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New Carrier's - Are we buying the Wrong Kit ?

Excuse my ignorance on this, I am a landlubbing civiy but I have a horrible feeling the Government is in the process of shoving £11-12 billion into two big black holes called Queen Elizabeth & Prince of Wales.

To be effective as spec'd the Carriers are going to need all 138 F-35's and appropriate AEW assets. Assuming no cost over-runs the carriers are going to cost £4 billion, the total JSF buy (assuming they come in at £45 million each) £6.2 billion, AEW (possibly V-22) £500 million. Add in the usual cost over-runs and you are looking at a lot of money for two great big flat decks with lots of unproven technology coming on board later than planned.

Would the RN not have been better with 2 x 45,000 tonners with similar Air Group capacity to the Charles De Gaulle. Assuming you can build ships 70% smaller for 75% of the cost there is an immediate saving of £1 billion.

The Super Hornet is a combat proven piece of kit and getting 100 would save about £3 billion and provide two CAG's, plus OCU, plus attrition reserves (even if the buy was split with the RAF).

Getting the Hawkeye instead of the V-22 is about cost neutral over 12 airframes.

Assuming savings of about £4 billion the RN could have the seventh and eigth Type 45 and buy another LPH - even something as nifty as the LHA-6.

Correct me if I am wrong, but as it stands the two new carriers are pretty disaterous purchases.
 
You've joined RR just to post this?

Well for a start 45000t is not 70% smaller- 70% of the size (30% smaller) I'd have given you, but even that's not quite right.

It has been established time and again in numerous inquiries that the size has nothing to do with it in any case, steel is cheap, air is free. I'd love to get all 138 JSFs on a carrier, but that's not going to happen- even with both at sea simultaneously you'd be looking at 60-70 (and that's not going to happen either) because whilst big, they're not that bl**dy big.

V-22 purchase? Not ruled out but not where the smart money is going.

"Assuming savings of about £4bn the RN could have"

and the band played believe it if you will. You honestly think that if the Defence budget suddenly freed up £4bn by cancelling a major equipment project then the MOD would get to keep the cash? Dream on, the Treasury would be all over it faster than you could whistle call the hands.

The Super Hornet is combat proven? Wrong argument. If JSF got canned we'd end up going down the Rafale route to help our European "allies" out.

Love to know why you want to know tbh, if it's a fishing expedition you'd have thought you'd have put more thought into it. if it's a genuine post then I of course apologise in advance and hope you find my response of interest. Something doesn't feel quite right here though..... Any other takers?
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
We've been all over this ones everal times - every time the RN has tried to go small or cheap the result has been a disaster. As it is the failure to implement cat and trap in the new carriers from the start will prevent cross-decking with our allies and is leading us towards a VSTOL aircraft with huge payload/range penalties - thus inhibiting our future reach (if indeed it ever achieves vertical takeoff with any payload at all!). If anything we ought to go bigger rather than smaller but we'd probably have to build a completely new dockyard facility somewhere completely new to support any larger ship. Anyway steel has long since ceased to be the the major cost consideration.
 
Methinks you are falling into the classic trap that half the ship costs half the money, but it doesn't work that way. The tin box is the cheap bit, what really costs you the money is the electronic systems, and you need much of that wheteher you ahd 10 planes or 100.

F18s are cheap because they are at the end of their life, it is unlikely they will be suitable for another major upgrade so buying F18s now would be saddling ourselves with out of date kit. The JSF on the other hand is at the beginning of it's life and thus has the capacity for update upgrade for some considerable time.

I think the reality is we have found the air wing on the Invinciibles is just too small and if we want to be in the game then we need to go as big as we can. The Yanks have shown just how powerful a carrier can be and whils matching theirs for size is out of our scope trading dowm from ourt current plans would probably be a real waste of money.

The real problem is that defence is underfunded for the tasks it is given and until that is resolved a creek and a paddle come to mind.
 

scouse

War Hero
Yes your quiet correct in your obsevations :thumright: and to add insult to injury these carriers are going to be built with no arrestor gear or cats or blast deflectors. Quote it might be possible to backfit them at a later stage.So no F35 or E2C oppo :w00t: :thumright:
 

Karma

War Hero
kinross_special said:
Love to know why you want to know tbh, if it's a fishing expedition you'd have thought you'd have put more thought into it. if it's a genuine post then I of course apologise in advance and hope you find my response of interest. Something doesn't feel quite right here though..... Any other takers?

Journalist looking for quotes springs to mind.
 
If you are unhappy with the cost, write to your MP to complain about the way that BAe Systems appear to have the MOD over a barrel as the only major defence contractor in the UK. Also question the way that MOD contracts are written.
Have a read of "Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs" for further clarification of the British Military Industrial machine. It'll make your blood boil.
 
I am not a journo and this is 100% genuine and I am not trying to pick a fight.

I am not unhappy with the money spent - I think the defence budget (or lack thereof) is a national discrace.

I am just genuinely of the opinion that the RN has been forced to sacrifice current and future capability for ships and systems we need but not at the scale we are currently building.

