HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister are symbols of national power due to their ability to project power and capability all over the world.

This article is concerned with the cultural and symbolic significance of aircraft carriers in the early 21st century, and in particular HMS Queen Elizabeth. The might and innovation of the Royal Navy are symbolised in its technological and strategic assets. For years, the Royal Navy has punched above its weight while, relatively speak, British power has declined.

However, the creation of this supercarrier has rejuvenated the image of Britain as a Great Power, with global military reach. The UK already has the fifth largest military spending in the world, and this symbolism is seen in the supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The ships former commanding officer, Captain Simon Petitt, pointed out that there is a lot of symbolism in modern warfare and that having a ship the size of HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will be the navy’s biggest ever, was significant. The sight of a heavily equipped 70,000 tonne carrier, which is almost 300 metres long, heading towards a potential enemy had a deterrent effect that is essential if the UK wants to project influence across the world Petitt claims.

“It is massively visible, you can range back in history and see the value of this. Everything from Nelson deterring Admiral Villeneuve from leaving Cadiz all the way to the big battleships of early 20th century, to what we are doing now. The Americans use it all the time. We currently haven’t got this level of carrier capability. The bigger the capability the more influence you have to bear.”

So great is the impact of larger vessels as a deterrent, they’re often used as a geopolitical chess piece. American governments have, since the second world war, moved aircraft carriers around to demonstrate American resolve.

Increasingly international relations is being governed by the power and capabilities of navies worldwide. With the rise of China, as a revisionist power in the Asia-Pacific, European Powers, such as the United Kingdom have to show they can play a vital role with cutting-edge technologies. While the Dreadnought at the beginning of the 20th century embodied naval power, it was not until the Second World War, that the aircraft carrier became the symbol of power.

As such, aircraft carriers symbolise a nation’s power. It shows its ability to project its power and is an icon of power in this new technological age. During the Second World War, the United States proved that the aircraft carrier was the most important warship of all. Maritime doctrine during the Cold War was based on aircraft carriers and also submarine warfare. In the Post – Cold War world, we are witnessing the emergence of other nations such as Japan, China, and India investing in aircraft carrier capabilities, while other nations like France, Britain and the United States, have invested money in retaining and advancing their capabilities. This is significant as all these nations place a premium on aircraft carriers.

A modern aircraft carrier can carry a large amount of fuel and weapons anywhere in the world. It can be used for air support, destruction of enemy air defences and destruction of enemy ships. It flies the flag of the nation and is a formidable warship to be contended with. As such, it is a symbol of a Great Power and defines how a country views a nation which possesses such vessels. Let us discuss international relations and how an aircraft carrier can help bring about credibility to a nation.

For a nation to deploy an aircraft carrier, it is a show of strength to other nations. It shows the ability of a nation, and its ability to project power and capability at a moment’s notice. The display of sophisticated weaponry, aircraft, and the sheer size of the vessel is symbolic of power and capability.

To put it simply, a nation’s possession of a properly fitted out aircraft carrier helps cement its status as a great power.

The cost of aircraft carriers run into the billions and this is no exception for the Royal Navy. However, while in past Britain has based its power upon its smaller carriers such as the Invincible class, this new ship has a full flight deck with a lifespan of 50 years. While mini-carriers and amphibious landing craft can take on some of the roles of an aircraft carrier, the new HMS Queen Elizabeth symbolises the military might of Great Britain and its technological capabilities to other nations overseas. Its sheer and imposing size is to be marvelled at in relation to other Royal Navy aircraft carriers in the past.

In conclusion, for a nation to spend billions on a supercarrier demonstrates resolve and its conception of itself as a major power in the world, able to create a technologically sophisticated warship which has a formidable power projection capabilities. Its power and significance in international relations should not be under-estimated when regarding the rise of other powers such as China.

The UK is a global power and has reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.

181 COMMENTS

    • Total waste of the tiny amount of money the UK has. Why does such a small wee insignificant nation insist on pretending that it’s a great power. Get a grip UK, when will you realise you are infact Belgium, nay less than Belgium, possibly Malta if your lucky.

      • (Chris H) Jonathan – why do you keep producing different profiles to peddle your stupidity? If you are pretending to be someone else stop using your giveaway use of the word ‘wee’. We know your’re an SNP Troll looking for a row but we don’t care!

        But just think Jock when you bow down to that screeching, whingeing Haradon Sturgeon and become independent you will be a zero sum game. Nothing. And will inherit two OPVs for your Navy to patrol the Caledonian Canal ….

      • Hilarious! GDP bigger than Russia, second most powerful intelligence gathering agency, tech/pharma/aviation/military/financial leader. Do I need to go on????

        • Worldwide cultural links. Language spoken worldwide. Political and Diplomatic clout. Commonwealth.
          G8. P5 member. Nuclear power.

          This country is somebody. Extreme leftists are so offended by that.

          I’m not. I’m proud!

          • Well said Daniele and I’m a proud Welsh man who is proud to be British. Here we have the idiotic Plaid Cymru who believe Wales would be a better nation if we were Independent. We wouldn’t be and we would be a very poor nation in Europe. I just don’t know where these people come from. Wherever they come from I wish they would crawl back there and stay there.

      • Note to all: I was taking the piss out of Peder and TH, Julian gave the perfect opportunity….. I’m not sure I could have packed in more irony if I had tried, well I could have.

      • how can that kind of question be worth the stupid headlin?, the simple fsact is, no aircraft? its just a big boat.

        • 15 F35-B already, 2 squadrons by 2023. Plus helicopters are aircraft, rotary wing aircraft, and there’s Merlins available and the QE is already flight tested for them along with Chinooks.

        • Andy Reeves. Please! It. Is. Working. Up. It. Cannot. Have. Its. Compliment. Immediately.
          This. Is. Normal.

      • “small wee insignificant nation”? As an American I find that judgement absurd. The most commonly spoken language in the world came from the UK. One of your subjects, James Clerk Maxwell, helped create our modern civilization with his 4 equations. One of your subjects, Winston Churchill, kept Hitler from dominating half the world. You sailed 8000 miles to liberate the Falklands from a military force three times the size of your invading force. While the UK is not a superpower, you should be proud of your past, present, and no doubt future accomplishments, provided Corbyn doesn’t end up Prime Minister.

      • Are you for real? We’re an Island Nation…Go back under the rock you crawled from you total Dickfart of person. Am Scottish and proud of part I played in her and her sister ships construction at Rosyth. So glad we’re a Blue-Water Navy again. PS I vote SNP….👍

    • You’re so right Julian. Was thinking that myself reading the article.

      Sure enough looks like a Peder type or Peder itself surfaces….

      Amazing how so many have a chip on their shoulder about Great Britain being somebody on the world stage.

      And the UK is. AND THEY KNOW IT too.

      No idea when this will appear my posts are getting constantly moderated today for some reason??

    • The gist of this article seems to hark back to the 19th century, with its fond references to power projection of the UK around the world ! Times have moved on.

      • Does the French Navy have no issues with crew numbers? A Nimitz Class is very crew intensive, basic complement of 3,200 vs 1,350 for CdG. Also, it’s such a complex beast with French joint training only scratching the surface such that I could imagine the work up to get it operational under French command taking years. I just can’t see it happening.

        • Good points all (Sorry – I know I’m a newbie – I’ve never posted nor trolled here – despicable stuff – well versed on this subject matter though.) However, If La Royal needs a reliable carrier with all the trimmings (despite her age Nimitz is very up to date in most areas) and can crew at 2/3’s USN complement, what more proven ship class can they ask for? CDG has been a maintenance nightmare and – really – all the bugs have been worked out of first of class Nimitz? I think with
          continuance of this training exchange the French would be very comfortable operating Nimitz for another – 20 ? – years. Just a rumor I heard at a gathering late last year though – my credence to any part of this would be low…

          Cheers!

