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Does/did The Rn Need Qe Class Aircraft Carriers.


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#21 Rick

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 0551 AM

The original idea was to have both operational. Although I have to say, even in 1998, that was pretty optimistic.There are still vague comments made that we plan to keep 2 operational at once, though one may (or may not) be used as an LPH. I guess it depends on how the funding shakes down. It was the reason why we struck HMS Ocean.

 

Id have prefered to keep at least one of the Invincibles in repair in mothballs, just so we had three to cover all bases. Although clearly the money obsessed Cameron regime scrapped them all as soon as they could manage. Twat.

What were the foreign policy decisions that decided Great Britain needed two aircraft carriers?


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#22 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 0600 AM

Post cold war environment. People forget that even before 911, we were seldom out of the middle east bombing Iraq or somebody that needed bombing (search operation Desert Fox and you will see what I mean). The memory of the Falklands loomed large, as did the suspicion that if we had a large carrier we never had to fight it at all. But also in 1999, we had the operation in Sierra Leone which would probably have benefited from having a decent sized carrier off shore. As it was, part of the air support was provided by a Rhodesian Mercenary pilot flying  a Mil24. Nice guy apparently, but not really the way the British Government likes to do its wars, or at least the stand up ones anyway.

 

As for why a large carrier and not an invincible follow on, well the British harriers had problems operating in hot climates which all these were. They did envisage holding onto the  the GR9's until we got the new carriers, so maybe they envisaged that a larger deck would make flying on easier, rather than having to hover. Pure speculation on my part though. Im not sure the GR9 had as many problems with hovering as the Sea harrier did anyway.

 

Of course, all these kind of operations can still happen tomorrow, so the requirement hasnt gone away. Whether the political will to undertake them post Afghanistan and Iraq, well thats another matter. I know at least one candidate for the Conservative party has questioned the need for Aircraft Carriers, and im sure the opposition is no different. OTOH, what do you do with an aircraft carrier you ahve bought and paid for? My view is use it, but of course, opinions vary.


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#23 GregShaw

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1213 PM

What were the decisions the British government made that decided they needed two aircraft carriers?

One is none, two is one.


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#24 Nobu

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1353 PM

Along the same vein, buying it cheap means buying it twice when it is truly needed.


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#25 rmgill

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1603 PM

See my problem is this, and Chris (and I do not mock his self evident intelligence) doesnt see it. I would not, as things stand, buy these. 20 years ago, they made perfect sense. Today, less so. But having made the investment to buy 130000 tons of portable British real estate, the fashionable argument is, well lets get rid of them. Lets spend the money on something we need now, like more tanks.

 

So we sell them, or scrap them. We spend the next 10 years buy Leopard 2's off Germany, then Putin's Russia falls over, and we suddenly have a lot of tanks we dont need. And we have to transition. Again.

 

We never fight the wars we expect to fight with the equipment we need. There is always a lag, particularly when equipment gets more complicated. But having made THIS investment, my view is, find out how to use it for the requirements we need. We still need to strike places abroad. We still need to do humanitarian relief. We still need to keep Russia in check. So rather than us being so desperately unimaginative and throwing away what is presently unfashionable, lets figure out how to use it to best advantage. There is a lot we can do with these, if we free ourselves from the mindset we need a big army (which we also can no longer afford) and the only threats we face are in Europe. Because, they arent. Ask the Australians who the threat is these days.

 

One thing I can tell you, we get rid of these, we wont put the money back into defence. That 20 year investment to procure them will be gone. All the money we will get back will be the running costs. Not inconsiderable, but surely not anything like enough to transition to the big army we need to defend Europe, when best I can tell, Europe seems pretty glad to be shot of us. I look back at all the years we kept an Army defending West Germany, and what did we get for that investment? Not very much.Why repeat old mistakes, when Europe is self evidently up to defending itself, if it feels like it.

 

These are all political arguments, not military ones. But so are the arguments for trimming investment or even removing the capability. The arguments against Britains aircraft carriers always have been.

You need a tool box that has the tools you need ahead of time. 

Best to find money to fund both tanks, aircraft and ships to get them there. Plus men. 

 


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#26 rmgill

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1605 PM

 

The original idea was to have both operational. Although I have to say, even in 1998, that was pretty optimistic.There are still vague comments made that we plan to keep 2 operational at once, though one may (or may not) be used as an LPH. I guess it depends on how the funding shakes down. It was the reason why we struck HMS Ocean.

