escorts would be very nice. But it is still a fantastic achievement to build, deliver, and develop this kind of capability to the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree Robert.

James
Guest
James

Yay! We bought an aircraft platform we part build! WE WON. Great. One problem: we still have a feeble carrier platform. No, two problems: and not enough ships to support her. No, three problems: and we can’t afford enough 35s yet because we skimped on the whole thing. Ask the Yanks to come on board with some of theirs, would you? Well done Robert. You PERFECTLY encapsulated the point of my pretend conversation in my original comment. Absolute genius. And are you seriously claiming that buying the F/A-18 would have been a step backwards from where we were after we… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Are you not getting out much or did you not quite attain the rank you thought you should? You need to learn to talk, post, respond and not froth! It’s amusing though I have to say.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

😄😆👍

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Ok James, that’s enough internet for you for today, you sound like a stroppy 15 year old with major snags. This armchair admiral spent 14 years in the Fleet Air Arm as part of Joint Force Harrier with Sea Harrier FA2’s and later Harrier GR7/9’s on- board all three Invincible class carrier’s, and operations in Afghanistan (2007) op Telic (Iraq 2003) and many other operations around the World. Cheers James.

James
Guest
James

You can relieve WCML without going high speed, which is a significantly bigger engineering challenge than standard rail.
And you missed my point about the working from home revolution. Companies are already binning office space. Can work from home? You will soon. It will be in your contract.

Herodotus
Guest

‘You can relieve WCML without going high speed, which is a significantly bigger engineering challenge than standard rail.’

If you are going to build a new railway why on earth would you build a slow one? That’s nearly as daft as building an aircraft carrier and then not acquiring enough aircraft to make it truly effective. Now no government would do that…would they? Shall we rebrand HS2 as LS2….building for the future eh!

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

There is an incremental cost increase upto 100MPH, after that speed it becomes more exponential as does the cost of maintenance.

However, although I believe in an HS2, no one ever explained why we did not electrify out of Marylebone up to Birmingham first to relieve the WCML.

Now, with BHM New Street and Curzon Street, you will lose connectivity.

Herodotus
Guest

High speed lines do cost more than standard lines. This is largely due to the ‘slab’ tracks as opposed to standard ballast tracks. The upside of this is that track maintenance is reduced overall….a significant cost factor! The electrification programme in this country is a shambles (what a surprise). Many European countries operate a rolling programme that is; electrifying X Km per year…year in year out. This is a much more sensible approach as it keeps a professional team together, provides stability in the industry and keeps costs down. Restoring the old Great Central out of Marylebone….should be a priority…though… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

What a rant, lots to challenge and educate but I will start with just one, which you can respond if you are able. Why have a nuclear powered carrier when it’s escorts, RFA etc ARE NOT, and they will still need regular refuelling by another RFA. Pointless to have a nuclear powered carrier when not one other escort, either NATO or ours, is also not nuc powered. Oh what’s a plane? That’s a carpenters tool isn’t it? And why are the French laughing? As the CDG spends more time in port than on ops. Please respond but try not to… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Happy to respond. Firstly, learn to spell. Since you think education is so important, it might be a good idea not to fill your posts with stupid schoolboy errors. Secondly, you think it’s only worth having a nuclear carrier if its escorts are nuclear? What? I mean … what? How many nuclear frigates and destroyers does the USN have? What you’ve done there is told me you’ve read the rather desperate “Sink the Royal Navy” article but kind of run away with it a bit, way beyond what they attempted to argue. Talk about stupid. Thirdly, “plane” is a universally-accepted… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

And your reply is as immature as your initial post. As I advised make an effort to research the subject matter before getting excited, frothing at the mouth and becoming a spelling Nazi. It’s amusing as you attempt to post in a patronizing way but make yourself look rather silly. Never mind eh, you know more than the RN. I will let them know you need to take a seat next to CDS.

