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

Apr 30, 2012   //   by NavyLookout   //   Articles  //  6 Comments

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.

Cameron ‘to change his mind’ on the one thing he got right in Defence

By Lewis Page, writing on ‘The Register’ – IT and technology website
Lewis Page is a controversial ex-RN officer who is a devastating critic of the shambles across UK defence procurement. In this article he highlights the vested interests of BAE Systems and the RAF who he suggests are fundamentally against the fitting of cats & traps and want to force the RN to buy F35B

‘Cats and Traps’: Launching the Carrier Debate in the Right Direction?

By Dr Lee Willett, Senior Research Fellow, Maritime Studies, RUSI
The Royal United Services Institute is the leading UK independent think tank engaged in defence and security research. RUSI have sometimes been accused of being too close to government to be objective but they are home to a cross-section of opinion and they are generally scholarly. This article decisively concludes cats and traps are the best solution.

F35-The Jet That Ate the Pentagon

US Website foreign Policy.com
Arguing the F35 is so insanely expensive and so flawed the programme should be cancelled. Ouch!

Alarm over new navy jet costs

By Mike Powell, Portsmouth News defence correspondent
Highlighting US government audit which shows the F35 programme is already $15bn over budget

Rear Admiral Chris Parry Speaking on BFBS TV about the Carrier Project

Chris Parry is a retired RN aviator who served in the Falklands War and worked in strategic planning within the MoD. In this interview he recommends the RN lease 2 squadrons of F-18 Super Hornets, 1 for training and 1 to serve on a US Carrier to keep naval aviation skills alive and show solidarity with the US. (Note no mention of the French!)

Reversion to the F-35B would be wrong for Britain
A Critical Decision for Carrier Configuration. – ‘Angled Deck’ or ‘Ramp’ for our Queen Elizabeth class Carriers.

Sharkey Ward, writing on his own Blog ‘Sharkey’s World’.
Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward is an experienced RN Sea Harrier pilot who flew 60 sorties in the Falklands War. A fierce critic of the RAF and a doughty defender of carrier air power. He’s upset a lot of people in his time but most of what he says makes sense.

Of Jets and Carriers… Again

By Nick Childs, naval author writing for RUSI
Providing a more general background to the carrier debate.

Cameron’s warplane shot down as cost of converting aircraft carriers to fly them trebles

The Daily Mail website
One of many press reports that prematurely announced that govt had chosen F35B. The Daily Mail is often slightly hysterical in its reporting style but at least it attempts some sort of coverage of naval and defence issues. On the carrier issue we can rely on the mainstream media to focus on the political embarrassment for the government if they do a ‘U-turn’ and revert to F35B, rather than the actual long-term impact on the capabilities of a of the carriers.

The QE class carrier debacle is clouding real maritime security issues

Defence Management website
Makes the important point that the issues around the carriers may have distracted from other debates about the size and balance of the RN’s future fleet.
(We remain every bit as concerned about the size of the submarine force and the decline in frigate and destroyer numbers!)

 

6 Comments

  • As we know it will be a bad decision that is coming. I hope it turns out to be: the great or right decision on Aircraft carriers etc

  • France’s apparently abrupt cancellation** of the joint UK/France build arrangements for the 2 countries’ 3 new carriers, in July-2008, was publicly said to be due to the then France govt’s concerns about national budgetary constraints and the effects that proceeding with construction of France’s “PA2″ carrier would have on domestic spending commitments…

    In order to counterbalance the UK MoD’s recent, plainly absurd claims that fitting the 2 undergoing construction aircraft carriers with aircraft launch catapults, landing & associated equipment would cost upwards of 4 billion pounds- mainstream news media and interest groups should attempt to obtain documents and records from France- and the UK govt & MoD- regarding

    1) ‘what were the estimates in 2008 of the costs of building the PA2 carrier??’ and

    2) ‘of these estimates, how much was associated with the fitting of aircraft launch catapults, landing & associated equipment to France’s PA2 carrier??’

    “UK & France sign carrier deal”, 06_03-2006:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4780630.stm

  • As part of future reporting about the ‘big deck’ aircraft carrier project, main stream news media and defence associations should:

    - provide a written comparison of the projected number of man-hours required during 2018- 2030 for maintenance, servicing and repairs of BOTH the F-35C and F-35B for each hour of flight time of EACH variant of the F-35 fighter/bomber;

    - stipulate in easy-to-understand terms AND illistrate what are the design requirements & technical hurdles that would have to be surmounted in order to fit the UK’s 2 undergoing construction aircraft carriers with aircraft launch catapults and landing equipment;

    - inform the public whether the UK’s planned carriers have the energy generation capabilities required to operate electromagnetic aircraft launch catapults- particularly in combat situations- while the ship’s engines are still providing power for the ship’s propulsion;

    - inform the public whether the fitting of electromagnetic aircraft launch catapults and landing equipment to the UK’s planned carriers would have so adversely affected these vessels’ centre of gravity and at-sea-stability that their sea worthiness would have been reduced to an unworkable level…

    - inform the public what the differences in operating costs per flight hour are between F-35B, F-35C and F-18 E/F fighter/bombers…

    - inform the public how many man-hours of maintenance, servicing and repairs are required CURRENTLY for each flight hour of the F-35B, F-35C and F-18 E/F fighter/bombers…

    - inform the public how many man-hours of maintenance, servicing and repairs are PROJECTED TO BE REQUIRED DURING 2018- 2030 for each flight hour of the F-35B, F-35C and F-18 E/F fighter/bombers…

    - inform the public what the differences in capabilities are between the F-35B, F-35C and F-18 E/F fighter/bombers….

    - inform the public what the differences in purchase prices are between the F-35B, F-35C and F-18 E/F fighter/bombers….

  • Um. Yes, the LOOMING decision. As we know it will be a bad decision that is coming. I hope it turns out to be: the great or right decision on Aircraft carriers etc…

    • Yep, they screwed up the only good decision they made in all of the SDSR in 2010…..

  • Great list and a excellent collection of many reasons why we badly need a urgent review of how this country buys for and implements it defence policy.

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