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Old 18th August 2018, 11:20 PM   #1
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Rule Britannia

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
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Old 19th August 2018, 01:33 AM   #2
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The purpose is to prevent an EU invasion of the UK once the Brexit is completed
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Old 19th August 2018, 02:30 AM   #3
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Or to ship a shedload of relief aid in.
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Old 19th August 2018, 02:57 AM   #4
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I suppose we have enough stuff to protect it? What do you need, a couple of missile destroyers/frigates plus a nuclear sub I suppose. What do the Americans use?
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Old 19th August 2018, 03:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
Argentina has not given up its claim on the Falklands / Malvinas, Spain has not given up its claim on Gibralatar, after Brexit France may renew its claim on Jersey.

After Brexit it appears UK aircraft will not be able to operate from EU airbases, so other than the Crown bases on Cyprus if the UK is to support NATO in terms of airpower it will have to be from aircraft carriers.
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Old 19th August 2018, 03:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
I suppose we have enough stuff to protect it? What do you need, a couple of missile destroyers/frigates plus a nuclear sub I suppose. What do the Americans use?
"As of August 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy. 20 of the commissioned vessels are major surface combatants (six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates and one aircraft carrier), and 10 are nuclear-powered submarines (four ballistic missile submarines and six fleet submarines)."
Probably just about enough, even ignoring probable allied contributions to any naval action.
Also in the process of being commisioned;
"There are as of August 2018 thirteen Royal Navy ships and submarines under construction: four Astute-class submarines (boats 4-7), one Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarine (boat 1 of 4), one Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier (ship 2 of 2), one Type 26 frigate (ships 3 of 8) and four ocean-going patrol vessels (ships 2-5). Early design and preparation work has begun on a fleet of at least five frigates known as the Type 31e. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary will receive a further two Tide-class tankers by the end of the decade, which are presently under construction/being fitted out."

Courtesy of Wikipedia.
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Old 19th August 2018, 03:30 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
A little from column A, a little from column B. The thing has an effect just by existing regardless of how effective it actually is.



Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
I suppose we have enough stuff to protect it? What do you need, a couple of missile destroyers/frigates plus a nuclear sub I suppose. What do the Americans use?
"A carrier strike group[1] (CSG) is an operational formation of the United States Navy. It is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, an aircraft carrier, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_strike_group


I think the expectation is that the accompanying ships wouldn't all be RN. I'm not sure about this though.


Using the inferior version of the F35 is the largest issue with it in an operational sense, I think.



There's also a reasonable discussion to be had that the aircraft carrier will go the same way as the battleship very soon.
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Old 19th August 2018, 03:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Argentina has not given up its claim on the Falklands / Malvinas, Spain has not given up its claim on Gibralatar, after Brexit France may renew its claim on Jersey.

After Brexit it appears UK aircraft will not be able to operate from EU airbases, so other than the Crown bases on Cyprus if the UK is to support NATO in terms of airpower it will have to be from aircraft carriers.
Surely they will be able to use NATO member bases as they can now? The EU is not a member of NATO but has a strategic partnership, many countries in the EU are members.
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Old 19th August 2018, 04:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
A little from column A, a little from column B. The thing has an effect just by existing regardless of how effective it actually is.





"A carrier strike group[1] (CSG) is an operational formation of the United States Navy. It is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, an aircraft carrier, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_strike_group


I think the expectation is that the accompanying ships wouldn't all be RN. I'm not sure about this though.


Using the inferior version of the F35 is the largest issue with it in an operational sense, I think.



There's also a reasonable discussion to be had that the aircraft carrier will go the same way as the battleship very soon.
There's no doubt that the decision to go with the jump jet version was a huge mistake.
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Old 19th August 2018, 04:15 AM   #10
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Have the US F-35B test aircraft pilots been told to land on the left hand side of the road?
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Old 19th August 2018, 04:21 AM   #11
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Can it be retrofitted for Drones?
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Old 19th August 2018, 04:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
A little from column A, a little from column B. The thing has an effect just by existing regardless of how effective it actually is.





"A carrier strike group[1] (CSG) is an operational formation of the United States Navy. It is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, an aircraft carrier, at least one cruiser, a destroyer squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrier_strike_group


I think the expectation is that the accompanying ships wouldn't all be RN. I'm not sure about this though.


Using the inferior version of the F35 is the largest issue with it in an operational sense, I think.