          • The problem with the Charles de Gaulle is that there is only one CdG! This perfectly highlights why you need more than one carrier. It’s next to impossible to maintain currency for both the ships crew and aircrew whilst the ship is undergoing maintenance. It’s impossible to maintain the ship if its constantly required to go on Ops or train crew. This is why they asked for help from the USN.
            The French should have staid the coarse and be part of the QE program. Having two Nations ordering the same ship may have altered the final design to a CATOBAR ship who knows? Would the French buy in to F35 when the wouldn’t have a say over development? So we are where we are and the French have no fixed wing aircraft that can be used on the QE ships, so joint carrier collaboration is worthless.
            Unfortunately, France’s past and recent history has shown they cannot be trusted to be a long term partner – Perfidious Britain, I think they take a good long look in the mirror!

        • (Chris H) Will – You make a comment with no foundation in fact and something that is trotted out like some mantra on Social media.
          Please provide ONE advantage that a nuclear power plant has over Gas Turbine / Diesels? While you are pondering that let me make the opposing view:
          * In 1998 the US Congress provided a report on the comparative costs of Nuclear vs Conventional powered carriers. The bottom line was that nuclear costs some $8 Bn EACH more than conventional over its service life. This includes build, refuel and decommission. In today’s money that is some $12 Bn. for which we could built 2 QEs and change!

          https://www.gao.gov/archive/1998/ns98001.pdf

          * Any speed advantage of a nuclear powered carrier is pointless when it can only travel at the speed of the slowest ship in the Carrier Group.

          * It is a total myth that it never needs refuelling. The reactor needs it every 20 years and costs $ Bns But its aircraft, weapons and crew need re-supply by RAS and of course all accompanying ships need refuelling by RAS.

          * Why pay for a hugely expensive fuel system that will sit idle for some 50% of a carrier’s life in port / refit / maintenance? Diesel just gets switched off

          * Nuclear powered ships are limited to where they can go. Not everyone ‘likes’ nuclear’.

          * the UK decided in the ’60s there was no strategic or tactical advantage to nuclear powered surface ships and all resources should be focused on submarine assets.

          The costs of military hardware are critical in the UK. We built TWO carriers for some $10 Bn. while the Americans spent $16 Bn building ONE. And we built and launched two in a similar timeframe.

          Ask any Admiral going to war if he would want one very capable carrier or three slightly less capable carriers and he will take the three because they can deliver twice as many aircraft in total and be spread over a wider area reducing risk of attack. Lose one big carrier its a 100% loss of assets. Lose a QE type (for example) and it would be a 33% loss of assets.

          So what advantage does nuclear have?

          • In a warfighting sense it has a massive advantage, because when people say it doesn’t need refuelling they are quite right, we are not talking about a mid-life refuel, the QEC needs refuelled every 10k miles, if we were at war not having to refuel would be a massive advantage.

            They’re pros and cons with both like anything really. But nuclear does have some advantages.

        • Decommissioning is a nightmare though, especially in this country. The biggest costs for nuclear power are the disposal costs.

  1. Since Midway the US navy has used carriers as an effective deterrent on many occasions, and followed up threats with considerable force. What the QE Class will do for Britain; is to demonstrate our military capability in order to reassure those who live in fear. The carriers also double underline any trade deals with a visible and tangible defence commitment, something that has played a significant part in our history.

  2. (Chris H) well no hater here ….
    But I found something that is quite relevant to the QE development (and its associated ‘impacts’) and thought I would share it. Its about SRVL (Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing) but its in an odd format and I am in the process of reprocessing (with full credit to the original) into a Word Document. Maybe the site would like to run it as an article because its quite an astounding and unheard story.

    Did anyone else know:

    The ‘Bedford Array’ that makes deck landings in varying sea states safer was invented by a Harrier pilot?

    The US Navy are now looking very closely at SRVL approach algorithms and ‘Bedfords’ for F-35C Arrested landings on carriers?

    That QinetiQ was instrumental in the JSF ‘Unified Flight Control’ and developed it further for its autoland technology?

    The oldest flying Harrier (XW175) was the test mule for SRVL in 2005 on Invincible?

    Or that it operated off the Charles de Gaulle carrier in 2007 to test SRVL on large deck carriers in 2007?

    And that it was instrumental in the first ‘Bedford Array tests in 2008?

    https://www.scribd.com/document/345701916/F-35B-CVF-SRVL-Shipborne-Rolling-Vertical-Landing-Information-as-at-19-April-2017-pp155

    • Yes. I recall a Harrier in Raspberry ripple scheme at Boscombe doing tests connected to future JSF. I didn’t know about this Bedford malarkey.

  3. And I don’t think an issue is going to be that we can’t provide our own escorts. For political and training-with-your-allies reasons I suspect we will have at least one non-RN escort in the CBG on many or even most deployments but with 6 x T45 and 8 x ASW frigates (T26s in the not too distant future) we should be able to maintain availability rates such that at least 2 of each are available at any given time. 2 of the best AAW in the world plus what should be 2 of the best ASW frigates in the world plus one very big and impressive Tide Class tanker plus, if we ever get MARS SSS rolling, hopefully an equally impressive SSS (although the existing RFA support vessels are perfectly credible) plus the best SSN in the world hopefully lurking under the waves somewhere. All in all that is a very impressive CBG by anyone’s standards.

    OK, being a bit pessimistic, that does leave the cupboard a bit bare for other tasks but I hope that issue can be tackled if we could maximise T45 & T26 availability, make T31 credible, maybe do something innovative when we do the next generation MCM project to make those mother vessels more flexible, and introduce maritime drone technology to enhance the utility of the River B2s, the Bays and the survey vessels and probably other vessels too.

    • In not so sure, I think our escort fleet needs a significant uplift to really support the queen Elizabeths. At present we are like to be able to generate 6 escorts for deployments, even if we look at 3 escorts for the carriers + NATO allies that only leaves 3 escorts for other deployments which even with an OPV or two is way below what we need to be able to generate to keep our commitments.

      We really need to be able to generate an extra 2 escort deployments to support the carriers and standing commitments. That’s 5 more escorts than the RN has now, up from 19 to 24.

      The problem is manpower, the RN struggles even now, so to regenerate to 24 it would need to build up a number of training piplines and increase the total RN manpower to somewhere close to 33,000, but balancing the trades,skills and seniority as it goes.

      There are a few years grace before the 26s and 31s get commissioned so if the work was done now we could start build up the establishment to support a steady increase in escort numbers in the next decade, maybe slipping the decommissioning of each 23 by a couple of years as well.

    • Agree with all of this.

      The RN can no longer be everywhere at once with its best assets but does not need to be. Let the lower end ships do those roles and concentrate on –

      1/ CBG
      2/ Amphibious Group / RM
      3/ Deterrent.
      4/ RFA supporting 1 and 2.

    • It is highly likely that on deployment she would sail with escorts from allied nations. The Americans make use of foreign escorts all the time for their carriers e.g. USS George W. Bush sailing with HMS Iron Duke, HMS Westminster and HNoMS Helge Ingstad for Saxon Warrior 2017. When QE deploys to the South Pacific in 2020 I wouldn’t be surprised if she had American and Australian escorts seeing as its in the back hard so to speak in addition to USMC F35’s.

      • I could easily see her strike groups as 1x Type 45, 2x Type 23, 1x Astute/Trafalgar, 1x Tide, 1x Arleigh Burke/Ticonderoga and 1x Anzac which to me is very potent indeed.

        • Yes I think the group will be multinational in natural, and I don’t worry about the RNs ability to generate escorts to support the carrier, we can very easily generate a task group with only one peer (two if the French have a lucky year) . I worry that the RN will struggle to then generate the escorts needed for other deployments, that’s why I would love to see the escorts up to 24 giving a reasonable chance of 8 escorts on deployment at any time. We would not then be at risk of have to send the OPVs off on unsuitable or uncomfortable deployments, who would want to cross the Atlantic in a 90metre anything (ok yes you get some people who actually enjoy doing it in smaller vessels, but they are all a bit nuts).

          Playing fantasy fleets I would vote for a party (that had other sensible policies as well) that advocated an escort fleet of:

          6 high end AAW destroyers (type 45s)
          9 high end ASW/GP frigates with tails ( type 26s)
          9 GP Frigates (type 31s) this predicates on the 31s actually being a credible frigate.

          Think we also need to ensure the nuclear boat fleet is increased as well 9 is good 12 would be great (but a real fantasy).

