HMS Tyne

The Royal Navy and the growing importance of securing UK home waters

The seas and ports around our coast are vital to our economy and require policing for our safety and to ensure international law, treaties and agreements are upheld. With 17,820 Km of coastline and the world’s 5th largest Exclusive Economic Zone, one of the UK’s greatest natural resources and environmental responsibilities, is the sea. While high-profile controversies about aircraft carriers are important, the RN’s less glamorous but key role in UK maritime protection should not be forgotten.

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The shape of things to come – video of F35B on trials

This is an F35B on shipboard trials, prototype of the aircraft that is now planned to fly from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers from sometime around 2018.

As a non-aviation specialist, first impressions are that this £100 million contraption looks incredibly complicated, masses of moving parts hydraulics, hinges, doors levers etc all which all must function properly for a safe landing. Surely a huge maintenance challenge and vulnerable to even minor battle damage? When the plane takes off and is ‘cleaned up’ it has a certain 21st century beauty but seems to lack the elegance of the much simpler Harrier. However it does represent an exciting step up in capability if it works as advertised. FLY NAVY!

HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier

The morning after the night before… Making the best of ‘Plan B’

This article was written in May 2012. For more recent articles about the Royal Navy aircraft carrier project click here.

Yesterday came the announcement of a very badly kept secret that the new RN carriers would not now be fitted with catapults and would fly F35B STVOL aircraft. It was a complex issue and we disagree with this decision.

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Government U-turn on carriers means less capability and long-term costs

Today in the much-anticipated new episode of the hilarious black comedy “Carry on Carrier” the government announces it shall reverse its decision to fit at least one aircraft carrier with catapults (EMALS) and angled decks for launching conventional aircraft and revert to the original plan to purchase vertical take-off and landing F35B aircraft.

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Useful web links about the looming decision on aircraft carriers ‘cats and traps’ and F35B or C

As we await the the decision by government on whether the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers currently building will be fitted with ‘cats and traps’, there is much debate and discussion about the issue. Here are a selection of some of the most informative online articles on this complex and politically charged argument.

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An F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares to launch during a test of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

Failure of political strategy, lack of vision and poor planning leaves the aircraft carrier project facing more problems

It has just been revealed that fitting catapults to the new aircraft carriers has been costed at around 1.8 £Billion and the Minister of Defence considers this ‘unaffordable’. Reverting to the F-35B vertical take-off aircraft is being considered.

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