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Nuclear Carriers still needs tankers and support ships. who do you think carry’s all the aviation fuel, and food and stores. Carriers can only carry a max of 3-4 weeks worth of aviation fuel and food before they need re-supplying. Same for the escorts.

Lordtemplar
Guest
Lordtemplar

FYI resupplying a 8,000 ton frigate is not the same as a 70,000 ton carrier. That is why the US and France operate nuclear carriers!
Furthermore the RFA Victoria is the only support fleet vessel that can replenish a carrier, and it is due to go into extensive maintenance in 2022. The bid to build new logistic ships is chaotic and basically on hold, at best we are looking at 2030s before there are new logistics vessels.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

FYI that is quite obvious, but if you have x 3 escorts, with an RFA, all will need resup and that is an onerous task, each asset requiring a number of hours, and taking that asset pretty much off station. My comment was that why have a nuc carrier, if you don’t have cats/traps, as I believe that is one of the main reasons, so the nuc can crested constant steam. And I was challenging James rather childish, aggressive post! We have 2 carriers, each being able to create more sorties, per airframe than any other! We have them, it’s… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Crested? Bloody hell should say create!

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Lord, just re-read my reply to you, it may come across a bit grumpy, wasnt the intention, was doing a number of things at once 👍

Robert Blay
Guest
Robert Blay

Nuclear carrier’s still require support ships for aviation fuel and food and stores, as they can only carry a months worth max. And they always keep the tanks topped up incase of a urgent redeployment. So still need support and RAS. Nuclear also seriously limits the amount of foreign ports the vessel is allowed to dock in.

Lordtemplar
Guest
Lordtemplar

Yes nuke carriers need resupply for aviation fuel, food, and ammo, but you need a lot less aviation fuel than you need fuel for the ship. This means you resupply less often. The resupply takes time to do and means no flight ops therfore in a more vulnerable position. In times of peace this has no real impact but during a conflict it sure does. Carriers don’t have a need to dock in foreign ports, that is not their purpose. Anyhow in which countries would you actually consider docking the crown jewel of the navy? When it is docked it… Read more »

RobW
Guest
RobW

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/cats-traps-and-claptrap-why-the-royal-navys-new-aircraft-carriers-operate-vstol-aircraft/

A balanced article explaining the F35C vs F35B, plus EMALS decisions. All things considered it seems we made the right choice for the UK given our budget and operational requirements.

Paul C
Guest

Not directly related I know but check out the DT article today on the Future Commando Force. It is suggesting there will be 2 ‘Littoral Response Groups’, one based east of Suez and the other on NATO’s northern flank. Bay class ships will be used, no beached landings and no mention of the LPDs or LSS. It looks like big changes may be on the way and the LPDs probably on the way out.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Won’t allow me to access it, but I get the jist.
Other articles on Twitter suggest LSS still around.

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

New badge, RN Insignia, and…

”Colonel Totten held out the prospect of legacy platforms being retired to enable new capabilities to be brought in.”

Furthermore, RM would number in the low hundreds with one Cdo East of Suez and the second one re-inforcing the NATO northern flank and operating in the… Med!

So, cut platforms and lower personnel numbers so we can deploy 200 Royal!

It’s crazy.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Barry. Yes, I’d gleaned that from Twitter. ”Colonel Totten held out the prospect of legacy platforms being retired to enable new capabilities to be brought in.” That’s just a standard issue response. They cannot yet be put on the spot as to yes this is going and that is retained. “Furthermore, RM would number in the low hundreds with one Cdo East of Suez and the second one re-inforcing the NATO northern flank and operating in the… Med!” I don’t believe that myself. I see that as the number deployed, not what remains. One can hardly have a complete… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’d also add the corps of RM provide a disproportionately high number of men for UKSF. Cutting them that far is insane. So I think it will work out somewhat less cutting, with possibly the LPD’s gone, and 2 LSS type vessels bought instead.