 

Id have prefered to keep at least one of the Invincibles in repair in mothballs, just so we had three to cover all bases. Although clearly the money obsessed Cameron regime scrapped them all as soon as they could manage. Twat.

What were the foreign policy decisions that decided Great Britain needed two aircraft carriers?

 

It's not foreign policy. It's operational reality.

2 is 1, 1 is none. 

Realistically you need three. 

3 means you can
Have one ready to go.
One Training/back and port. 
One in re-fit/repair/SLEP/etc. 

 


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#27 Panzermann

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1656 PM

Granted, but how much of that was due to 3 relatively poorly equipped if well trained mech infantry divisions, and rather more to do with the fact they never planned to anyway?

Looking at the history of the 1980's, wouldnt a couple of large sized RN carriers have proven of inestimable more value in areas like the Med or the Persian Gulf? Grenada, the Falklands, would they have even happened if there had been an RN presence? Perhaps not.

 

I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.

 

HM government sucks at foreign politics?


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#28 Chris Werb

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1758 PM

Yes, I completely agree they're what we're stuck with and not what would be most useful to us now. I also agree that we keep swinging back and forth on what is the most important scenario or set thereof, to us. Ideally we would, as Ryan suggests, indeed have three carriers to guarantee generating one or six for two, but in 1982 we managed to field both our flat tops and both our LPDs, so it can be done, at a push. 

 

The fact of the matter is that I don't think many people here care about whether we can mount port visits to Japan or re-take the Falklands, let alone go up against China as some of our politicians seem to think we can. They care about the usual things - the economy, the NHS and other social progammes, knife crime (or perceptions thereof), farm subsidies and things that directly affect them. If you polled a hundred people, I doubt more than two or three would put countering Russia at the top of their list of priorities, let alone bombing terrorists in the Middle East. 

 

So, funds are going to be relatively limited for the forseeable future and we need to come up with a defence policy that does a little bit of everything within the budget our population is willing to fund. This has already caused a massive funding black hole. We have those carriers and I'm sure we'll get good use out of them, but are they really what was needed for almost anything we could ever need them to do now or in the forseeable future? That's where me and Stuart differ.


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#29 Josh

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1811 PM

I admit not to reading this thread, but I kept up on the previous highkack. Considering the things are already made and I doubt anyone would by them (not even India) doesnt it make sense to keep regardless? Throw some B-61-12 on them. Im sure the the US would provide at cost if you were up for maintenance and services. We share Trident; tactical nukes with huge flexibility on low RCS a/c seems like a perfect way to stay dangerous and relevant, on top of anything else.
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#30 Chris Werb

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 1818 PM

I admit not to reading this thread, but I kept up on the previous highkack. Considering the things are already made and I doubt anyone would by them (not even India) doesnt it make sense to keep regardless? Throw some B-61-12 on them. Im sure the the US would provide at cost if you were up for maintenance and services. We share Trident; tactical nukes with huge flexibility on low RCS a/c seems like a perfect way to stay dangerous and relevant, on top of anything else.

 

The resurgent TLAM-N would offer much the same deterrent capability, much more survivably (for the platform), with far greater availability (7 subs vs 2 carriers) at far less cost.


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#31 rmgill

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 2030 PM

If you have 2 and one is in refit, you have 1, might take you a week or three. 

If you have 1 and it's in refit you have 0. 

If you have 3 and one is in refit, you have 2. 

One needs spool up time, one needs a week to crash action, crew, stores, the birds, supplies and everything else to get going. 

Refits involve things like being in dry-dock, with the ship up on blocks and critical parts of the engineering plant laid out on deck waiting for something to be made or assembled somewhere else. You're not going anywhere unless you are willing to cut safety factors and bulldoze through 80 years of accumulated red tape and process that makes such evolutions as the crash repairs to Big-E in WWII possible. 


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#32 Josh

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 2238 PM

 

I admit not to reading this thread, but I kept up on the previous highkack. Considering the things are already made and I doubt anyone would by them (not even India) doesnt it make sense to keep regardless? Throw some B-61-12 on them. Im sure the the US would provide at cost if you were up for maintenance and services. We share Trident; tactical nukes with huge flexibility on low RCS a/c seems like a perfect way to stay dangerous and relevant, on top of anything else.

 

The resurgent TLAM-N would offer much the same deterrent capability, much more survivably (for the platform), with far greater availability (7 subs vs 2 carriers) at far less cost.

 

 

Can't argue that, but you have two carriers now. Whether you want them or not.


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#33 R011

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 2324 PM

I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.

