CVF Delay?


Lantern Swinger
I do feel compelled to ask the question - does anyone truly in their heart of hearts believe that they will ever be built?

Frankly I'm just waiting for the day when their cancellation is announced - not I hasten to add because that's what I want, but it will be what the Treasury wants - if not now, at some point in the future.
There is a slight problem, in that Gordon stands to lose a lot of credibility having trumpeted the provision of adequate funds (his oh so generous 1.5% increase in the headline budget) last summer. However, as we all know with the fat [email protected], with one hand he giveth and the other hand he taketh away (hence the £12bn Treasury clawback which funnily enough hasn't been announced).

This could go one of two ways :

1. If you shift the expenditure right, it starts to overlap more with the bombers, so the problem isn't solved and he still looks a f8ckwit for announcing something he hadn't actually funded. Ergo, cut everything else, but crack on with the CVF.

Or 2. For those of a conspiracy theorist persuasion, shifting it right will put the mockers on the BAES / VT joint venture and will certainly increase the cost, which might allow Liabour to put the blame on industry and suggest that cancellation has occurred because "industry couldn't provide the alliance" or "couldn't keep costs within budget".

Either way, it's clear that the Broons need taking outside and slotting.


Lantern Swinger
Oil_Slick said:
Potential_Officer said:
Will there be a Navy for me to join?

There will be some form of maritime self defence force left… gotta guard the Solent after all.
Gosport Sea Cadets could do that - the government will probably give them a couple of inflatables and some air rifles and they'll be away!
Why doesn't any of this surprise me , I still don't think they will ever be built , I would clearly love to be proved wrong though .
Remember the Fauklands Gord??? What did the govt. do just before that war, scrapped ships and Argentina took advantage of that and caused a war that ended many lives. Lessons should be learnt. A few months ago when the PM was still in the treasury i read a paper on my round that said "Gord giveth, and Gord taketh away."
Sadly, this is the most high profile of many other critical capabilities being delayed, eroded or cancelled by the current government. Despite assertions that we'd get all the kit we needed for current ops, this includes very important capabilities which are saving lives NOW in Afghanistan and Iraq.

About the only thing going for CVF as far as this govt goes is it's importance to jobs and I genuinely wonder if they'll ever be built.

Even if they are, we the RN being reduced to 1 x CVF, 3 x SSBN, 4 x T45 and a handful of other vessels by 2030. A question for NaB, could some of the programme politics have been avoided by ordering 2 x 40 000 ton CVF? If so, perhaps the programme would have stood up to scrutiny better.

What grips me most is that op commitments emain enormous, HMG has not removed any of our assigned Military Tasks, Russia is flexing its muscles again, the 2012 Olympics will require considerable assistance from HMF for homeland defence, and yet we're told there's no money and 'we have to be realistic'. In the next breath, HMG finds £19B to bail out Northern Rock.

Defence procurement could be significantly improved and I think Drayson was making progress in this area. But we can't make progress when HMG keeps demanding more cuts to even the most short term of plans. Somebody somewhere needs to take a reality pill and provide the funding to enable some medium-long term funding stability. Then some long term savings can be made.

Finally, I'll reiterate that despite my crustacean background, I'm a strong supporter of CVF (if not totally convinced by the need for 65 000 tonners).

Gordon the Broone seems to be moving a lot of procurement decisions into the next Parliament… is Gordo looking to build up a nice stash of cash to buy himself an election with a big handout to the Chav classes?
Oil_Slick said:
Gordon the Broone seems to be moving a lot of procurement decisions into the next Parliament… is Gordo looking to build up a nice stash of cash to buy himself an election with a big handout to the Chav classes?
I agree, there are a lot od signs that he is phasing stuff to make his lot look more electable when the time comes. He should however be paying just a little more attention to those close to him and how they fund their activities. It is quite clear that NuLabour has really not solved it's funding problems despite all TBs little problems on this front. They are getting themselves in a real twist over funding rules they brought in to try and hamstring the Tories and the SNP who seen to be very satisfactorily dodging the sh!t as it hits the NuLabor fan
Would the last person to leave the Royal Navy please lock the gate.
Lets be frank here, this has been going on since the end of the Second World War. It isn't Broon, its ALL politicians. MOD is nothing more than a standby wallet to be dipped into when the need arises. As always happens with this type of thing, it won't be noticed by the politicians and the general public until it is far too late, then it will be panic building/buying followed once again by years of neglect/plundering.

MM - HNY to you.

In response to your question, the 40 000 tonner is to a large degree responsible for the utter fiasco that this has become. When the original concept designs were done in 1997, the two MoD constructors responsible used the info available to them and came up with designs at roughly 40000 te with 40 aircraft (inc 26 hangared). As is usual, these were costed by what is now PFG in ABW and the cost forecast included in the EP. However, at that stage, no-one had actually tried to work out what those aircraft would be required to deliver in terms of sorties (per day and over a campaign) - ie there was no Flypro. The 40000 te ship looked like a CVS on steroids - you can see it on Beedall's website. However, dimensionally it was still bigger than any usable slipway or dock outside Belfast (as are the 65000te ships).