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

I’m sure your idea of roulement is sound, but, just as you make mention of the other Cdo they are not Bn strength and therefore if you are rotating through 200 blokes, including supporting arms, then you can afford to slim down the PIDs – now wil they do so? If they do, will they transfer headcount to the RN to enable an increase in manpower?

Time to start buying popcorn 😉

David

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

All this Tory bashing, Labour bashing, and who did this and who’s worse.

Both sides have made big cuts, for any Labour defenders here I will happily list the cuts between 1997 and 2009. They make your eyes water.

Both have been bloody awful since the Cold War ended.

Paul C
Guest

Completely true. I think Blair/Brown are let off lightly because they they did not have a full ‘high-profile’ defence review after 1998 and chose to make stealth cuts in dribs and drabs instead. People did not really know what was going on and Blair/Brown wanted it to stay that way. Ironic that everyone remembers the SDSR 2010 cuts but the 2003 White Paper is not even on the radar.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yes, the “New Chapter” of the SDSR as they called it. I thought it was 2004, not 2003. 3 T23 gone, only 8 T45 to be ordered, and SSN cut., amongst other cuts. The 45s were then reduced further to 6, which gave us the 23 escorts we were left with. The Army only survived the those years up to 2010 due to Iraq/Afghanistan. Even then it lost artillery, tanks, and other armour in the “Future Army Structures” cuts, which included cutting Challenger tanks in the UK based regiments of 3 Division and replacing them with ” Medium Armoured Squadrons”… Read more »

Paul C
Guest

Yes, the Army came off best thanks to Iraq/Afghaistan and the RN came off worst. Some of the cuts occurred with very little notice I seem to remember, indicating desperation within the MoD to save money quickly.

I think several minor war vessels were axed in this way and of course Invincible was also decommissioned early in 2005. This caused a lot of resentment at the time, particlarly as she was recently out of refit and not due to be retired until 2012.

But of course the miserable saga continued under Cameron/Osborne who knew no better than their predecessors.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

That’s the problem. The Tories are the party of defence… only as long as they are in opposition!

It annoys me there is not a single party that gives a toss about defence, beyond lip service. All we get is the same old chestnut about meeting NATO 2% minimum.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

There seems to be a general lack of interest in the military at the moment and politicians do like to be seen to ‘listen’ to the people…. If they can be seen to be spending more money on what ‘the people’ want then its more brownie points for them. Its crap but I think its where we are, can’t see it getting any better in the short term with the covid debt either.

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

Interesting they mention “out of service dates”. I wonder if that means Merlin, T23 or supply ships?

RobW
Guest
RobW

All 3 isn’t it? All the Merlins can’t be at their OSD in just 10 years though. Many of them have only recently undergone major updates.

I fear for the next spending review, the Albions are being lined up it seems. All this talk of LSS may also turn out to be a cut, utilising the Bays rather than new hulls. We shall see I guess.

Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

The Merlin’s (Naval Variant) OSD is penciled in for 2030, but I fully expect it to be extended.

RobW
Guest
RobW

So at best we get 9 years of Crowsnest on the Merlin. As you say, their OSD will be extended for sure. Best hope for future COD requirements would be unmanned systems.

Paul C
Guest

My guess is Albions axed, LSS will not happen and we are left with the Bays for the next decade or so. Probably replaced by some form of MRSS in the early 2030s but no more amphibious ships under the white ensign.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I would say one of the biggest risks to the carrier strike group is the announcement by the MOD that they will not be upgrading all the existing f35 to batch4 level, which means that a percentage of our jets will not be able to fire most of our missiles/bombs and therefore will have limited combat effectiveness.

Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

I don’t think you should take that statement at face value. We have what 18 F35s in total now. The ones in the US should be classed as development models. These may have structural and configuration differences to the latest ones we have and in all likelihood, much like the Tranche 1 Typhoons will cost too much to modify. The remaining F35Bs we have which are at the Block 3 standard, so they are nearly there, but can’t use Spear 3 or Meteor until the Block 4 software is released.