 

In spite of de Gaulle's posturing, France was still a NATO member.  There was a large and well equipped army and air force essentially on the German border ready to join in if needed, a strong navy, and a decent nuclear deterrent.  IIRC, French defence spending was not far off the UK's.

 

Of curse, they were all cheese-eating surrender monkeys as they were in 1792-1815, 1870, 1914-18 and 1939-45  unlike those ever victorious Germans who won one out of three major wars they fought.


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#34 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 0201 AM

 

I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.

 

In spite of de Gaulle's posturing, France was still a NATO member.  There was a large and well equipped army and air force essentially on the German border ready to join in if needed, a strong navy, and a decent nuclear deterrent.  IIRC, French defence spending was not far off the UK's.

 

Of curse, they were all cheese-eating surrender monkeys as they were in 1792-1815, 1870, 1914-18 and 1939-45  unlike those ever victorious Germans who won one out of three major wars they fought.

 

 

It was still a NATO member, and it still trained with West Germany alone on West German territory. However, it might had a large Army, but it was not to my mind better equipped than BAOR. Compared AMX30 to Chieftain and you see my point. Its force structure was all wrong, there was an obsession with having Divisions which amounted when you looked at it as little more than Brigades.

 

This is poor value compared to what NATO was getting out the UK at the time, which wasnt just a Corp headquarters and units in West Germany, we had 2 brigades assigned to operations on NATO's flanks, and up to 1981, we still provided a chunk of SACEUR's TNF capability with V bombers in the UK. Until the 1970's, we even had them within strike range of Crimea, based in Cyprus. What we got for all that, politically, has been distinctly second rate, compared to what the French got for little more than a lick and a promise. The French by contrast were doing everything we werent doing, investing in big carriers, spending time on out of area operations outside NATO. When we proposed doing that, the West Germans shit a brick.

 

Weighing it up, considering the foreign policy problems we have had in the 1970's and the 1980's, we would have got far more out of a well equipped navy with 2 or more large carriers, than we would basing all that in Europe. Alright, thats retrospective reasoning based on there NOT being a Third World War. But looking back on it, BAOR was a poor investment we never saw a return on. Never will now. And still the argument is, lets invest more in basing in Europe, lets put Europe first. Why? We did that since 1945, and I see absolutely no return or respect for any that we did.

 

Im all for working with NATO, but lets do it on the flanks, with seapower. Its far more to our capablities, and God Knows MOD is never going to fund more than a token Armoured Force now. We may as well take what we have and max it out, and be a little more French.


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#35 Chris Werb

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 0905 AM

If you have 2 and one is in refit, you have 1, might take you a week or three. 

If you have 1 and it's in refit you have 0. 

If you have 3 and one is in refit, you have 2. 

One needs spool up time, one needs a week to crash action, crew, stores, the birds, supplies and everything else to get going. 

Refits involve things like being in dry-dock, with the ship up on blocks and critical parts of the engineering plant laid out on deck waiting for something to be made or assembled somewhere else. You're not going anywhere unless you are willing to cut safety factors and bulldoze through 80 years of accumulated red tape and process that makes such evolutions as the crash repairs to Big-E in WWII possible. 

 

It's a lot more complicated than that. Here's an interesting article about some work Rand did on maintenance cycles for CVNs. Ours aren't nuclear - I'm not sure whether that would have a positive or negative effect. 


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#36 Chris Werb

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 0908 AM

 

ck on it, BAOR was a poor investment we never saw a return on. Never will now. And still the argument is, lets invest more in basing in Europe, lets put Europe first. Why? We did that since 1945, and I see absolutely no return or respect for any that we did.

 

 

 

There was a strong argument that Germany could have generated the same amount of forces for the same money we spent on BAOR. However, we needed to have a large number of our people there essentially as hostages, so that, if the shit hit the fan, we would have no option to seek a separate peace with Russia.  Historically we will never know whether the ploy worked or not, but we do know that it didn't fail. :)


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#37 rmgill

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 1050 AM

It's a lot more complicated than that.


Of course it is. That's the tank net executive summary for folks who don't actually touch things from a logistics perspective. I work on an environment that's fractioanlly as complicated as a carrier. We have the engineering plant, the communications systems and the transmitters, but none of the explody/flying stuff.

 

Here's an interesting article about some work Rand did on maintenance cycles for CVNs. Ours aren't nuclear - I'm not sure whether that would have a positive or negative effect.


Well, internal combustion plants have their own set of operational requirements and maintenance cycles.