Then, as part of the aircraft choice (STOVL vs sensible) people started to develop munitions on target at range requirements and inevitably package size, ac range, AAR trade-offs and ultimately daily sortie requirements and a flypro. These were expected to prove that the STOVL ship would be substantially smaller than a cat n'trap (or indeed a STOBAR a la Kuznetsov) ship. It was quickly realised that to get the sorties off the deck you needed bodies (particularly for pulling back and rearming / servicing) which were probably not going to be available (either in terms of recruitment or ability to fit them in the ship itself - accommodation being a huge driver of ship size). The only way to get around this was to use what was termed "pitstop" parking, which essentially means that when you recover from a sortie, the ac is marshalled to a shutdown point from where it will subsequently launch (post servicing) on the next sortie - ie you chock and chain only once. This meant more deck area on the roof which principally knocked onto the overall beam, with some effect on FD length.

Three companies (BAES, Thales/BMT and one other) were asked to produce designs to a flypro in 1999 (yes, that long ago) and funny old thing all were significantly bigger than 50000 te, let alone the 40000 te that had been costed. The uncertainty as to STOVL vs CV also led to the adaptable design (capable of taking CV either for JCA or later in life), which made it a bit bigger, but not spectacularly so. At this point, all would have been fine if the programme costs had been updated, however, as far as I can tell, they never were and so the Assessment phase rumbled blithely on for a couple of years until sometime after the downselect to the Thales / BMT design (with BAE as Prime), someone noticed that the costs were exceeding what was in the budget, which at the time was in parallel with Typhoo tranche 3, MRA4, FRES, Astute and all sorts of other lovelies.

Panic and paralysis ensued. Recostings and shrinking the ship were all tried in a vain attempt to square the circle. Predictably, they all came out with the same answer - if you shrink the ship, you can't do the sorties and you run the risk of repeating the current CVS scenario, where either the ship cannot take new generation ac, or can only accept an insignificant number. (I know the UCAV argument will pop up here, but that's how the decision process worked).

The question all of you are asking is therefore - "well why didn''t someone trade sortie numbers?" and the answer is that they did, but found that according to the Operational Analysis the carrier no longer made a useful contribution. In other words, 30+ aircraft and X sorties per day or nothing.........Now all of us would probably pop up and suggest that there is a world of useful capability between 14 Puffa jets or so on a CVS and 30-odd JCA on CVF, but we ain't in charge of the decision, let alone the OA on which ALL procurement projects are justified.

My personal view is that the big deck ship is worth having and paying for, (although a combination of MoD incompetence and BAE p1ss-taking is inflating what we should be paying), it's too late to do anything about it. The ships complement is already small (not vastly different from a CVS) and that won't change much from a 40000 te to a 65000te ship. You might save some material cost but probably less than £50m per ship (much of the displacement difference is payload rather than actual material) and we might find ourselves in the same boat we are now with every single surface ship in the fleet - too small and no margin for growth in service. Even at 40000 te, there isn't a shipyard in the country that could build it alone, (or a dockyard that could take it without the work going on at Rosyth) so you would still need an alliance / JV of some sort and the drip would still be "oh but it's twice the size of the current ships, why?".

We are where we are. There is NO plan B, nor can there be. Changing track now would mean a complete redesign, taking around 6-7 years including approvals and d1cking about, during which time our GR9s will run out of fatigue life (they probably will already) and CVS is literally incapable of taking Dave B. Ergo, end of maritime FW airpower in UK. People may point to the Italian Conte de Cavour, the new Spanish LHD or the US LHA(R) as options, but the European ships are only designed to handle (literally) a handful of FW, and the US design would require significant change to allow RN to operate it. (Before O-S berates me for changing an off-the-shelf design, let me point out that the US ship would need an ME department way in excess of anything the UK currently operates or recruits for).

Long answer to a short question. Lets hope it's all a storm in a teacup.....

HNY to you too and it's unfortunate we have to start the dialogue for this year on such a note.

Okay, I think this dumb aircrew mate has it now and TVM for your very comprehensive answer! If no dockyard in the UK can accept even a 40K ship then I follow the thinking although I'd like to see the thinking behind the sortie generation OA. In my experience the USN LHDs still make a fairly useful contribution to ops even with the small amount of fixed wing. I acknowledge however that they are primarily helo ships.

The insight I've had into the current round of options for PR08 have been exceptionally depressing and I NEVER thought I'd see some of the things I have seen considered for the chop. Some major capabilities will inevitably be lost, although it'll probably be dressed up as 'a funding deferral'.

Not_a_boffin said:
or the US LHA(R) as options, but the European ships are only designed to handle (literally) a handful of FW, and the US design would require significant change to allow RN to operate it. (Before O-S berates me for changing an off-the-shelf design, let me point out that the US ship would need an ME department way in excess of anything the UK currently operates or recruits for).

P'raps it's time then to bite the bullet a'la RAN and switch over to USN compatible ships.
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