CVF and Carrier Strike thread

unicorn77

War Hero
Historic comments:

"We'll never get them - cancellation coming soon."

"Oh, err...we'll never get them, the first will be sold as soon as it's built and the second will be cancelled."

"Oh, err... we'll never be able to put both at sea at the same time."

"Oh, err......."
 
It would be better to build three new Invincibles! Or thirty Black Swans!

(Seriously, didn't someone on here mention that the Army set up a literal office to brief the papers that the carriers wouldn't float in salt water etc back in 2010?)
 
Historic comments:

"We'll never get them - cancellation coming soon."

"Oh, err...we'll never get them, the first will be sold as soon as it's built and the second will be cancelled."

"Oh, err... we'll never be able to put both at sea at the same time."

"Oh, err......."
Yes, but they ain’t got no planes [sic]. :rolleyes:
 

Fedaykin

Old-Salt
It would be better to build three new Invincibles! Or thirty Black Swans!

(Seriously, didn't someone on here mention that the Army set up a literal office to brief the papers that the carriers wouldn't float in salt water etc back in 2010?)
They did indeed in the runup to the 2010 defence review. It was one of the great ironies of that particular review, at the time the usual people mostly retired RN and often associated with the Phoenix Think Tank were howling at the moon about the RAF and how it was a threat to the Navy and the Carriers, the reality was by that time the RAF was enthusiastically onboard for the Carriers as it ensured that F-35 would be procured allowing them a modern stealthy penetration strike capability. The true enemy of the carrier programme were several VSO within the Army who felt that the funding should be going on them as the UK would only ever be engaged in Counter Insurgency ops against poorly armed militia for ever more!
 

Yokel

LE
It would be better to build three new Invincibles! Or thirty Black Swans!

(Seriously, didn't someone on here mention that the Army set up a literal office to brief the papers that the carriers wouldn't float in salt water etc back in 2010?)

Perhaps they should have put more effort into Afghanistan?

They did indeed in the runup to the 2010 defence review. It was one of the great ironies of that particular review, at the time the usual people mostly retired RN and often associated with the Phoenix Think Tank were howling at the moon about the RAF and how it was a threat to the Navy and the Carriers, the reality was by that time the RAF was enthusiastically onboard for the Carriers as it ensured that F-35 would be procured allowing them a modern stealthy penetration strike capability. The true enemy of the carrier programme were several VSO within the Army who felt that the funding should be going on them as the UK would only ever be engaged in Counter Insurgency ops against poorly armed militia for ever more!

Not to mention CMD and Liam Fox, who did not do details.

A double whammy:

Will they be about to do simultaneous ASW operations? I am thinking Of HMS Prince of Wales and the upcoming Exercise Joint Warrior, and her NATO Response Force Role. According to The News (Portsmouth):

The latest exercise will see HMS Prince of Wales test her F-35B Lightning stealth fighters and four Merlin helicopters...
 
They did indeed in the runup to the 2010 defence review. It was one of the great ironies of that particular review, at the time the usual people mostly retired RN and often associated with the Phoenix Think Tank were howling at the moon about the RAF and how it was a threat to the Navy and the Carriers, the reality was by that time the RAF was enthusiastically onboard for the Carriers as it ensured that F-35 would be procured allowing them a modern stealthy penetration strike capability. The true enemy of the carrier programme were several VSO within the Army who felt that the funding should be going on them as the UK would only ever be engaged in Counter Insurgency ops against poorly armed militia for ever more!

Looking back it's extremely telling just how many important and influential people were repeating the same laugh-lines. An interesting test of how effective an actual exercise in official propaganda is.
 
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Yokel

LE
According to The News (Portsmouth):

The latest exercise will see HMS Prince of Wales test her F-35B Lightning stealth fighters and four Merlin....

Assuming that is four Merlin HM2s, will people stop saying that we cannot put a squadron of ASW helicopters aboard the carrier, as that will be eleven aboard the two carriers, so even if three only do the Crowsnest role, that leaves eight for ASW. Putting six Pingers aboard (the normal ASW Merlin squadron size) will be achievable



Also, the LRG(N) is taking part in JW122 - so this is an opportunity to show that the carrier can be used to protect other high value assets.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
According to The News (Portsmouth):

The latest exercise will see HMS Prince of Wales test her F-35B Lightning stealth fighters and four Merlin....