          • I think you might get your wish Jonathan, maybe as many as thirty (or close) “escorts” if you count the River 2 type. I count 6 x 45; 8 x 26 and 8-10 x 31. Going underwater I think the SSN’s will stop at 7 but what do (anybody) think about 4 or 5 SSK’s, Maybe joining in with the 212 CD programme ?

          • Hi Geoff

            I think you are right in regards to the SSNs numbers which is a shame as effectively we are saying our nuc boats will be covering the carrier and deterrant and nothing else. I’m not sure if SSKs are the answer, they are to strategically limited re mobility for a true blue water navy and what they bring to a blue water navy is limited. I could see a use in regards to the North Sea and supporting the Baltic states in regards to area denial or preventing area denial etc but in my view that’s what we should be asking the other brown/green water navy’s in Europe to take on ( looking at Germany), while we manage the Atlantic.

            If Russia continues on it path to conflict and the rest of Europe remains unwilling to defend itself at that point we could look at regenerating electric boats, but regenerating would require significant investment in a whole new infrastructure and training pathways and it may be better just to increase the capability that we have with a couple more nuclear boats.

            The argument for and against always seems a bit close, I just run to the line that we need more nuclear submarines, 9 would allow us to credibly say that, yes we know the carriers is at the arse end of the Pacific at the moment but we may or may not have a nuclear submarine loaded with tomahawks looking at your coastline right now…..

            The lesson from the Falklands is if it’s credible that a nuc boat is there ( and they can travel 2000 miles in days, without endurance issues) you can turn around and say “it’s ours, if you come near it we will sink you”……..that’s more difficult with an SSK (they just don’t have the speed with endurance to get there).

          • Ideally with a separate Expeditionary Strike Capability led by Ocean and one of the Albions – regrettably, no longer possible

      • I suspect the RN is going to have to beat off with sticks third party nations in Asia that would like to exercise with our carriers. Folks here often pick the usual suspects such as the US and Australia as third party countries for a carrier group but how about the Republics of Korea and Singapore, not to mention Japan, all of whom have very capable frigates in significant numbers and would probably welcome the political signal such a group sends to others in the region.

    • Extra escorts (and manning) may well come from what happens with the MCM replacements, which the National Shipbuilding Plan has scheduled for ~2030, the decision on what to replace them with being taken around 2020. Which follows on quite nicely from the Type 31e program.

      With MCM increasingly based on remote vehicles, the MCM function may well become solely ISO container mission module based, with specialist personnel deployed with the modules. This scenario then uses conventional instead of fiberglass hulls and enables a far more flexible ship capability, potentially based on Type 31e, OPV, a mix of both or a close derivative of either.

      The decision timing for the MCM replacement is such that the cost and capabilities of Type 31e will be known and its suitability (as a much more capable replacement) able to be assessed. The BMT Venari proposal, which this is similar to, outlines the channel/area standoff concepts, although it specifically argues for a dedicated vessel. It includes a flight deck for Wildcat and suggests an anti-submarine role too. I’d also include Sea Ceptor point defense as necessary in today’s/tomorrow’s world. BMT Venari info here http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/bmt-design-portfolio/warships/bmt-venari-85/

      If you look at manning, then Hunt and Sandown MCM vessels have 34-45 crew, compared to base 36 crew in OPV batch 2, so nominally 1-for-1. If Type31e is used in whole or in part then base manning would likely be at least double but not insurmountable with reasonable recruitment planning.

      • I just checked the National Shipbuilding Strategy and recommendation 29, which was accepted, states “To address future affordability challenges, the Ministry of Defence should consider … minesweeping through using frigate or offshore patrol vessel platforms to host capabilities, including unmanned vehicles, rather than procuring bespoke ships.” so it seems Type 31e and/or OPV Batch 2 will be used for MCM. Since it seems there is general agreement that the frigate fleet needs to increase this suggests at least some of the current MCMV will be replaced with Type 31e.

  4. We do not need to delay withdrawal of type 23 frigates. They are tired and worn out. Just get type 31 and type 26 frigates into service with a bit of urgency. We have 5 years until first type 23 leaves service. If we uplift RN manpower by 2000-3000 we could get all 5 initial type 31s and 1-2 type 26s into service before 2023 and thus frigate numbers could be 20+ then for every frigate leaving service replace with a new type 31 or type 26. Simple. Just takes a bit of determination and less of a lethargic build rate by industry and contracting by MOD.
    Come on…we can do better than this as a nation.
    26-30 escort warships are what we need.

    • In reality 5 type 31s by 2023 is a bit of a stretch seeing as the contract hasnt even been awarded yet. More realistically i see delivery of 1 per year starting in 2023/24. Only god knows about rate of t26s.

    • We have the God given ability to design some of the very best military equipment in the world today, but never seem to be able to deliver it on time, or in some cases not at all.

      That’s Governments for you. No budget, whilst at the same time handing out billions of pounds to everyone else in need!

    • You want to force Type 26 and 31 into service with urgency? Government is absolutely inept at running anything, if the project is forced along then big mistakes will be made

  5. Our CVW will be second only the United States.

    Even then I suspect there will be elements within it where we lead – Astute, T-45, all Stealth strike aircraft, T-23s (Later T-26s), Tides.

    The best value add from the US would be the inclusion of a Arleigh Burke which does fill some gaps.

    With or without a AB it’s impressive.

    • I accept that AB is an excellent all-rounder but in the context of having a T45 around to do the AAW better than an AB can and, fairly soon I hope, a T26 around to do ASW better than an AB can, I am interested to know what gap an AB fills. ABM? Something else?

      For clarity, I’m not looking to score points, it’s a genuine question because I don’t know and hope to learn from your answer.

      • The Arleigh Burke has a fair few things going for it. A. 96 vls cells instead of 48. B. The ability to launch tomahawk (type 45 could do this is fitted with mk41 or sylver a70). C. BMD using RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (again type 45 could do this in the future). D. There’s bloody loads of them instead if a criminal 6. However type 45 is a better aaw ship but ab does fill out some nice gaps welcome in a carier strike group.

        • Thanks Chris. I was trying to imagine the scenario where are frigate escorts would have transitioned to T26 so those would give the RN it’s own Mk41 strike length launchers without needing T45 upgrade although, as you point out, an AB packs a whole lot more and we know the Americans have useful missiles such as Tomahawk and SM3 to put in them. What the RN will get to put in their T26 Mk41s is very much an open (and crucial) question right now.

          Certainly until we get T26 into service with a sensible missile selection I can see that AB adds a lot to a carrier group but once T26+missiles happens then maybe less so apart from its sheer number of Mk41-launched missiles. It’s sobering to think that a single AB has as many Mk41 as will be in 4 RN T26! Thank goodness the rumours a while back that T26 Mk41 silo had been cut to 16 didn’t become reality, if that had happened a single AB would have had as many Mk41 as 6 RN T26! Despite the twinges of envy I can’t help admiring these situations where the Americans don’t do things by halves and go large on this sort of stuff.

          • I would like the RN to buy LRASM and ASROC for type 26 to give it anti ship capability and anti submarine capability beyond that of an embarked helicopter. Tomahawk would be nice but in my eyes by that necessary since we have subs to do that and it would put even further strain on budgets. Some longer range anti air missile would also be nice to complement sea ceptor but again not necessary due to limited space.

      • Julian,

        Whilst you are probably right about T45/T26 being better at individual tasks I think therein lies the problem for me. They are separate platforms that necessitate us deploying 2 assets to cover what the USN can do with 1. Add in the other “stuff” the AB’s can do and I have to say I am a big (massive) fan of them.

        T26 with Sampson would be more than capable replacement for the T45 fleet and I am sure a big part of our “expertise” with the T23/45s is down to our personnel as often our equipment isn’t particularly first rate, when compared to our american cousins.

        Seaceptor is a game changer for us and if we did decide to go for a T26 to be more of an all rounder with the T31 (reduced size T26 or replatformed T23) taking on dedicated ASW role I would be delighted.

        I am very bullish on T26 (or GCS as we should call it) and the T31 (could be a GMS for export purposes) could get us to a 2 hull escort fleet over time, with older T31’s taking on the OPV roles with lean manning.

        We are great at innovating and I suspect the T26 and T31 are both going to be amazing vessels.