There's also a reasonable discussion to be had that the aircraft carrier will go the same way as the battleship very soon.

You just have to look at the advance of the drones on land. The return of the Kamikaze at sea, I guess.
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Old 19th August 2018, 07:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Have the US F-35B test aircraft pilots been told to land on the left hand side of the road?
The article mentioned that the planes were RAF.
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Old 19th August 2018, 07:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
The article mentioned that the planes were RAF.
Uh, no:
Quote:
During the 65,000-tonne carrier's trip it will embark two US F-35B test aircraft, based in Maryland.
You probably saw this part:
Quote:
The first of the UK's joint Royal Navy and RAF F-35B supersonic jets arrived from the US in June and are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

Testing with these aircraft is expected to take place onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.
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Old 19th August 2018, 08:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
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Old 19th August 2018, 08:26 AM   #16
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Old 24th August 2018, 05:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
It is the largest and by far the most powerful and capable aircraft carrier the Royal Navy has ever had. For comparison, the Invincible class were the ships that operated in the Falklands. Invincible carried twelve helicopters and eight fighters. The Queen Elizabeth class can carry up to double that number, and has the space to operate them far more efficiently - much greater supplies of spares, fuel, etc, and much more space to move around.

In addition, the F-35 is light years ahead of a Harrier in pretty much every way.

That said, the US carriers are about 50% larger still, can carry almost twice as many aircraft, have catapults and arrestor gear which mean jets that can carry bigger loads and go further with them (though neither actually work very well on the newest class), and are nuclear powered, which eliminates the need to refuel the ship (though the advantage of that is mitigated by the need to refuel the escorts and the fighters).

So all in all, they fall in-between what we used to have and what the US has, though probably more towards the latter than the former.

There's also a few ways in which the QE is potentially going to be better than US carriers... if those aspects do work out as well as hoped. Example : the twin island concept, with one forward to steer the ship from and one aft to control the aircraft from. Potentially great idea there... if it works out okay.

Or the weapons handling - on US ships weapons are taken out of the magazines on trolleys by hand and pushed into lifts and then raised to the flight deck. Manpower intensive. QE's magazine has a system akin to the package retrieval system used in modern warehouses. You push a button for the bombs you want and a robot arm pulls them out and delivers them to the flight deck, no human hands involved. Great manpower saver... if it works.

All in all, it's a potentially great ship with some very smart thinking. It remains to be seen how well that potential translates into reality.
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Old 25th August 2018, 03:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by RolandRat View Post
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-45226387

How "good" is this vessel and the aircraft that are based on it? Does it actually serve a real purpose or is it just an expensive white elephant?
We had big carriers up with Phantoms and Buccaneers until the 1970s, then down-sized to smaller ones with Harriers just in time for Argentina to read that as a signal that we weren't interested or capable of keeping control of the Falklands. Having the new carriers allows us to project force and protect our remaining commitments around the word. Remember that in the 1970s, when Guatamala was threatening to invade and "reclaim" the nascent Belize in its transition from British Honduras, all it took was one of our carriers to rock up and sit off the coast to dissuade them.

However, the ships have much wider capabilities than just being a big stick, not least in their capacity to be used for disaster and humanitarian relief. It has 1,600 bunks, but thanks to the wide use of automation operates on a crew of less than 700, plus 250 Marines. Contrast this with the new US carriers, with a complement of over 4,250.
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Old 25th August 2018, 03:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
After Brexit it appears UK aircraft will not be able to operate from EU airbases, so other than the Crown bases on Cyprus if the UK is to support NATO in terms of airpower it will have to be from aircraft carriers.
Sorry, but that's nonsense. Use of bases in other NATO countries has nothing to do with the EU.
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Old 25th August 2018, 05:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Argentina has not given up its claim on the Falklands / Malvinas, Spain has not given up its claim on Gibralatar, after Brexit France may renew its claim on Jersey.

After Brexit it appears UK aircraft will not be able to operate from EU airbases, so other than the Crown bases on Cyprus if the UK is to support NATO in terms of airpower it will have to be from aircraft carriers.
There's nothing about the UK leaving NATO attached to Brexit. The UK will be able to use the air bases it always had as a member of the alliance. I'm having a bit of a hard time seeing Spain or France attempting to make their claims militarily. Argentina, well, there is a bit of a history there.
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Old 25th August 2018, 05:45 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
There's nothing about the UK leaving NATO attached to Brexit. The UK will be able to use the air bases it always had as a member of the alliance. I'm having a bit of a hard time seeing Spain or France attempting to make their claims militarily. Argentina, well, there is a bit of a history there.
Isn't there a squadron of Eurofighters based in the Falklands? I don't suppose the carrier would be needed. If Argentina started to rattle the sabres again the islands could be quickly reinforced.

