CVF and Carrier Strike thread


@Yokel will be along, asking if it can do any 'full-blooded-Task-Group-ASW' in a minute.

Alternatively, he'll be pasting links to 1970's US Congress Sea Control rubbish: Same old stuff

To bite or not to bite...

Do you think the 1970s and 1980s documents relating to sea control in the Atlantic theatre were rubbish? The original document contained an interesting level of analysis, as did many of the subsequent ones that were linked to. What about the declassified US Navy war plans - which included the disposition of carriers during a period of transition to war and in any actual conflict - including British, French, and Spanish ones?

Why not try something a bit more up to date? Try this December 2018 paper from the Human Security Centre: Fire and Ice - A New Maritime Strategy for NATO's Northern Flank

On page 39: Despite delays, budget overruns and questions over their strategic purpose, Britain’s programme to procure a pair of 65,000 Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers is now well advanced, with the first vessel now deep into sea trials and the second expected to be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2019.

During the closing decade of the Cold War, the Royal Navy would have deployed a task group of ASW vessels led by one or two
Invincible class light aircraft carriers to the GIUK-Gap to support efforts to halt Soviet submarines from transiting into the North Atlantic. Carrying Sea King ASW helicopters and Sea Harrier combat aircraft, these ships would have arrived ahead of the main US-led Carrier Striking Force to hold the line, and subsequently acted to defend the wider fleet as it advanced north.

In contrast to the
Invincible class, the Queen Elizabeth class were designed with expeditionary operations in mind. As such, it was intended that they would focus on the delivery of fixed-wing offensive air power rather than ASW operations. With the return of the Russian threat, some have questioned whether these are the correct ships for the current era. But for the Royal Navy, the Queen Elizabeth class carriers are an avenue to make a major contribution to the NATO’s deterrence and defence force on its northern maritime flank, and present a number of significant advantages over their predecessors. Most notably, the air group they will carry – for wartime open-ocean operations expected to be around 24 F-35Bs and fourteen Merlin HM Mk2s helicopters for ASW and airborne early warning and control – will be far more potent than that previously available. Thus, the security of the North Atlantic SLOC could be quickly supported by a Royal Navy carrier group near the GIUK-Gap in a more robust and survivable manner during either a crisis or early in a conflict than was the case during the Cold War. Such an effort would also help mitigate the practical problem of the US now having fewer carriers and a focus on the Pacific and the Middle East, given that these issues extend the time it would take to bring US assets into theatre.

Possible Russian actions such as interdicting NATO's lines of communications with submarines and air launched missiles, and NATO responses (such as deploying a UK led ASW (and AAW?) task group centred around one of our carriers, are mentioned from page 54.

If you have a carrier in the Norwegian Sea doing things such as ASW, and using the embarked jets is the most reliable way of stopping a number of attack aircraft getting into a position to fire a salvo of anti ship missiles at the ships carrying the equipment for reinforcements, or perhaps our amphibious force, would it really be sensible to keep them on deck and hope for the best? Surely you would keep a couple of Lightnings loaded with air to air weapons on deck alert, if nothing else, when operating in an area with possible hostile aircraft? I think that @Not a Boffin was referring to this type of scenario, @ECMO1 has discussed it in a Cold War context (on the carriers/sea control thread), and others have eluded to it.

To my simple mind, all the carrier missions described sound like sea control - ASW, air defence, and striking hostile warships.
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So pleased that someone with a fair bit of knowledge, not just opinionated ignorance, has set the record straight in the Telegraph. Lt Page has never been the best of sources.

A secret cabal of shadowy mandarins conspiring to subvert the state. The armed forces deliberately hobbled by the enemies of the people, and the whole plot to emasculate Britain’s new aircraft carriers lent a satanic edge by the ring of 13 plotters devilling in the dark. I was interested to read the report by Mr Lewis Page, but I believe it owes more to John Buchan and the 39 Steps than to Jason Bourne or James Bond. Let me lift the veil on the workings of government a little and tell you my first hand account...


Paywalled, mate.

Any chance of doing the honours?
I will point out that F-35C were using steam Cat/Trap on deployment in 2022. EMALS has been used on the F-35 during USS Ford testing starting in 2011.


  • 1 Aug 2022 Telegraph Whitehall mandarins did not cripple Britain’s aircraft carriers – here’s...docx
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