  6. I think there’s a bit of post imperial, delusion creeping in here. Anyone read the overseas media since the alleged Salisbury poisoning incident? The UK is a laughing stock and no amount of big ships will alter that perception. Not everyone is impressed by the very thin, hollowed out veneer that is the Royal Navy!

    • TH did you actual type alleged poisoning incident……… Get a grip man…. 3 people almost died, each of them will undoubtably carry disabling effects for the rest of their lives.

      Show a bit of respect for their suffering and don’t be an A hole.

    • (Chris H) I am sure I replied to this post before …..
      TH – So what ‘overseas media’ would that be Sweetcheeks? Pravda?
      Some of us don’t give the ‘media’ (home or abroad) too much attention. But what I DID pay attention to was the support Theresa May (she is our Prime Minister by the way) got from the other 27 EU nations and in the middle of Brexit talks as well. And of course the huge support from other UN nations mainly the USA. With hundreds of Russian ‘diplomats’ expelled. The Russians have taken a huge diplomatic international beating and it was led by the UK.

      So when and where it counts we still have the diplomatic and more importantly the ‘Soft Power’ clout and the Royal Navy is equally respected. Ask the US Navy which is still copying our innovations and ideas ….

    • Overseas media running meaning RT right? Everyone else is on our side, bar the odd opinion piece; hence the mass expulsion of diplomats

    • OK. I wasn’t sure but I think TH has just tipped his hand here as a Russian. Alleged poisoning? The U.K. a laughing stock when so many other countries have rallied round with far more solidarity with the U.K. than most expected as expressed by their own very assertive retaliations against Russia?

      Keep reading those morning briefings from your Russian overlords about what nonsense you are tasked with spouting today in order to earn your pitiful salary. Someone is a laughing stock right now and it’s not the U.K.

    • This is the thing.

      The likes of TH and Peder have “Imperial” and “Empire” on the brain.

      They are obsessed with it and it slips in all the time into their diatribe.

      Neither have anything to do with it. This country can be a P5 and G8 member, and one of the worlds biggest economies, quite happily without Empire or Imperial. Japan is. Germany is. Italy is.

      For some reason the UK is not allowed, in their brain at least.

      Strange strange people to be so against their nation being somebody.

      I wonder if they live in a nice house or a cardboard box. If they follow their warped logic it would be the latter, by choice.

      • (Chris H) Danielle – Again so eloquently put. And to these rather sad, small minded people you just have to add the (happily reducing) number of Remainer trolls who hold the same negative views of our great nation and wish it subsumed by a foreign power over which we have no control and for which we are forced to pay £ Bns every year. In Defence terms we give the EU enough money to build 4 QE carriers EVERY YEAR!

        And those of us who do hold our country dear and value our achievements are called ‘xenophobes’ and ‘racists’ for our troubles ….

        • Your last sentence Chris sums up PC totally.
          I will never apologise for my nation, my culture, my nations history, and the pride, patriotism, and prestige I hold for it.

          Our armed forces, with their proud history so linked with our nation’s history, sit at the fore for me, and haters from the extreme left leave me shaking my head in disbelief at just where it went wrong for them.

          • I have on occasion apologised (in my head) to the world for Eastenders, but no nation is perfect so I recon we should get over the shame.

            In seriousness people at present have started (especially the revisionist types) to look at history and judge actions through the lense of the modern world. Instead actions should be judged by the context of the times in which they occurred and generally on balance the British acted in a far more ethical way than almost any empire in history, while at the same time probably having one of the greatest impacts in history, the modern world was created in the main by the British empire. One simple fact stands out, the British empire ended because it exhausted itself fighting two of the most evil empires in the history of the world, it did not need to fight that fight ( it could have stayed neutral
            Saved its resources sold arms to both the Russians and Germans as they destroyed each other and came out the end as more dominate than ever) instead Britisn followed a moral road and it choose to risk destroying itself to support what was right. Unlike other nations who chose the “get all the money route” and watch its competitors destroy themselves and only came in when attacked.

          • My family bore arms marked by the Pheon since the Conquest. Then onto the new world until King and Crown became Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. My son became the 11th of 14 generations to serve here when he received his commission last May. I am D**N proud of this history and apologize to NO revisionists.

            By the way, one of my best friends is an East Ender born within hearing of the Bow Bells… 😀

        • I’m so glad that you have voted not to be ruled over by an unelected European elite and opted to be ruled over by an unelected Royal family, House of Lords and countless quangos. An unelected Prime Minister and other ministers. And as for ll the money to be saved (Chris says ‘billions’), I can’t wait to see how much it will improve matters in this country. Not long now and we shall all witness the miracle.

          • (Chris H) TH – Thank you for confirming you are most certainly not British.

            * HM The Queen does not ‘rule’ she ‘Reigns’. By consent. Its why she is called ‘The Sovereign’

            * HM the Queen does not make laws although as Head of State she does pass them into Statute.

            * HM the Queen costs this country NOTHING. In fact her Crown Estates contribute some £300 Mn each year directly to the Treasury. the Queen does of course pay UK Income Tax. Unlike the EU Commission

            * The House of Lords are an Advisory Chamber, cannot make laws and cannot obstruct legislation from the House of Commons. The Salisbury Convention of the Parliament Act refers

            * Quangos do not make laws, rule or have any Judicial or Constitutional role whatsoever

            * The Prime Minister becomes PM after a) being elected by their Constituents, b) being elected as Leader of their Party by their membership and MPs and c) being elected on a Manifesto as the winning party by holding the most seats in Parliament ina General Election. They are then after those 3 levels of democratic election appointed as Her Majesty’s First Lord of the Treasury. AKA Prime Minister.

            *Ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister and confirmed by HM the Queen’s Seal of Office and are themselves (with some special exceptions) elected members of Parliament. So they are elected.

            * The amount we pay in cash is some £13.2 Bn per annum (HM Treasury figures and the average of the last 7 years). This does NOT include added VAT contributions and of course EU External Tariff duties collected on all non-EU imports to the UK and passed to the EU

            * Again I will put that in context – It would pay for 4 Queen Elizabeth carriers every year.

            So take your Remoaner like self righteous, sanctimonious sarcasm and stupidity and shove it where the sun fears to shine. And if you do not like the new dawn of independence then you have the freedom to leave the country. If you lived here of course …

          • TH

            Can I ask you to look at countries that were ruled by other European nations during the 17/18/1900’s please.

            I think I am right in saying that the places that Britain were involved in have got a good deal overall and that Britain is the first empire to voluntary leave a country (countries actually).

            Much like slavery, we may have taken part, but we were definitely the first country to renounce it once public opinion had changed.

            Lastly and highly relevant – The RN were actually created to stop African slave traders coming to the UK and taking our people into slavery, funny that isn’t it (and nothing to do with empirialism)

    • Thanks for turning up! I have got together a whatsapp group for which I pass on your posts so we can all have a laugh. Now your back I can give up on the RT forum for my daily dose of half-witted Putin bot propoganda. As Russia is now the worlds laughing stock and any amount of stupidity on our part just gets lost in the medieval backward comments from the Russian ministry, we can sit back and enjoy the show.

    • “Lastly and highly relevant – The RN were actually created to stop African slave traders coming to the UK and taking our people into slavery”

      What?

      • Yes that’s partially true. Look up the Barbary pirates and what the got up to along our coastlines (whole of the UK and Ireland) from about the 1600’s to 1800’s. See link below:

        https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Barbary-Pirates-English-Slaves/

        The history of the Royal Navy can be said goes much further back to about 851 AD. As King Athelstan led a battle against the Danish Vikings off Kent and is said to be “the first naval battle in recorded English history”. Later Alfred the Great formed a dedicated larger force using larger longer ships which were at least twice the size of the standard Viking longship. I believe the accolade for forming a Royal Navy goes to Henry VIII. Which was instigated due his split with the Catholic religion and the likely invasion from France and Spain.

        • Yeah sorry the ‘what’ I said was more of a what the hell are you talking about kind of what not a genuine question lol

          It’s not even partially true really though is it, like you said correctly our countries Navy goes back over a thousand years.

          I know about the Barbary raids, I think it’s because the Royal Navy had a restructuring and name change around that time that’s where he has got it from.

