CVF and Carrier Strike thread

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Adjutant, Mar 1, 2012.

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  1. Adjutant
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    Adjutant Old-Salt

    MOD Post - This is a merge of several CVF/F35 threads. Forum rules apply

    Guns



    From The Grauniad: (Richard Norton-Taylor)

    Britain's troubled and increasingly expensive plan to equip the navy with new aircraft carriers has been plunged into fresh turmoil as ministers consider reversing their earlier decision to change the type of plane that should fly from them, it has emerged.

    The government announced in last autumn's strategic defence review that it had decided to buy the "cats and flaps" (catapults and arrester gear) version of the US joint strike fighter. This would have a "longer range and greater payload ... the critical requirement for precision-strike operations in the future", the government stated.

    Moreover, the government added, it will be cheaper. It would also enable French planes to land on British carriers, and vice versa, inkeeping with the new UK-French defence spirit of co-operation.

    Now, in an extraordinary volte-face, the Ministry of Defence says the "cats and flaps" planes may well be cheaper but it would be too expensive to redesign a carrier – more than £1bn – to accommodate them. The ministry is thus faced with the prospect of renegotiating a deal with the US, reverting to its original plan – namely buying the short take-off and vertical landing version of the aircraft, even though it is acknowledged to be less effective and more expensive .

    The latest chapter in the troubled saga of Britain's future aircraft carriers – whose own estimated costs have soared – was raised on Thursday in a letter to the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, from Jim Murphy, his Labour opposite number.

    Murphy referred to "worrying suggestions" that the government was about to change its mind about the kind of aircraft to buy from the US. "It is vital that there is now clarity on the government's plans for this vital area of the defence equipment programme," he wrote.

    Murphy said the decision in the defence review to scrap the Harrier fleet meant the UK would have no carrier aircraft capability until 2020 – and then only one carrier would be operational.

    Defence officials said that the government was "re-assessing" its earlier decision because, they indicated, of pressures on the defence budget.

    HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first carrier, will be mothballed immediately it is launched in 2016, according to existing plans. The second, HMS Prince of Wales, will be able to put to sea by 2020, but it is not known how many planes will be able to fly from it – nor what kind.

    The two carriers, originally priced at £3.5bn, are now estimated to cost £6.2bn. According to the Commons public accounts committee, the cost is likely to icrease to as much as £12bn.

    The government, which originally said it wanted more than 100 joint strike fighters, says that it will have just six operational ones by 2020. The unit cost of the joint strike fighter, made by Lockheed Martin, has soared because of production problems and delays caused by US defence budget cuts. Britain's BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have big stakes in a future deal adapting the joint strike fighter for British forces.

    A spokesperson for the MoD said: "We are currently finalising the 2012-13 budget and balancing the equipment plan. As part of this process, we are reviewing all programmes, including elements of the carrier strike programme, to validate costs and ensure risks are properly managed. The defence secretary expects to announce the outcome of this process to parliament before Easter."
     
  2. No surprises there then.
     
  3. eodmatt
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    eodmatt LE

    How bloody embarrassing!
     
  4. Ancient_Mariner
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    Ancient_Mariner LE

    Wouldn't read too much into it. The Grun is turning into a left wing version of the Daily Mail. Not long ago they were comparing Tory cuts to the Holocaust.

    Best of all, they got the boot in with gusto to the government's work experience scheme, comparing it to slavery. Very soon after, they posted ads for their own scheme for black people to gain work experience as unpaid interns.

    Seems the Guardian believes that slavery is OK so long as all of your slaves are black.
     
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  5. Marc_St_Hilaire
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    Marc_St_Hilaire War Hero

    Remind me again, why did we get rid of the Harrier?
     
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  6. Oh Christ, not again. Please not another Harrier thread.
     
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  7. Marc_St_Hilaire
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    Marc_St_Hilaire War Hero


    Sorry!
     
  8. Adjutant
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    Adjutant Old-Salt

    I think JBM has a point - this is not another Harrie thread but a sad reflection of the state of thinking within the MoD. And if they're thinking like this for the Senior Service, heaven help us on Land.
     
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  9. Gassing_Badgers
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    Gassing_Badgers LE



    I'm nominating this for the "things that have made you cry" thread!
     
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  10. unicycle
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    unicycle Old-Salt

    I swear the MOD procument stratagy makes me want to gouge my eyes out, with a spoon!

    I don't know if it is true, but if it is I wouldn't be surprised in any way.

    £12b for 2 carriers? How much does a Nimitiz Class cost? Could we buy a second hand one? Or would that mean we would have to double the amount of people in the Navy just to man that one ship.

    *******
     
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  11. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the fucked up nature of the F-35 programme and CVN21.
     
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  12. cokecan
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    cokecan War Hero

    wouldn't disagree with that - or that in its normal fashion the MOD have fcuked up spectacularly.

    is this perhaps an opportunity for the F/A-18F to come screaming in the direction of CVF?
     
  13. History_Man
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    History_Man LE

    You couldn't make it up, could you? The obvious area to save wedge is on the aircraft themselves - buy the FA-18 to equip HMS Pow/Ark Royal/whatever it is this week; 24 airframes i.e. what the RAAF have leased should cover it and use the USN training pipeline to train the crews. Job jobbed.
     
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  14. toryboy
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    toryboy Old-Salt

    Thats far too ******* sensible though isn't it?

    I'll wait and see what the 'Thin Pinstriped Line' has to say on this matter before commenting on the story, there's always more to a story than the newspapers like to say, especially with the chuffing Guardian.
     
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  15. At some point we have to admit to ourselves that we've based our entire future plans for the RN round a single aircraft which appears to now be priced at roughly the same kind of level as unicorn tears or Pippa Middleton's CFT knickers and which has it's own future based entirely on the US' plans (as I can't see the UK being able to fund the STOVL type alone if the US decide not to proceed with it).

    I really don't see how we can continue along this road any more. We're making multi billion pound decisions that are entirely dependant on the US' military budget not being cut too far.

    It might well be time to decide to buy 50 odd F/A-18 instead and throw the cash saved into developing our own next generation UAVs to replace them with in 20 years. Otherwise we may end up with the two biggest helicopter carriers in history if the F-35B falls through.
     
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