Think we did send 3 Chinook as well via The Boatshed.If we are only talking helis, in this particular scenario a merchantman with the ISOs off deck or used as wind shields would suffice. Maybe the QE2 alongside to take on the rescued and spirit them to safety.
Obviously we haven't got HMY Britannia any more for such undertakings.
If we want to start hurtling around in fast air, with realistic payloads and fuel then we need a carrier. A real carrier. For exactly the reasons just mentioned. All well and good saying Malta or Cyprus. Wht about countries who flip us the bird when we enquire if we can launch a strike from their land?
A carrier is a movable base, that we can stage aircraft from, from which we can deliver a strike. If we bolt on Commando boats, stores ships and various combattants (ober-wasser und unter) then all of a sudden we have a Carrier Group. Much akin to what the spams already routinely use. And they have far more clout for gettng their way in some countries than we do.