          But to say the Royal Navy was created to stop the Barbary raids is outlandish I think you know that 👍

  7. How can we be a laughing stock? So many countries have backed our standing. I surprise myself responding to your stupidity. Oh well passed a few minutes. ☺

  8. The wee navy has two big boats…….but not much else which is rust free. The two big boats don’t have any jets but never mind. So the wee navy expects that to impress the restless natives? Is this a joke?

        • I was actually taking the piss, I was following on from the que the trolls statement, I figured the “nay less than Belgium possibly Malta if your lucky” was of the level of irony to tip people off, never feed the troll ( unless they really piss you off) just take the piss and laught at them.

    • Know what is a joke? Scotlands reliance on England for just about everything while simultaneously demanding independence…to join the EU. Beats me

    • Actually, I’m beginning to see that Peder really is quite enjoyable because he/she is such an idiot with no knowledge whatsoever about U.K. or probably any other defence matter. I’m no expert but even I can see just how ignorant Peder is.

    • Ah it’s time to earn you 6 worthless roubles and that bucket of old potatoes. That’s nearly middle class in Russia, well done you will go far.

  9. The 10 year old in me thinks these things are the best thing ever and the serious 42 year old me is wondering about how much they cost.
    The 10 year old me is winning so far.

  10. We might have to rethink the defence budget and scrap the Type 26 if there’s a future requirement to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall!

  11. While I would like to see a powerful Royal Navy carrier group – I am afraid one or two big monoliths like QE and POW are just flag-wavers with little no value to Britain. Four modern Invincible type carriers would have been better value and at least broke Britain could afford to equip and operate them.

  12. I think it’s high time this country grew up and faced facts. What on earth should a medium sized European country want this sort of military presence for? Indeed, as others note, it’s all show because behind the bluster there really is very little. The smallest navy for generations and outranked by many others who choose to spend more on weapons of war.

    Veterans for Peace: http://vfpuk.org/about/

    • The facts to be faced are that the world is an even more dangerous place, and a professional, well resourced and balanced military is essential for the security of not just OUR country but for those European countries which in fact hang on to our shirt tales somewhat. The world is nasty, humans can be nasty and you have to prepare to defend what is yours.

    • (Chris H) Harold – A ‘medium sized European country’ that is the 5th largest economy in the world, the top ‘Soft Power’ nation, a key member of the ‘5 Eyes’ intelligence community, a member of the UN Security Council, a major nuclear power, the closest ally to the USA etc etc etc …

      Why do people like you never see just how great the UK is and how highly we are regarded by the rest of the world? Its like you want us to fail. Are you a Remainer by any chance?

      And what has being a European country got to do with what naval power we should deploy? Just as well we do actually because the rest of the EU only supply 20% to NATO. When we leave us and the Yanks will be supplying 80% to that key organisation. That alone justifies our defence spending ….

    • We are actually a really big European nation and the main military power in western/Central Europe. The British public really need to get over this whole “we are so small and insignificant” thing that we have going on. I’m pretty sure it’s some kind post imperial hang up, after all if you were the most powerful nation on earth ever and for a good century only being the 4-5 most powerful nation on earth may feel like being really “small and insignificant” but it’s not.

      • This is the point I keep trying to get across over the months.

        Even if the UK was “only” in the top ten economically and militarily that is something to be proud of out of 195 countries in the world.

        And then you have the likes of TH and Peder, who want to be Mozambique.

        • If I had to be small and a bit pointless ( geopolitically speaking )id go for Malta over Mozambique, it’s a bit nice with less deadly diseases and nasties that kill u.

    • Tell you what Harold.

      When France. Japan. Russia. USA. China. South Korea. Italy. Germany. Brasil. Iran. Canada and other leading nations “grow up” the UK might do the same.

      You continue to post your rhetoric and continue to ignore people’s questions in response.

  13. USA population is 5 times that of the UK, the US has 11 carriers, the UK will have 2. Population of the whole EU 1.5 times that of the USA, equivalent carriers in total – 16. Ooops.

    You either accept carriers as military and strategicly deterrent assets or you don’t, personally I do.

    Conclusion, the UK should and will have two carriers.

  14. Scandalous article full of pompous rubbish. The fact is nevertheless that the QE2s are vital to UK Defence. Unfortunately it seems they will come at the expense of our amphibious capability. Ah well… But in terms of deployment, against a peer power we will not deploy alone, only as part of a US Carrier Battle Group or Marine Expeditionary Unit. So the few escorts we’ll be able to muster will be added to a well balanced American force. If we ever have to do another Falklands type operation or Sierra Leone on our own, we are unlikely (hopefully) to be up against a peer nation with a fully worked up and functional submarine force. If we ever have to confront such an enemy on our own, I suspect (trust) the Defence Chiefs of the day would advise the political leadership to seek a non military option. No Chief in their right mind would deliberately risk losing one of the carriers! The danger lies in the period leading up to hostilities against a peer or proxy power This is totally unpredictable. We’ve seen how both China and Russia are capable of playing loose with the international rules based system. If a Russian submarine found itself with the opportunity to torpedo one of the carriers at a time when UK units were not expecting an attack, I suspect they would take it and then deny all responsibility. But that’s a danger even the Americans face, except the consequences are far worse for us than for them!

    • I would love to see the no’s of t26 and t31 u guys are talking about. I just can’t see it though. Since the so called peace dividend we have gutted our forces. They still do great with what they have but please6% to 1.5% of gdp (in reality with out accounting tricks) on defence. And the difference spent on benefits. Do we deserve to be safe? U don’t see USA gutting their defences.
      And why do these people on here slag the U.K.? We may not me perfect but they would soon learn about freedoms if they lived under putin.

    • Russia would no more want to take on the UK than the UK would want to take on Russia, we can both end each other as functioning world powers and nation states simple as. That means any armed conflict would be avoided by both nations, that’s why the deterrent is so important, it limits the likely hood of hot conflicts between us and other nuclear powers.

      • Totally agree with you Jonathan. My concern is escalation by mistake or mistaken opportunism. Hitler miscalculated that Britain and France would not go to war over Poland. The US miscalculated Japan’s reaction to sanctions applied over Manchuria. You can see how something similar could happen over Syria or N Korea. States rarely plan to go to all out war with a peer state. And it’s in that nebulous period leading to a possible confrontation that the carriers would be mostly at risk. The state of our navy is perilous. We would be hard-pressed to be able to field one Astute, one T45 and two or three T26s (plus four P-8s) on an extended and fully worked up basis, on defence watch 24/7, during a period of tension, if we were acting on our own, without US or allied support. I’m not against the carriers. I’m against the political lie that we can field a carrier, boast that we are a world power, and fail to fund the rest of the capability required to Enter theatre safely. Also, would you deploy a QE close to shore in the Commando Carrier role? Really? I wouldn’t! So, no more Royal Marines, effectively… Very sad…

  15. Jonathan I agree totally re strategic nuclear deterrent. But these weapons are supposed to be weapons of last resort thus adequately powerful and compelling conventional forces are utterly needed. If anyone deploys a nuclear weapon in anger the world and history will not forgive them.
    TH and Peder are sat in the basement of the Kremlin trolling away as simple minded Putin bots and we should all just ignore them.
    Back to UK matters…if we want to foil Putin we should invest in defence rebuild the Royal navy and that alone will really piss Putin off. He has no money to match us if we decided to really rearm it would only take 3.5-4% GDP to defence ratio to make Putin weep. For that alone we should do it.
    I just hope those lovely people at GCHQ can fire something off into Peders and TH’s computers to shut them down as they are simple A) idiotic and B) clearly haters of the UK and not citizens of our free and democratic country and thus have no right posting on a UK site other than to spread Putin’s notions of Russia being a victim.
    Really? Just like you never invaded Georgia, Ukraine and threaten the Baltic states? Just like you have never used chemicals or biological weapons as instruments of assassination? Get real. Russia is as guilty as hell, the whole world knows it, that is why most of the sensible world has expelled your spies from your embassadors. Sorry I meant to say embassy staff but spies seems to have just slipped out.
    Stop watching Russia today TH and Peder. Turn off your computers and have a serious think about the direction your lives are heading, do not back a loser.