I agree my mathematics on costs are very rough, but surely if the QE class had gone smaller and CATOBAR then off the shelf fighters (the USN are considering more and upgraded F-18's in lieu of F-35's so they can't be all bad), would have generated savings, which if the Admirals were savvy could have been used for other things such as Type 45's.
 
scouse said:
Yes your quiet correct in your obsevations :thumright: and to add insult to injury these carriers are going to be built with no arrestor gear or cats or blast deflectors. Quote it might be possible to backfit them at a later stage.So no F35 or E2C oppo :w00t: :thumright:

Whats the bets that the RN suddenly decides the cats and traps are essential and get the extra cash to pay for the overpriced mod to the present design.
 

Oil_Slick

War Hero
The F-18 is anything but at the end of it's life. A newer 4.5 Gen version is in the works, stealthier, more range and bigger engines and will be in service for decades to come.

During the initial downselect, the only real advantage the JSF had over the F-18 was stealth, and for bombing sand people and their goats, stealth is not something that really figures large in the great scheme of things…

Buying F-18 would have been a 'right here, right now' option and RN and RAF squadrons could have been deployed to USN carriers already to get in deck ops experience. F-18 was more than good enough for the USN and is way more than good enough for us… we're not exactly in the 'Gold Card' kit buying club, are we?

STVOL F-35B choice is half baked at best, less range, smaller weapons load and 50% dearer than the genuine carrier version F-35C


CVF is an object lesson of what happens when you decide up front what you can't/won't do and build things down to that level. RAF said 'we can't/won't do cats and traps', so we bought the STVOL F-35B… and now the RAF is looking to buy the F-35C instead of the F35B to replace it's GR4's…

A classic MoD fvckup? You betcha!
 

scouse

War Hero
Is this the right kit that you mean monty :w00t: sorry to bore you all but i couldnt resist :thumright:
 

Karma

War Hero
unclemonty said:
....could have been used for other things such as Type 45's.

The MOD has to ask for the money it intends to spend, it doesn't just have a pot of cash that it can spend as it sees fit. Any savings on the CVF would not automagically come to MoD, never mind back to Fleet. Even if we spent less on the CVF then the RN is still in competition with the other two services.
 

Squeezable

Midshipman
what about a navalised version of the eurofighter a "sea typhoon" it would have "higher speed, range and payload, although it would be less stealthy and require a strengthened undercarriage and an arrestor hook, and possibly a larger thicker wing with power folding and more powerful vectored thrust EJ200 engines" . But with the problems with the F35 "building aircraft carriers without embarked aircraft is rather like building hospitals with no doctors".
 

finknottle

Banned
When deployed will there be accommodation space for that indispensable piece of kit for all carriers; The Bootie Band?
 

scouse

War Hero
finknottle said:
When deployed will there be accommodation space for that indispensable piece of kit for all carriers; The Bootie Band?
yes please! then a proper Procedure Alpha ? guard/band/planes/lining the deck :w00t: :thumright:
 
Naval Typhoons would be an even worse option than the F-35, even though the multi-role version the RAF are getting looks like being a superb piece of kit.

Firstly it hideously expensive and my original thread was questioning cost and capability - especially with the F-35.

Secondly Typhoon is such a complex piece of machinery, the aerodynamic changes to add on arrestor wires, folding wings etc would be a nightmare and the perfect escuse for BAe to add £10 million or so to the cost
 

scouse

War Hero
unclemonty said:
Naval Typhoons would be an even worse option than the F-35, even though the multi-role version the RAF are getting looks like being a superb piece of kit.

Firstly it hideously expensive and my original thread was questioning cost and capability - especially with the F-35.

Secondly Typhoon is such a complex piece of machinery, the aerodynamic changes to add on arrestor wires, folding wings etc would be a nightmare and the perfect escuse for BAe to add £10 million or so to the cost
Monty dont go all aerodynamics/ technical on us. you havent got a scubby do what it takes to run a flight/deck, along with a lot of Whizz kids that are involved with the project, no disrespect intended. Thats the major problem!! manpower and training :thumright:
 
scouse said:
Is this the right kit that you mean monty :w00t: sorry to bore you all but i couldnt resist :thumright:

I like the little "candles" around the edge. I suspect that they cost more to maintain and keep in trim than the hull cost! :lol:

PS: Unclemonty: the sailors decorating the ship are just the officers! ;)
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
There are very good reasons why the ships are the size they are, mainly to do with the size of strike, through-life margin for the ship and systems (albeit probably a bit much). As others have already pointed out, cost is not directly proportional to size and more importantly capability. The truth is that MoD spent three or four years between 2002 and 2005 trying to make Thales & BAES cut costs by making it smaller. The combined cost of that delay (not just the studies) was probably £350-500M, only to discover that the ships of that size did not have the required capability (which is what you're buying) and could not therefore be justified.

As for F35, the downselect has still not been made, which means there is still the outside possibility of cat n trap. Were I of a mischevious nature, I might speculate that ship no 2 might commission with C13s (or BS6s) and Mk7 or DA2 arrester engines, just as the Harrier goes out of service....... There is provision in the design for these.

Scouse has actually highlighted the big unknown - whether we have enough of the right trained bodies to run a deck chucking 100 or so sorties off a day in big packages. Current CVS with pre SHAR retirement TAG could get between 20 & 30. The whole air group & Air Dept/AE manpower issue has always been deeply worrying, but that would be the same whether you bought small ships rather than large ones.
 
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