Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re: 'Britain’s new aircraft carrier may be a vast folly — but it still provokes awe'


Very amusing piece - but still complete shilo...

"six shipyards spread throughout Britain supplied the “blocks” or modules that were welded together in Rosyth – suggest that their purpose was as much about jobs in Labour constituencies as about fulfilling a grand naval strategy . . "

Since all shipyards in the UK are in Labour constituencies this does not explain why the carriers were ordered or built. These yards could easily have been kept busy building more Type 45s, Type 26s or Astute submarines (or some smaller flat top(s)).

"(The) ship runs on outdated software (Microsoft Windows XP)"

This is simply not true.

"and will take far fewer aircraft (the Lockheed Martin F35) than originally planned."

What does this mean? The ship can take as many aircraft as you could fit into or onto it (and continue to operate) and take to war. What he should have stated is that on routine deployments (not war situations) the ship will carry fewer F-35s than originally envisaged. The MoD has already confirmed that they intend to order all the F-35Bs originally planned - so in a war situation the carrier is capable of operating the maximum number of aircraft that space or contingency allows...

"Also, big ships are vulnerable unless heavily defended. This week a spokesman for the Russian defence ministry, reacting to some boastful remark by Fallon, said that the HMS Queen Elizabeth amounted to “nothing more than a huge, easy naval target”."

This is simply stating the bleeding obvious. The same applies to the aircraft carriers of the Russian, Chinese, Indian, French and US Navies. Aircraft Carriers will rely (mostly) on its own fighter aircraft and the medium/long-range missiles of its designated escort(s) (such as the Type 45 or 'Arleigh Burke') for air defence. The Queen Elizabeth is no-more vulnerable to the latest anti-ship weaponry than any other aircraft carrier...

"It is, apart from all that, a disappointingly ugly ship."

I have to agree with him there. However, beauty (as always) is in the eye of the beholder. Aircraft Carriers will never win prizes for aesthetics - the twin island layout is also unusual compared to the more traditional single island design that we are all used to seeing - it also has a 'hump' (the ski ramp) which is a result of choosing to operate the VSTOL version of the F-35 rather than the CATOBAR variant.

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