  16. Im confused. As i understand it this ship has no planes, no (proper) escorts and no trained flight crew. So how does it change anything? You realy think china will s&!t bricks when a boat with no armament shows up? To be honest, as it is now you could sail her majesty to Iran and they would probably laugh, then sink her with a barrage of shitty missiles.
    I know that everyone sais the jets are on the way but lets face it, launching a carrier with no air wing is like deploying a Main Battle Tank with a yet to be fitted main gun (see pointless target). You have to foot the bill for years of useless opperation before you can use her for anything other than pride and pomp. And dont say its great crew experience. Experience on a carrier with no aircraft is as good as practicing rowing without a paddle.

    Respect for the effort but the timing and implementation sucks, big time! And why are so many “journalists” talking this ship to the sky, making it sound like an unprecedented game changer. For now you got yourself a big fat target. Thats all..

    • Everything with the comment was just plain wrong or misinformed. A. The planes are undergoing testing as we speak, will start conducting trials on board in the latter half of this year and will be fully operational when she first deploys in 2020. B. She will escorted by world beating vessels of the Type 45 class, the Type 23 class equipped with sonar 2087 and Astute class. C. She is also fully crewed so i don’t know where you got that idea from. D. She is also armed herself with Phalanx CIWS so would be able to defend herself from “a barrage of shitty missiles”.

    • Amazing comment Yan. Misinformed at best and plain daft at worst.

      You really think the UK procured a carrier to not operate aircraft from it?

      You really think planes, procedures, capability are instantly created by magic out if thin air?

      The carriers working up!!

      • Let me put it another way.

        You build a beautiful house but it is not in use yet, has no utilities connected, etc.

        That does not make the house useless.

        IT IS NOT READY YET!

  17. The carriers won’t hurt our trade relations, but i doubt they will help much.

    The current defence strategy is to act in a coalition, and not to be able to act alone, which means that we likely need the US to be able to undertake any conflict, and that means we are not that useful as an ally (still useful but not as much as we were a decade or two ago).

    The other problem is our forces are so widely spread, that in any one place they are extremely thin. 1 frigate or patrol boat is not really going to provide much of anything other than highlighting the lack of depth.

    Last year we had a task group made up of Ocean and one of the albions and bay and yet it had no escorts, i assume because there were none spare. Which means that the task group is effectively useless for anything other than PR.

    For the carriers to be useful as a show of force, they need a proper battle group with them. One carrier (fully equipped with 40 odd f35b, merlins, chinook and apache), 2 destroyers, 4 frigates combined with an albion, bay and tide would set a strong message, but i suspect we will realistically see at best 2 ships escorting the carriers with maybe 12 f35, which will do the reverse and again highlight the gaps.

    France now has almost twice as many soldiers as the UK and its africa mission has showed it is capable of acting alone (ok with some heavy lift support from the UK, but they have more heavy lift planes on the way) and so their reputation has increased, at a time where ours has decreased after the mess of Iraq/Afgan. I really think we should have not invested in the carriers and instead invested in the more basic equipment and troop numbers.

    Now we have gone down the carrier route, we need to go all in and use them as a show of strength not just a PR picture for politicians to get revoted.

    • The US carrier battle groups look so powerful when they arrive, not just because of the carrier itself but because it has everything it needs to switch from peace duty to combat with it within the battlegroup. If we have only 1 or 2 escorts with ours with a handful of jets, realistically it would need to retreat if a conflict broke out and await reinforcements.

      • (Chris H) Steve – It depends how a Government wishes to use carriers (or other military assets) to portray their intentions as a nation. The USA only know one way and that is brute and often ignorant force. You say the UK cocked up in Iraq / Afghan? Well whose idea was it to use brute force there then? So their carrier groups are basically used to deter by menace and threat and they think people are impressed by size …..

        The UK has (since WWII bankrupted us) followed a different policy and Governments of all persuasions have seen the military as a way of portraying the UK’s basic values and character in a more benign light. We use historic ceremony to our advantage because few other countries a) have our history or b) do it as well as us. And we have invested in ‘Soft Power’ rather than the US way. We have had to because we cannot afford $16 Bn aircraft carriers let alone 11 of them.

        Because of, and often in spite of, our Imperial past he UK has huge influence without need of military power and is very highly regarded across the world so we have less need to ‘deter’ nations and our military is equally highly regarded as very capable, committed and always able to punch way above their weight. Unlike the USA which manages to achieve the opposite. When people have a tendency to like and admire you then you have less need for ‘the Big Stick’ and are able to ‘Speak Softly’ to better effect (with apologies to Theodore Roosevelt))

        And on your final point about ‘having to retreat’ because we deploy lighter armed carriers in peaceful times is not actually true. We could deploy F-35s to our carriers in very short order. Or indeed whatever airborne assets would be required. Most conflicts start by disagreements and gradually ratchet up into military actions. It is rare for a war to start unannounced. WWII took months to be declared and more months to actually start being violent. Even Pearl Harbour was brewing for some months thanks to US restricting Jaapan’s trading and shipping freedoms. (But that is another discussion).

        • Whilst i don’t disagree with your overall point, the question here is the carriers, which are a brute force object. The carriers will not help with soft power, but they can help with the image of hard power.

          Saying that, it depends how you use the strong battle group. You don’t have to go down the route of the US and sailing it near opponents to show force and annoying everyone. Instead you can have it exercise with allies and generally be seen by them to help give them reassurance that we are there should they need us.

          My point, which maybe i didn’t make very well, is that a carrier with a light number of jets and almost no escorts does not reassure allies, it just makes it clear we don’t have enough assets to back them up should the worst happen. Especially in a period where we seem to be focusing mainly on allies the other side of the world, where we can not reinforce quickly from the UK.

          • (Chris H) Steve – i guess we should see how they perform in exercises with allies before making judgments but I don’t believe because we, say, visit Australia with a QE, a T45, a T23 / T26 and an Astute with a dozen F-35s, 6 Apaches, 6 Merlins and some Chinooks makes us look ‘less than capable’ to the Aussies.

            And I do think this is where our history plays its part. We have shown time and again we WILL step up when needed. Its just (as I said) unlike the Americans we do not feel the need to keep convincing people. Or scaring them shitless.

            know who was most impressed by what and how we did it in the Falklands in ’82? The Russians. They realised that if we were prepared to do that for some rocks and some Brits 8,000 miles away what would we be prepared to do for our homeland?

    • Iraq/Aghan was a political mess not a ,military f***up. To few troops to carry out proper policing post the initial action, irrespective of naff equipment. The other problem with Afghanistan was the “majority” of the Taliban/Al Qaeda were from Pakistan. So apart from the odd airstrike not much could be done for them crossing a very fluid border.

    • No, Successor in MoD core budget if anything.

      Carriers have been paid for since 2008, no effect now.

      LOL.

      “Massive reduction in Royal Artillery Field Guns and Tracked Vehicles.”

      There are due to be 2 Regiments of AS90 SPG left and 1 of GMLRS, and 4 of Light Gun so massive cuts is rubbish, not much left to cut in the RA.

      RAF scrapping its 60 Chinooks! Bigger LOL. Would leave our army being transported by Pumas. In all other reviews the Chinook force is never cut, because it is useful, relevant and in demand.

      I would not believe a word of this rubbish.

      In 2010 it was reported the RAF’s entire Tornado GR4 force of then 7 Squadrons was going to be axed. They are still here.

      This is uninformed speculation.

      As for TH, you really are a vindictive, spiteful pile of shite aren’t you. Heavy cuts would upset plenty here, while you gloat and laugh with glee.

      • Dramatic reductions in tracked vehicles probably means putting the FV 430s up for sale. Given the Warrior upgrade program and FRES or whatever its called these days and a commitment to wheeled Boxers this sounds like an obvious move.
        The Tornados are planned to be ‘axed’ in favour of centurion equipped Typhoons. No news there.
        I think there is scope for rationalisatio of our helicopter types. Puma should be the one to go. Is it beyond the wit of man to build a version of Merlin that is a decent troop carrier?

    • Let’s hope not true, saving the albions to cut the chinooks would be a seriously bad decision. Same with cutting the frigates by 3, considering the carriers need escorts and the navy is already stretched to the extreme.