Last edited by Diablo; 25th August 2018 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 25th August 2018, 07:26 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
Isn't there a squadron of Eurofighters based in the Falklands? I don't suppose the carrier would be needed. If Argentina started to rattle the sabres again the islands could be quickly reinforced.
Indeed - it isn't the 20 odd Royal Marines and HMS Endurance.
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Old 25th August 2018, 07:10 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
Isn't there a squadron of Eurofighters based in the Falklands?
There is a "squadron" of four Typhoons in the Falklands.

Quote:
I don't suppose the carrier would be needed. If Argentina started to rattle the sabres again the islands could be quickly reinforced.
Argentina doesn't really have much in the way of sabres to rattle these days. Their airforce has exactly no fast jets - they keep announcing they are going to buy some, but the deals all fall through because the sellers generally expect to be paid for them, and Argentina isn't really down with that.

Their navy isn't much better off, with ships spontaneously sinking whilst at the dockside. And of course, their submarines are of the sort that have no problem going down, but a little more difficulty in coming up again.

I wonder whether tactical fighters actually could fly from the UK to the Falklands. Even with tanker support that's a hell of a trip to do in one go. Ascension helps, of course, but even then it's a big trip. And the Ascension airfield isn't in great condition. IIRC, the fighters in the Falklands tend to be shipped there as cargo rather than flown.
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Old 26th August 2018, 01:19 PM   #24
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Old 26th August 2018, 01:32 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Sorry, but that's nonsense. Use of bases in other NATO countries has nothing to do with the EU.
Correct. Why this comes up in Brexit discussions is beyond me.
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Old 26th August 2018, 01:35 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
There is a "squadron" of four Typhoons in the Falklands.


Argentina doesn't really have much in the way of sabres to rattle these days. Their airforce has exactly no fast jets - they keep announcing they are going to buy some, but the deals all fall through because the sellers generally expect to be paid for them, and Argentina isn't really down with that.

Their navy isn't much better off, with ships spontaneously sinking whilst at the dockside. And of course, their submarines are of the sort that have no problem going down, but a little more difficulty in coming up again.

I wonder whether tactical fighters actually could fly from the UK to the Falklands. Even with tanker support that's a hell of a trip to do in one go. Ascension helps, of course, but even then it's a big trip. And the Ascension airfield isn't in great condition. IIRC, the fighters in the Falklands tend to be shipped there as cargo rather than flown.
I didn't realise the Argentinians were in that bad shape.
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Old 26th August 2018, 01:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
There is a "squadron" of four Typhoons in the Falklands.
Yes and resupply is a huge issue.


Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
Argentina doesn't really have much in the way of sabres to rattle these days. Their airforce has exactly no fast jets - they keep announcing they are going to buy some, but the deals all fall through because the sellers generally expect to be paid for them, and Argentina isn't really down with that.

Their navy isn't much better off, with ships spontaneously sinking whilst at the dockside. And of course, their submarines are of the sort that have no problem going down, but a little more difficulty in coming up again.

I wonder whether tactical fighters actually could fly from the UK to the Falklands. Even with tanker support that's a hell of a trip to do in one go. Ascension helps, of course, but even then it's a big trip. And the Ascension airfield isn't in great condition. IIRC, the fighters in the Falklands tend to be shipped there as cargo rather than flown.
But the could easily tool up and the UK could not mount a Thatcher era response today. The relentless cuts have hobbled the UK military. Easy target for cuts and all that.
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Old 26th August 2018, 02:29 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
Isn't there a squadron of Eurofighters based in the Falklands? I don't suppose the carrier would be needed. If Argentina started to rattle the sabres again the islands could be quickly reinforced.
Three Typhoons, plus a spare. More than enough.
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Old 26th August 2018, 02:45 PM   #29
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Old 26th August 2018, 02:52 PM   #30
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Oh I'm sure that HMS Queen Elizabeth has more firepower then HMS Victory ever did, even without any UK fixed wing aircraft to fly from her.
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Old 26th August 2018, 03:01 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
There's also a reasonable discussion to be had that the aircraft carrier will go the same way as the battleship very soon.
That is very unlikely, because aircraft carriers have a flexibility that battleships never had.

