Aircraft carriers, dinosaurs and Max Hastings

In yet another broadside published in The Times from the Royal Navy’s most opinionated critic, Max Hastings has described the new aircraft carriers as “dinosaurs… expensive, impractical and alarmingly vulnerable”. Here we examine Hastings’ pontifications and provide a more balanced view.

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Up close with HMS Prince of Wales as the Royal Navy’s second aircraft carrier arrives in Portsmouth

On 16th November the second of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales entered her home port for the first time. We witnessed the ship’s arrival and went on board to find out more about her progress and future programme.

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Aircraft Carriers – what are they for?

Right now there is plenty of imagery and media coverage of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier project. Discussion is mostly focussed on their size and design, their aircraft, their price and the politics of their construction but often a basic explanation of their function has been lacking. Here we outline the purpose and value of an aircraft carrier.

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HMS Prince of Wales leaveS Rosyth

The Royal Navy becomes a two-carrier navy – HMS Prince of Wales sails for the first time

Today the second of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales left the dockyard in Rosyth for the first time. The word “milestone” has been used excessively to describe important moments the carrier project but today is another big step forward for a ship that many expected never to see service with the RN.

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HMS Illustrious Gen Douglas Ammunition Jetty

Upgrades to the Scottish facility used to ammunition the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers

The MoD is about start work on a major upgrade of the Northern Ammunition Jetty in on Loch Long in order to enable the Queen Elizabeth class (QEC) aircraft carriers to load and unload ordnance. Here we look at the jetty project in detail.

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HMS Prince of Wales Rosyth

Dry docking the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers – what are the options?

The two Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers will require dry-docking periodically throughout their lives. The dry docks at Portsmouth and Devonport naval bases are not large enough to accommodate them so the RN must choose between a very limited selection of other UK facilities. Here we examine some of the options.

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F-35 over HMS Queen Elizabeth

RAF plan for F-35 split-buy undermines aircraft carrier programme

Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor at Sky News has reported that, behind the scenes, the RAF is arguing hard to split the UK purchase of F-35 aircraft into two variants. The F-35B is the only fixed-wing aircraft able to operate from the new QEC aircraft carriers but it’s no secret that the RAF harbours the ambition to procure F-35As as a direct replacement for its land-based Tornado force.

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F-35 flight trials continue. HMS Queen Elizabeth Westlant 18 deployment – Part 4

Since the first F-35 arrived on board HMS Queen Elizabeth on 25th September the flight trials programme has continued at pace. There has been a great deal activity on board the ship and this period has been an eventful period for the F-35 programme as a whole. This photo and video essay covers the highlights of the Westlant 18 deployment from the past few weeks.

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