  18. Great news there Paul P. Thanks for posting the link. Now we are really on the way to saving taxpayers’ hard earned cash. Three elderly type 23 frigates to be dispensed with plus three other ships, the Chinook helicopters to be removed from front line service, the Tornado jets to go, a reduction of 450 marines and a massive cut in army manpower and artillery weapons. At long last, the government are having to face facts about money. I am very happy that reality is finally being faced. I so hope that this newspaper report can be relied on. You have cheered me up! Thank you.

    • The Express with it’s amazing knowledge of defence matters and T H . A marriage made in Heaven. We will never be able to criticize again!

    • Don’t get your hopes up. Your tax code isn’t going to plummet. See my post below. All I see is prudent management and some rebalancing in light of concern about the potential loss of Albion and Bulwark.

      • Actually, if you were talking about the possibility of him seeing his tax go down then his “tax code” would rocket (as in go up) rather than plummet since it reflects the size of one’s personal allowance and the higher the number the higher the threshold before one starts paying tax. As a claimed member of the Taxpayer’s Alliance TH should have known that already but I somehow suspect he knows about as much about taxation as he does about defence matters.

        Anyway, discussing the possibility of TH’s tax going down isn’t applicable. I don’t think his salary of 6 Roubles a day plus some stale bread is enough to be taxable even now.

        • Oh yeh :-). My bad there. But you get my drift. Contrary to his comments I think it is TH who is disconnected from reality. I see Putin’s stooge Assad is dropping chlorine on innocent children again.

    • (Chris H) TH – You utter buffoon. How can any sane person rejoice in any reductions in our defence capabilities? Oh wait of course … You’re a nutjob Leftie at best and more likely a bloody Commie twat in Moscow. No wonder you’re happy your puppets at the Leftie Mirror Group now run the Express so you can print more of your crap and people actually believe it because ‘The Express’ was always Right Wing.

      Lies, deceit, diversion, confusion. Its what you people do isn’t it?

  19. My take on the Express for what its worth…
    I’m not at all happy about troop reductions. Have to wait and see there. And scrapping the Chinook fleet not going to happen. Very useful asset. But a reduction, rationalisation or realignment might though, now that the RM are back to wading ashore? We are generously provided with Chinooks while we have too few Merlins and might want to invest in SW-4 as a utility or unmanned helo?
    ‘ Losing’ 6 ships sounds about right. I’ve said before I can see 3 Type 23s going. We can’t man them anyway. I think there was substance in the rumours they were to be sold Brazil who would pay for the refits we obvioualy can’t afford. New diesels, Scanter, Sea Ceptor, Oto 76 etc and you’vd got yourself a decent deal. This would be the national shipbuilding strategy in action. I do have faith the Type 31 program will replace them. The other 3 ships being ‘lost’ probably/ hopefully refers to 3 of the Batch 1 Rivers. Keeping one and running with the 5 batch 2s would give you 2 R2s and one R1 for UK fisheries and UK waters response plus the 3 Batch 2s to perform Caribbean, Somalia and Falklands. Tight but doable if Somalia and Caribbean duties are shared with RFAs.
    Overall sounds like a cuts package which keeping the LPDs and RM can be presented as a victory responding to public concern and consultation while laying up the Type 23s can be presented as ‘don’t panic Mr Mainwaring its all part of the Type 31 plan’.

    Too soon for TH to crow.

    • (Chris H) – Can I make a general reply to all on the news link posted by Paul? We should remember that Express Newspapers are now owned by the very hard left Mirror Group. So we can all be assured that whatever it does print will be liberally ‘edited’ by those military hating Lefties. Hence why TH is throwing a fit of agreement. His mates wrote the damn piece!

      One example: Tornados. They are being retired as planned in 2019 so its old news. And not even ‘newsworthy’. Tranche 2 + 3 Typhoons are being upgraded to fill the gaps left by those great aircraft. And earlier Tranche 1 and others are being restored to operational duties from storage to support the QRA role allowing later built Tiffys to be upgraded. THAT is the story and the Express / Mirror version just says Tornados are going. Half a story is a bloody lie!

      So I give the rest the assumption it is also a bunch of lies to embarrass a Tory Government that is actually increasing defence spending with a major revue due shortly.

      • Good point re the paper ownership. I missed that. I think you’ve called it right. Very selective and negative interpretation of planned transitions. I do think the Type 23s will go though with River 2s effectively being a placeholder while we await Type 31s.

          • (Chris H) SoleSurvivor – Oh really? Why isn’t it? Care to enlighten us?
            I have already had a Twitter row with the idiot from the Express that wrote it so this should be interesting …..

          • Chris there really is no need to ask three questions in your first sentence bloody hell, you seem like an angry man calm down.

            Just to clarify you have not had a “twitter row” with the journo who wrote this, you jumped into a pretty reasonable (although short) exchange between STRN and the Journo with one tweet that included and I quote “All that needs to be remembered in all this is that Express Newspapers are now owned by the very hard left Mirror Group who simply trying to embarrass the Tory government”

            Now even Save the Royal Navy replied to that disagreeing with you.

            And to answer your questions to me, what you’re saying is complete nonsense that’s why it isn’t a good point, the editor of the express has not changed, the guy who wrote that has been at the express for years, you really think the express has changed? Jesus go and have a look at it’s front page right now on the website and then tell me it’s left wing.

            And as for the “very hard left” trinity mirror group? Very hard left? Either you don’t have a single clue about politics or you’re just trying to push some sort of agenda here.

            The daily mirror is left wing/centre left, if you want a real left wing paper then it’s the morning star. The Daily Mirror is the paper that supports and promotes the Royal family the most, it cannot be described as a “hard left newspaper” this is the first time I have ever come across someone that has labelled it that.

            And just one bit of further information, “hard left” is not on the political spectrum, it’s centre left, left wing and far left. Hard left is a Labour Party term that since the early 90’s has been used by conservatives mainly because to the casual observer when they hear “hard left” they think far left.

            👍

      • Agree with this.

        The Tornado force was always due for retirement not “axeing” as F35 enters service, with 2 Typhoon squadrons temporarily formed from tranche 1 until the F35 force reaches 4 squadrons, then Typhoon reduces to 5.

        Chinook is one of the biggest aces we have. 7 Squadron directly supports UKSF and has some of the RAFs best helicopter pilots.

        The FV fleet is ancient, and as Paul days, newer vehicles are arriving or planned.

        T23 reduction bothers me, if true T31 needs to replace to keep numbers up to roughly where we are.

        I don’t get the report of cuts to the RA, there are actually few gun regiments left.

        This is tabloid speculation by journalists who probably could not tell a tank from a Scimitar.

        I think there will be cuts, but I’m hoping for increases in areas too, foremostly in personnel.

        • I think Chrs called it right. We are clearly in a period of replacing capital assets with new equipment, overdue in some cases, ( Tornado>Typhoon; Type 23>Types 26/31; Tracked to wheeled APC; Harrier and Through deck cruisers to F35B and QE; MARS tankers; C130 > A400… The list goes on) combined with manpower and recruitment issues, which you could also argue are self inflicted. That said other western democracies are also suffering receuitment issues. I know one of your pet subjects is sleight of hand cuts but these are genuinely offset in many cases by more reliable modern equipment and smarter deployment plans: Clyde in the Falklands and new bases in Bahrain are examples. But the press is in the business of selecting bad news (like Type 45 propulsion ) and milking it for all its worth. C’est la Vie. That said this Express article is really fake news. Pity the journalists don’t get a job more useful to society. Filling in potholes would be a start.