Assuming that is four Merlin HM2s, will people stop saying that we cannot put a squadron of ASW helicopters aboard the carrier, as that will be eleven aboard the two carriers, so even if three only do the Crowsnest role, that leaves eight for ASW. Putting six Pingers aboard (the normal ASW Merlin squadron size) will be achievable



Also, the LRG(N) is taking part in JW122 - so this is an opportunity to show that the carrier can be used to protect other high value assets.

So that’s the Merlin fleet maxed out and everyone else, including the ‘ASW Frigates‘ getting a wildcat.
 
According to The News (Portsmouth):

The latest exercise will see HMS Prince of Wales test her F-35B Lightning stealth fighters and four Merlin....

Assuming that is four Merlin HM2s, will people stop saying that we cannot put a squadron of ASW helicopters aboard the carrier, as that will be eleven aboard the two carriers, so even if three only do the Crowsnest role, that leaves eight for ASW. Putting six Pingers aboard (the normal ASW Merlin squadron size) will be achievable
Nope. We're going to keep saying that from a forward fleet of around 20 HM2, putting a total of 11 on the carriers leaves precious little for training, FF, Gannet. Particularly assuming the usual HM2 serviceability rate......

Noting also that 4 on PWLS is definitely sub-optimal (as is only 7 on QNLZ). No escaping it. Not enough frames currently. Might get away with it if 2SL plan to bin Crowsnest for UAV in medium term comes off. But a big if.......
 

Yokel

LE
I thought that the plan is that only one of the carriers would be in the 'Strike' role at any one time.

One of the WAFUs on here (@wafubustard or @flynavy I think) said that when Merlin was embarked aboard the CVS post 2000, six aircraft was the normal squadron size, in lieu of nine Sea Kings. I put forward the theory that the extra endurance of the Merlin compared to the Sea King meant that it could provide the same level of coverage with less aircraft.

Additionally the plan is the carrier will embark Jungly cabs to do much of the utility and SAR tasking that the Pingers did in the old days.
 
Not sure how much of that is relevant.

We have carrier strike group deployed with a suboptimal number of HM2. One contributor to this thread has held an almost rabid fascination as to when HM2 will be embarked aboard the other. Now it's finally happened (albeit with only four) this apparently constitutes proof that all is well.

Debates about SK vs Merlin numbers are irrelevant. What is relevant is that in putting 7 plus 4 to sea concurrently, there are precious few remaining to meet other tasking. If 824 have embarked on PWLS it will be good value training, but I fear the post embarkation recovery period may be painful.
 
It is yet another case of industry failing to deliver, having had us over a barrel.
 

Yokel

LE
Not sure how much of that is relevant.

We have carrier strike group deployed with a suboptimal number of HM2. One contributor to this thread has held an almost rabid fascination as to when HM2 will be embarked aboard the other. Now it's finally happened (albeit with only four) this apparently constitutes proof that all is well.

Debates about SK vs Merlin numbers are irrelevant. What is relevant is that in putting 7 plus 4 to sea concurrently, there are precious few remaining to meet other tasking. If 824 have embarked on PWLS it will be good value training, but I fear the post embarkation recovery period may be painful.

I have just checked to make sure that I am not foaming at the mouth. I am not, I just have an abscess.

I have not disputed any of your points, I was simply saying that we can put a viable ASW squadron aboard the carrier. We only have one carrier dedicated Merlin squadron, after all.

A seven month deployment to the other side of the World is always going to be challenging.

It is yet another case of industry failing to deliver, having had us over a barrel.

But surely spares and support are lucrative? They are for smaller suppliers anyway.
 
I don't think anyone has ever suggested that we can't embark a six cab squadron on a carrier.

What has frequently been suggested is that doing that AND embarking enough to support a Crowsnest capability will leave precious little for training, 2087 FF flights, Gannet etc. Let alone putting another squadron on the second carrier.