Battleships were meant for fighting peer navies. But as aircraft carriers came to dominance and as fighters became more powerful, their usefulness against peer competitors faded, with little utility to replace them. They can do shore bombardment, but the last time they did that was gulf war 1, but that's of limited use and even there the advent of precision munitions was sounding the death knell.

Technologies which threaten modern aircraft carriers, such as hypersonic missiles and stealthy subs, all represent peer competitor threats. And it's true that such threats may reduce the strategic value of aircraft carriers. But here's why they won't go away: a lot of the threats we face aren't from peer competitors. And aircraft carriers, unlike battleships, have the flexibility to be really useful for such conflicts. Iran, for example, has nothing in its arsenal to seriously threaten a carrier group. ISIS can't touch a carrier parked in the Mediterranean, but the reverse is not true. The coming of more capable drone fighters and bombers won't diminish the importance of aircraft carriers either, but will increase their flexibility even further.

There may come a day in the not too distant future when China doesn't care where in the pacific our carrier groups are. But North Korea, for example, will be keeping an eye out for them for a very, very long time.
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Old 29th August 2018, 12:19 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
I wonder whether tactical fighters actually could fly from the UK to the Falklands. Even with tanker support that's a hell of a trip to do in one go. Ascension helps, of course, but even then it's a big trip. And the Ascension airfield isn't in great condition. IIRC, the fighters in the Falklands tend to be shipped there as cargo rather than flown.
Takes a bit of doing.
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Old 29th August 2018, 03:39 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
But the could easily tool up
No, not really. Take their lack of fast jets. There's not one in their airforce, and hasn't been for years. Reconstituting a fast jet force isn't a matter of simply buying a bunch of jets. You have to train ground crews to maintain them, train pilots to fly them, establish the necessary procedures to operate them, establish the logistics train to keep them running, build up a reservoir of experience in operations, and a hundred other things. If they went all out right now, they might have a decent fast jet force in ten years.

Building an effective navy would be almost as hard - and remember, the Argentine Navy of 1982 wasn't really "effective", given that the nuclear submarine threat bottled it up in port for the duration of the war. Again, if they went all out on a fleet building program today, they might wind up with a decent navy a decade or so hence.

Quote:
and the UK could not mount a Thatcher era response today. The relentless cuts have hobbled the UK military. Easy target for cuts and all that.
Yes and no. Our equipment today is far better than anything we had back then. In many ways we could respond more effectively now than we could then. Where the cuts have really hurt, and our chief problem, is lack of numbers - not enough ships, not enough planes, not enough people to run them. Alas, people generally don't care and so no political party does.

But really it's moot, because we'd have to be a real bunch of idiots to wind up in a position where we would need to retake invaded islands again. If Argentina did go all out to rebuild their navy and airforce, these are not things that could be hidden. We'd know... and it would be far cheaper and quicker for us to build up the island defences than it would be for them to build an offensive force.

The only way they could do it is if we essentially left the islands defenceless. Though to be fair, that's pretty much what we did last time, and why they risked an invasion in the first place!
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Old 31st August 2018, 10:13 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Argentina has not given up its claim on the Falklands / Malvinas, Spain has not given up its claim on Gibralatar, after Brexit France may renew its claim on Jersey.

After Brexit it appears UK aircraft will not be able to operate from EU airbases, so other than the Crown bases on Cyprus if the UK is to support NATO in terms of airpower it will have to be from aircraft carriers.
Any evidence to back that up? The USA operates out of NATO bases, and we aren't in the EU either.
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Old 17th September 2018, 10:36 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
We had big carriers up with Phantoms and Buccaneers until the 1970s, then down-sized to smaller ones with Harriers just in time for Argentina to read that as a signal that we weren't interested or capable of keeping control of the Falklands. Having the new carriers allows us to project force and protect our remaining commitments around the word. Remember that in the 1970s, when Guatamala was threatening to invade and "reclaim" the nascent Belize in its transition from British Honduras, all it took was one of our carriers to rock up and sit off the coast to dissuade them.

However, the ships have much wider capabilities than just being a big stick, not least in their capacity to be used for disaster and humanitarian relief. It has 1,600 bunks, but thanks to the wide use of automation operates on a crew of less than 700, plus 250 Marines. Contrast this with the new US carriers, with a complement of over 4,250.
The story I read (I'll try and add the source later) was that it was just a Buccaneer, no carrier that did the job. (I think Buccaneers were one of the most under appreciated British military aircraft.)