        • The MOD are looking at getting rid of some Chinooks which is true. The helicopter does not have a fatigue life like a fixed wing aircraft for example Typhoon with an airframe life of 8000 flying hours. However, we have a batch of early Chinooks which were bought during the early 80s that are now more like “Trigger’s Broom”. (Someone will need to explain to TH!) These aircraft are now requiring more and more effort when they go through depth servicing to make them serviceable and it is these which are being looked at. These are being looked at to replace them with new buy Chinooks.
          The Chinook is THE battle field support helicopter bar none. It has been proven that you can take the same airframe/tail number fly it from a carrier to the Arctic. Strip it down and put it on a C17 fly it to Jordan. Work through a few months in 45 Centigrade put it on another C17 fly it out to Afghanistan where it flies at a local altitude of 2500 ft in searing temperatures up to 12500ft. Break it down again and fly it out to Malaysia to work in the Jungle. Show me another aircraft that can do all this with the same capabilities.
          Without major modifications very few helicopters could carry out the roles the Chinook undertakes with the RAF. The Chinook does it all in its stride support all branches of the Army. It is also the only helicopter we have than can lift a F35B engine, the Merlin can’t. The Merlin is an excellent helicopter for the Navy, it is not a very good battlefield support helicopter.

          • Hear Hear.

            Talk of cutting all our Chinooks is about the worst tabloid defence cut rumour I have heard.

            We have almost 70 in 3 Squadrons plus an OCU flight so they could probably remove some without a loss of capability.

            Personally I’d be recruiting more people and forming a 4th Squadron of these fantastic assets but hey ho.

          • (Chris H) DaveyB – The only point I would disagree gently with would be your comment about the lift capabilities of a Merlin vs Chinook. In single unit lift you are of course correct but in personnel and non-unit freight lift capability the Merlin is as good as it gets. I am on record here as saying any new orders for Chinooks should now be replaced by orders for the latest spec Merlins built at Yeovil on a ‘2 for 1’ basis. To this we could now add replacement of the oldest airframes. This would keep taxpayer money in the UK, we would still have the largest Chinook fleet bar the Americans and we would increase troop and overall freight lift capability.

      • To be fair Chris all right wing papers including the Sun and the Mail always run stories about reductions in armed forces.

        This is not in any way connected to the mirror group takeover. If your read the Express nothing at all has changed.

    • In a perverse way might this sort of inaccurate and alarmist reporting that creates the impression of cuts where none exist (e.g. “axing” Tornado when we all knew for years that they are scheduled for retirement) actually be a good thing? If more of the general public believe this stuff and become increasingly alarmed maybe that might whip up more support from the general public to protect and ideally increase defence spending.

  20. Hi Steve.. I don’t think the French army is double the size of the British army even after the cut’s that have taken place. Think the British army has about 78,000 regulars fully trained plus over 25,000 fully trained army reserves that can be fully mobilised in a crisis situation and of course the UK has the elite Royal Marines numbering some 7,000 if you include reserves that are also trained to a very high degree like the regulars.

    The French army has around 109,000 plus some 15,000 reserves, so ‘yes’ the French army is bigger, but the UK can still mobilise a 100,000 army in times of crisis. Retention and recruitment of soldiers very much needs to be sorted out though, from what i can make out another 9,000 (fully trade trained) regular and reserve army soldiers need to be recruited to bring numbers up to the 2015 strategic defence review army personnel requirements.

    • Fair point, but still 40% larger army, i don’t really count the reserves as this is a bit of a fudge since history has taught that reserve forces are not suited to front line fighting in a war situation.

      Looking at wikipedia and it states Frances overall armed forces is 360k vs 150k for Britain, which is over double, but not sure how that is broken down and the numbers are really comparable.

      • “Reserve forces have shown themselves not suited to frontline fighting.” Someone has apparently forgotten to tell the IDF and the US Army National Guard.
        Not one to advocate over reliance on reserve units. Nevertheless the use of trained Reserve and Guard units is something the US has done very well since the end of the 19th century. Examples nearly 40 percent of American troops deployed came from the Guard in WWI. While in WWII they made up 19 divisions some of which were highly decorated (36th Div.). While in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and every other conflict and or large scale intervention the US has made use of the Guard and Reserve units on a large scale.

  21. The reserves are a lot better trained these day’s and do play a much bigger role within the overall British army wearing the same kit and using the same equipment and so on.. I did read a couple of months ago about a major military exercise that is being planned for the summer of 2019 involving the call-up of all army reserves plus the call-up of ex regular reserves that number anything between 25,000 to 30,000 could be interesting to see how that all works out. So i guess the Army top brass are veering back to the day’s of the cold war when they would of called up a lot of ex regulars to supplement the Army with extra skills and numbers.

    Thanks Steve for responding to my previous message. Have a good week!

    • My assumption is if we ever went to war again, the reserves would play a mainly defensive role, defending the bases and supply lines, which admittedly would free up the regular army for more high risk roles. Whilst they may be better trained than in years gone, in theory a full time unit should beat a part time unit, all things being equal. As such whilst the reserves are a great way of building the numbers, on paper, and giving politicians a positive spin to cuts (we cut regular army by x but we increased the reserves also), they would not be risked in a peer or near peer conflict.

      I would be interested to know how they were used in iraq/afgan, in a more counter insurgency role where part time professional should be more trained than the insurgents with almost no training.

      • I remember in the Cold War there were huge home defence exercises where the TA would be mobilised to form the bulk of the then 2 Infantry Division bound for Germany, with others used in the Home Defence Force guarding “Kps” – Key Points. The enemy – Spetsnatz, were often played by SF.

        I guess some of our older veterans here remember all this.

      • The guys and lasses called up from reserve to do their part in Iraq and Afghan went through intensive field training before deploying. When deploying they were embedded with full timers. There was no difference in roles that they had to undertake irrespective of their type of employment. So if that was a full infantry role carrying out patrols from a FOB then that is what they did.

  22. Just to update: I mean the ex regular reserve numbers being between 25,000 to 30,000 on top of the army reserve numbers..

  23. Hi Steve.. If you take 16 Air assault Brigade: Fully mobilised would include for 2 regular Para battalions and one reserve Para battalion.. So i think these day’s the army reserves are very much more involved in the front line formations.. But certainly agree there would be many reserves in a supporting role too.

    Plus one regular Para battalion that now supports the special forces group so that’s not included in 16 Air Assault Brigade. I remember a few years back when a mixed group of reg and reserve British army soldiers went on a military exercise in Spain, the Spanish army commander praised the UK troops afterwards saying he could not tell who were the regs and who were the reserves.

    • There is also the major problem with reserves, they are reserves. Outside a major war, where the UK itself is under threat, the reserves can’t be deployed for any length of time.

      Take iraq/afgan, we should have deployed 40-50k instead of the 20k, I wonder how much of that 50k could the reserves realistically made up considering, their limitation as a reserve unit. It would be interesting to know based on a medium term deployment (5 years or so), what is the ratio of regular to reserves needed to maintain a fixed deployment. I wonder if the economics make sense or is it just about raw numbers rather than effectiveness.

      Don’t get me wrong, the reserves are a useful addition, but have their limitations.

    • The Army Reserve has few of its own armoured vehicles though.

      The RA elements I believe do have their own complements of guns and MLRS.

      The reserves are mainly manpower not fully equipped units that can self deploy. The infantry augment regular battalions, the RAC elements augment our Jackal regiments. Our medical services however are substantially reservists.

  24. Just to reassure everyone, the RAF will get rid of its Typhoons before it gets rid of its Chinooks! Calm down everyone. Trade-offs are rarely inter service, usually just intra service, except with Joint programmes or programmes where one service performs a task specifically for another, such as RAF MPA for the RN. Chinooks fall into this category as well except that they are highly valued by everyone, across the board. With Ocean gone and no chance of ever buying a Juan Carlos or a Mistral, the Marines are at serious risk. Albion, Bulwark and the Bays are alright, but they don’t cut it on their own. It’s laughable to suggest that the QEs can be employed in the Commando role other than in peacetime in a humanitarian mission. So, if you’ve got to make way for something in the RN to afford (and man!) the carriers, it’ll be the amphibious forces and units. Unless the Americans step in and stop us – they value our Special Forces very highly – that and our submarines… The USMC will also learn to value our QEs and will probably request their inclusion in a MEU in any future conflict, guaranteeing a good USN escort force to protect them.

    • Undoubtedly.

      However the defence budget is increasing, which rather torpedoes your dreams.

      Even with cuts, you would demand more and more until there was little left to cut,
      until the UK is a little nation with no influence, economic or military power, or world role.

      That is the aim of you and your hard leftist extremist friends who take offence at everything about this nation.

      Your wish will not materialise.

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