Not enough frames.
 
Not sure how much of that is relevant.

We have carrier strike group deployed with a suboptimal number of HM2. One contributor to this thread has held an almost rabid fascination as to when HM2 will be embarked aboard the other. Now it's finally happened (albeit with only four) this apparently constitutes proof that all is well.

Debates about SK vs Merlin numbers are irrelevant. What is relevant is that in putting 7 plus 4 to sea concurrently, there are precious few remaining to meet other tasking. If 824 have embarked on PWLS it will be good value training, but I fear the post embarkation recovery period may be painful.
As someone who hasn't one iota about the subject and I have no interest in going on Wiki and trying to make myself look smart.

How many would be the optimal number for the whole Merlin fleet to cover all taskings, maintenance downtime etc versus how many we have now?
 
Purely personal view.

We would probably need between 16-18 cabs to cover off both carriers. That does NOT include full Crowsnest capability on both, but allows for one fully enabled and one able to carry half a dozen or so, which could be augmented from the training sqn in extremis.

Ideally, you want one each for T26/T23 tail, so that's another 8. Then probably another 8-10 to cover off 824 training (including expansion for larger force and CN role).

That's basically 32-36 in the forward fleet, which means you need another 16-18 in depth/reserve. So a total of around 50 frames, give or take. We have 30. That's the scale of the problem.

Various very clever people are hoping that uncrewed technology will come along and reduce the number needed. Taking Crowsnest out of the equation might be possible by that route and would take 8-10 frames total off the overall number. Awfully Slow Warfare - particularly including classification/identification and weapon release - may be less amenable to being uncrewed.

Either way we're probably at least ten frames short and with availability issues, with no visible bucket of money to address them.
 

Yokel

LE
Having thought more about it, when the Invincible CVS was designed it was primarily for carrying Sea Kings for ASW. Did the specified level of ASW sorties dictate the number of Sea Kings embarked? That is the reason I wonder if six Merlins (five hours endurance) can achieve the same level of coverage as nine Sea Kings (four hours endurance) that are also performing utility and SAR roles.

In either WESTLANT18 or WESTLANT19, three Merlin HM2s were embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth and together with a frigate, they were able to provide 24 hour defence during an ASW exercise. A larger number of aircraft would allow the defence of a larger area - not just the carrier and close escorts but a task group or convoy. I assume that exercising and demonstrating the ability to protect amphibious forces and maritime logistics will be a key goal of JW122.

When the rotary wing elements of CSG21 were announced, I felt slightly disappointed than 820NAS only had four non Crowsnest aircraft. As such, just another two makes it look more viable, even if ASW and AEW are needed concurrently. It will be interesting to see how many aircraft are embarked aboard HMS Prince of Wales when she take up the NATO flagship role next year.

If the First Sea Lord was empowered and given the resources to get more ships to sea, then why not Merlins as they are so key to our ASW capabilities?
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Having thought more about it, when the Invincible CVS was designed it was primarily for carrying Sea Kings for ASW. Did the specified level of ASW sorties dictate the number of Sea Kings embarked? That is the reason I wonder if six Merlins (five hours endurance) can achieve the same level of coverage as nine Sea Kings (four hours endurance) that are also performing utility and SAR roles.

In either WESTLANT18 or WESTLANT19, three Merlin HM2s were embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth and together with a frigate, they were able to provide 24 hour defence during an ASW exercise. A larger number of aircraft would allow the defence of a larger area - not just the carrier and close escorts but a task group or convoy. I assume that exercising and demonstrating the ability to protect amphibious forces and maritime logistics will be a key goal of JW122.

When the rotary wing elements of CSG21 were announced, I felt slightly disappointed than 820NAS only had four non Crowsnest aircraft. As such, just another two makes it look more viable, even if ASW and AEW are needed concurrently. It will be interesting to see how many aircraft are embarked aboard HMS Prince of Wales when she take up the NATO flagship role next year.

If the First Sea Lord was empowered and given the resources to get more ships to sea, then why not Merlins as they are so key to our ASW capabilities?


The current operational tempo is unsustainable and will burn up the Merlin fleet.
 

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