They key takeaway is that you have availability that's not 24/7/365 for something as complex as a carrier. There's more than the hardware too. There's the human factor in that.

Edited by rmgill, 03 July 2019 - 1050 AM.

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#38 Panzermann

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 1107 AM

 

I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.

 
In spite of de Gaulle's posturing, France was still a NATO member.  There was a large and well equipped army and air force essentially on the German border ready to join in if needed, a strong navy, and a decent nuclear deterrent.  IIRC, French defence spending was not far off the UK's.

 


There were also french units stationed in the southwest of Germany during the cold war. What France wanted was complete control over their nuclear weapons and not let the americans meddle in them. Also they asked the americans to leave France. But they were still part of NATO as they still are. Actually the French showed much more spine than the UK ever had within NATO.

 

Of curse, they were all cheese-eating surrender monkeys as they were in 1792-1815, 1870, 1914-18 and 1939-45  unlike those ever victorious Germans who won one out of three major wars they fought.


I hate that meme. Really, the french nearly lost once in WW! and two times against Germany in 1871 and 1940, but France was never seen as weak or easy enemy. The american ignorance is strong in this meme.


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#39 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 1124 AM

 

 

I have to look at all the years we spent defending Europe since 1945, and reflect in light of Brexit, we have got relatively little out of that investment. Meanwhile the French who did as little as they could to defend Europe when it seemingly mattered, are now the cornerstone of European politics. There is a lesson there I think.

 
In spite of de Gaulle's posturing, France was still a NATO member.  There was a large and well equipped army and air force essentially on the German border ready to join in if needed, a strong navy, and a decent nuclear deterrent.  IIRC, French defence spending was not far off the UK's.

 


There were also french units stationed in the southwest of Germany during the cold war. What France wanted was complete control over their nuclear weapons and not let the americans meddle in them. Also they asked the americans to leave France. But they were still part of NATO as they still are. Actually the French showed much more spine than the UK ever had within NATO.

 

Of curse, they were all cheese-eating surrender monkeys as they were in 1792-1815, 1870, 1914-18 and 1939-45  unlike those ever victorious Germans who won one out of three major wars they fought.


I hate that meme. Really, the french nearly lost once in WW! and two times against Germany in 1871 and 1940, but France was never seen as weak or easy enemy. The american ignorance is strong in this meme.

 

 

There was no reason for the French to leave the military command side of NATO to achieve control of their nuclear weapons. We managed to have our Polaris under NATO command and national command. Which was a complete fudge, and it worked. It would have worked for the French too, but national prestige clearly took precidence over other considerations, like collective security. De Gaulle was like that.

 

Spine, well as far as Macmillans capitulating to Eisenhower over basing of American Boomers at Faslane, thats true. But what did we get out of that? Access to American ballistic missile technology on the cheap in perpetuity. Secondly, NATO was about collective security, not national showboating. I find it curious that the UK is pilloried over its behaviour in the EU, which I agree with Europeans to be honest, when its no more aggregious and self serving than what the French did in NATO all those years.

 

As for the French military prowess, I respect all the fallen that fought and died for France in both the world war. And still, I cannot rid myself of the thought that the main reason one of my Grandfathers spent 5 years in a cooler, and the other went swimming at Dunkirk was primarily due to the lack of French military prowess. I dont blame Frances soldiers for that, but their Generals and Politicians certainly were to blame. And even when we withdrew at Dunkirk and still kept on fighting in the rest of France right up to the armistice, the blame game of the British being directly responsible for French failure was already being laid.

 

I like and respect the French, but they are truly the most ungrateful bloody nation in Europe, they really are.


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#40 Chris Werb

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 1137 AM

 

It's a lot more complicated than that.


Of course it is. That's the tank net executive summary for folks who don't actually touch things from a logistics perspective. I work on an environment that's fractioanlly as complicated as a carrier. We have the engineering plant, the communications systems and the transmitters, but none of the explody/flying stuff.

 

Here's an interesting article about some work Rand did on maintenance cycles for CVNs. Ours aren't nuclear - I'm not sure whether that would have a positive or negative effect.


Well, internal combustion plants have their own set of operational requirements and maintenance cycles.

They key takeaway is that you have availability that's not 24/7/365 for something as complex as a carrier. There's more than the hardware too. There's the human factor in that.

 

 

Ryan, you seem to be writing for the benefit of people who have spent their lives in a remote valley in Papua New Guinea. Thank you for deigning to explain that carriers are complex things that require a lot of maintenance. I'll get back to hunting birds of paradise with my home made blowgun now. 


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