Why are the Royal Navy's new carriers so expensive?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by AngryMonkey, Jan 16, 2010.

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  1. Just watching a documentary on the USS Ronald Reagan a Nimitz class 'Supercarrier' which apparantly only cost $4.5billion (£2.8ish billion) our nuclear powered and can carry 80+ aircraft. Just made me wonder why the Elizabeth II class aircraft carriers are supposedly going to cost £2.5billion a piece (I wait with baited breath for the numerous price hikes/fcuk ups that come with all government contracts in this country) whilst lacking nuclear power and only having half the aircraft capacity of their American counterparts? I'm aware that we'd be extremely unlikely to ever have to have 80 aircraft on a single carrier but surely if we're spending this much money its worth having the option available for emergencies? I'm all in favour of building our own carriers as opposed to buying them from abroad in order to maintain the construction capability but have to say it looks like the MOD has once again been mugged. However as I'm still only a wannabe I'm open to being corrected if I've gotten the wrong of the stick from those in the know.
     
  2. The Septics have been building these continusly since time imortal, they dont have to spend money getting the facilities set up and the people trained to build em. While steel is cheap and air is free the expensive stuff are the electronics and systems that are going to be state of the art for the most part. Plus we cant build anything bigger as we have nowhere to put them otherwise as they wont fit. The americans can make stupidly expensive stuff with cost overruns as well look at the DG1000.
     
  3. Good point I hadn't thought about the infrastructure costs. Just wondering if anyone knows how much the nuclear reactors cost to install and refill every 20 years compared to standard fuels costs for the same period. It would be interesting to know whether the powers that be decided against nuclear for geniune long term costs or because the initial installation costs are cheaper and their doing their normal routine of letting the increased future costs be the next governments problem.
     
  4. Here is a link to a General Accounting Office study on what you asked about. NSIAD 98-1

    Sorry that it is from 1998, but the recent hikes in fuel costs need to be considered in the comparison. Hope this helps.
     
  5. witsend

    witsend War Hero Book Reviewer

    We now produce cores which last the life-time of the hull. No need to refuel during a refit/LOP(R).
     
  6. The BIG reason our carriers are costing so much is that we spent 10 years fvcking about with endless redesigns, (like arbitraily lopping 100ft off the hull to try and save money, which has bitten us in the arse as it resulted in the speed dropping), to make the outcome fit what the Government had decided it was going to spend…

    Net result? If we'd built them as originally designed, we'd already have them for less than we've spent so far with nothing to show.

    The reason the Yanks can do it so cheap is they came up with a perfectly sensible answer in 1950, 1,100ft, 4 lifts, 4.5 acre deck and have been sticking to that basic design ever since.
     

  7. Pfft! Most of the systems will be the cheapest and most basic functionality we can get away with. They should be called the 'Fitted for but not with just about everything' class as just about everything they can leave off has been.
     
  8. Absolutely spot on. All of which has resulted from failure between 1998 and 2002 to update the budget profile which was based on two 40,000 tonne concept designs that were basically CVS on steroids and would not have generated the sorties required. The subsequent four years saw endless attempts to make the cost fit the old budget, while constantly prevaricating about the order. Result - the design team was disbanded at least once, through failure to agree a contract (later reconstituted at significant cost) and the inflation effect ensured there was no chance of bringing the price down. The insane practice of using system engineering speak to build a ship didn't help either......

    As for a tea-kettle, it was binned as an option in 1995/96 - perceived as too expensive, although to the best of my knowledge, no-one ever did a real comparison. It was all based on the decommissioning problems the cousins were having with their CGN and SSN/SSBN at the time, plus our utter inability to decide what to do with our decommissioned boats. That said, I doubt core H would last the life of these ships (~50yr) at the power levels required.

    Essentially they cost £5Bn because we've had to design them from scratch (several times!) and the government has consistently prevaricated on the order - cost never shrinks the longer you dither.
     

  9. I think we ended up with 4 redesigns in total… current one is Delta IIRC.
     
  10. Cheers for this ECMO1 extremely informative link. So nuclear a wee bit pricer, $8.1billion more over the 50 years (hopefully fuels not going to get that much more expensive!) as well as the bonus payments for nuclear techies. As I've said not in yet but the procurement people at the MOD seem to a complete shower of fcuking muppets. Is this mainly a military body or civil service cnuts?
     


  11. And don't go pointing the finger exclisively at the CS, .Mil have to take a lot of the flak too for many of the fiascos, asking for champagne when it's obvious the budget only stretches to chardonnay.
     
  12. The government must be under some pressure to secure UK jobs.
    I've no idea how many aircraft carriers there are but they are a specialised aquisition, something that never comes reasonable (only people are cheap).
    Shipbuilding in the UK has been shredded, but many of our neighbouring countries still have a good and solid industry. Is it not possible to join up with them to make the same product, still with a UK input, at reduced cost.
     
  13. The only reason we are still discussing these proposed Carriers at any cost is because there is an elction coming up shortly and the votes of the shipbuilders are required.Don't be misled by statements saying the project is too far advanced to be cancelled or it will cost more to cancel than complete.It isn't and it won't. :(
     
  14. Fishhead, how far exactly along is the construction of the carriers (or not)?
     
  15. I think the steel has been ordered but I'm uncertain if the keels have been laid.I'm sure somone with inside knowledge wil be along to give us an update.
     
  16. well the first steel was cut on the 7 of july 2009 so how far along they is anyone's guess.
     
  17. Does anyone actually know the breakdown in defence spending between the the RN, Army and the RAF in recent years? I have had a look but it seems an accurate figure for the split is hard to find.
     
  18. See earlier fiasco (which actually turned out OK for us) when the Foul and most Foreign were invited to cough £100M for the design so they could have a companion for Charles de Gaulle. When their Chief Naval Architect saw what they got (essentially a concept design!) for their euros he was reportedly apopletic! So not all bad with the programme then. There's also the slight issue that other than Pierre, no-one else in Europe has a requirement for ships of this size and capability.

    The cost would be the same if the nice (and very capable) people at Fincantieri or Navantia built it, or even Aker for example. You'd still be building it in different sites and stitching it together, but would have p1ssed away three years of commercial and production activity and would need to spend similar again.

    The thing people are missing with all the "what if's?" is that they're irrelevant. There is NO plan B for naval aviation and no means of getting one before the CVS and GR9 run out of life. we either get CVF and something to fly off it, or the Foo's collapse onto a reduced size 815 and 829 doing ships flights and HDS, cos that's all they'll get.

    As for how far advanced QE is, there are several bits of steel littering Rosyth, with a lot more going on in Appledore (first steel cut in Dec 08 I think). Can't speak for the Clyde, but am also reasonably sure there's steel going through Palmers sheds on the Tyne as well.

    Oh - and people are NEVER cheap, unless you're in China/Vietnam/Phillippines. Labour cost is likely to be 60% plus of the ship.
     
  19. Yawn!!! The "Carriers" are not expensive, they aint built yet, plus the fact they wont be, and even if they ever were, the Navy wont get one to itself for keepsies, it,ll be rented out in part to Pierre or Fritz, whilst t'other one will be stuck on four bricks as a "just in case" jobby :roll: :roll: :roll:
     
  20. Why are they so expensive?


    'Cos Big And Expensive were/are involved in all the early work! :roll:
     

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