ETA
In 1975, the tiny UK protectorate of Belize, was threatened by the violent military Junta in neighboring Guatelmala, HMS Ark Royal, in mid Atlantic, outside the range of it's F-4K's or any RAF aircraft, Launched 4 Buccaneers, two were tankers, enabling the other two to half way across the pond, get down low, then fly low and fast along the border with Belize and Guatelmala, (the tankers returned to the Ark, refueled, took off again and topped up the returning bombers), this display made the junta pull back, believing HMS Ark Royal was much nearer than it was.

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Old 17th September 2018, 11:38 AM   #36
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There's a few different ways that a vessel like the Britannia HMS Queen Elizabeth can be employed.

One is as an air support asset for operations ashore. The Royal Army lands soldiers somewhere in the world to do police action or counter-insurgency, or regional security or whatever. The Britannia HMS Queen Elizabeth parks offshore and provides air support. Recon, bombing, air superiority, etc. Not the massive force projection of a USN carrier strike group, but still perfectly cromulent for a lot of the UK's global interests. It can also contribute such support to a larger effort, even relieving a US fleet carrier temporarily for many missions.

Another is as a security picket for a larger fleet. In this role, the Britannia HMS Queen Elizabeth acts as an outer screen against attempts by enemy surface and submarine assets to approach the fleet. In this role, it becomes a valuable partner asset to, say, a USN fleet operating in the North Atlantic during a period of heightened tension with, say, Russia.

A third role, related to the second, is as a concentration of force asset for a larger fleet. If enemy forces begin to pressure the fleet at a certain point, or exploit a gap in picket coverage, the Britannia HMS Queen Elizabeth can provide a surge of air assets - a couple more air wings, another half-dozen or dozen anti-submarine helos, more airborne warning and control resources, etc. Again, in this role, the Britannia acts as a potent resource for the larger allied fleet.

Given the UK's interests, commitments, and alliances around the world, having the capability to deploy a modern, ocean-going air force (whether in support of the UK's own operations, or as part of larger joint operations with US and other navies), is in my opinion a necessary and productive investment by that nation. Having gone back and forth on it over the past couple years, my conclusion is that the Britannia HMS Queen Elizabeth is perhaps that rarest of all weapon systems: The right weapon, in the right place, at the right time.

Compare with the Zumwalt USS Zumwalt. It was a questionable concept to begin with (replacement shore bombardment platform following the obsolescence and retirement of the traditional battleship). Its doom was sealed with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disappearance of anything like a peer navy that would demand such a ship in response.

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Old 17th September 2018, 12:38 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There's a few different ways that a vessel like the Britannia can be employed.
She’s just a museum today, but she was mostly a floating gin palace for Brenda to swan around in visiting the colonies. Apparently she could be used as a hospital ship in times of war, but that never happened.

I suspect your remarks are regarding HMS Queen Elizabeth.
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Old 17th September 2018, 12:46 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
She’s just a museum today, but she was mostly a floating gin palace for Brenda to swan around in visiting the colonies. Apparently she could be used as a hospital ship in times of war, but that never happened.

I suspect your remarks are regarding HMS Queen Elizabeth. ; )
Yes, indeed. Epic brain fart. I stand by my analysis, however.
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Old 18th September 2018, 04:03 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
I suppose we have enough stuff to protect it? What do you need, a couple of missile destroyers/frigates plus a nuclear sub I suppose. What do the Americans use?
Submarines optional, I believe. But at least one aegis cruiser and a destroyer group (two or more destroyers and frigates). There are a couple of logistics ships along when they're going to be at sea for extended times. They might throw in a couple of extra destroyers if they feel they're going to need to ram any passenger ferries, fishing boats or container ships.

This is material gleaned from drunken sailors in Hong Kong. Those carrier groups were coming for R&R from either Jpn/Kor or the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean. They always had a submarine with them. Probably get better information from someone other than a draft dodger, though, so I'll defer to one of the military types.
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Old 18th September 2018, 04:05 AM   #40
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Question on naming conventions. Is the "HMS Queen Elizabeth" automatically considered to be Liz 2.0? Would they not call her the QEII because there's already a QEII, albeit not with "HMS" on it, I believe?
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