Monday, May 21, 2012

Quick News - UPDATED 23 May

350 million pounds in design work for Successor Submarine (Vanguard Replacement): announcement expected in this week.

UPDATE: announcement delivered. 328 million pounds for BAE in design work, 4 million to Rolls Royce for initial work on integration of the PWR3 nuclear reactor into the new submarine and 15 million to Babcock for initial work on solutions for in-service support.

The expenditure is part of the 3 billion pounds budgeted in 2010 for early SSBN design activities and long-lead orders. The 3 billions will be progressively committed to the program by year 2016, when the Successor Submarine program will meet its Main Gate decision point. By then, the design is expected to be at least 70% mature, and long lead orders will have been placed for the first 3 vessels, for a value of 380 million pounds for the first down to six for the third.
Expenditure on the fourth submarine will only happen (eventually) post 2016, when the decision is taken, at Main Gate, about the fleet consistency. The committment to retain Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) is a strong factor in favor of a 4-boats fleet. While CASD is in theory possible with 3 vessels, there is no marging at all for problems that, occasionally, do pop up.  



8th RAF C17 handed over by Boeing: wow, that was fast! 200 million pounds well expended.



Voyager troubles: in order to meet delivery targets, at least one more of the RAF's Voyagers will be converted in Spain and not in the UK. Work ongoing to solve the fuel leak problem with Tornado in-flight refuelling.



NATO signs AGS contract: 1.7 billion dollars for the 5 Global Hawk Block 40 drones, to be based in Sigonella. Everyone in NATO expected to contribute to support costs, but France and UK want to offer Heron drones and Sentinel R1 airplanes respectively instead of cash. That would save the Sentinel from retirement in 2015, so it is double welcome if confirmed.



A new Squadron to stand up on RAF Leuchars with Typhoon jets: I Squadron RAF to return officially on 15 September this year as Typhoon squadron, after having been a Joint Force Harrier GR9 squadron until 2011.
Once I Sqn was expected to be a JCA/F35 squadron, among with IV squadron and possibly 800 and 801 Naval Air Service squadrons. Plan has changed in recent times, however, and IV Squadron identity went to the Hawk T2 training squadron already.
Who gets the F35?
And has something changed regarding Typhoons transferring to Lossiemouth, with Leuchars to become an Army Base?
We might not know until near year's end, when a new, updated Basing plan for the forces is expected.



Big export win in Saudi Arabia: officers and pilots of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will train british style, using 22 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers, 55 Pilatus PC-21 and 25 yet-to-be-chosen primary training aircrafts, procured in a 1.6 billion pounds deal with BAE systems.

22 comments:

  1. The news on design of a replacement submarine for the vanguard class is overdue and lets hope that proper funding and a solid plan will be set out from the start to ensure a capably vessels is produced for a reasonable cost while maintaining the UK's submarine building capacity.

    Though i highly doubt it with the current political wrangling, with the lack of political interest in the armed forces and the need for cuts. I see many delays and changes in decisions leading to hefty penalties and wastage.

    $1.7b for 5 UAVs that's $340m a piece seems very expensive to me.

    And so does $2b for 20 years for maintenance, that's $20m each year per drone.

    Both of these figures seem ludicrously high to me considering that costs of RAF fighter planes are about £40,000 per hour and they fly ~240 hours a year that's only £9,600,000m, which even using purchase power parity isn't more than $20m and that's for a jet powered fighter aircraft not an unmanned reconnaissance vehicle.

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  2. The Global Hawk isn't known to be the "cheap" kind of drone indeed. It is a strategic, damn expensive platform.

    Anyway, we don't know what other voices of expense contribute to making up the cost figure. It is not only about buying the drones and flying them, but providing the ground exploitation element, and works in Sigonella, and other activities.

    Puts a dent in the "drones are cheap" argument, huh?
    But that's how things go. Drones aren't THAT cheaper, especially some kind of drones, even if people do not like to say it.

    When you think that the Global Hawk Block 30 (fitted with different sensors) was to replace the U2 manned plane and has been abandoned merrily by the USAF in the budget cuts, you realize that not everything is roses and happyness in droneland.

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  3. Gabs,
    Interesting info about Leuchars. Could it be that with all the fuss about closing other Scottish barracks closures like Craigiehall and Scottish independence that the MOD might be looking at somewhere else in England to place some of the Army units. RAF Marham is quite large could that be a possible location to base Army units instead, and Lossiemouth could then become a joint RAF/FAA base for the F-35, with Leuchers being kept for QRA.

    If we eventually order around 90 F-35b then I think the following is how the numbers should be split in my opinion 26 would be in deep reserve leaving 64 for the OCU and active fleet. Instead of the 60/40 split, I would roughly split it 55/45 ratio in favour of the RAF. So in peacetime the squadron structure would be:

    FAA
    800 NAS x8 F-35b
    801 NAS x8 F-35b
    809 NAS x8 F-35b

    899 NAS x4 F-35b joint OCU in the US

    RAF
    617 Sqn x 12 F-35b
    12(B) Sqn x 12 F-35b

    VX(R) Sqn x 12 F-35b joint OCU in the UK

    At times of war each FAA squadron would be increased to 10x F-35b, meaning one carrier would have 32 F-35b (2x FAA sqn, 1x RAF), 4x Merlin ASaC, 4x Merlin HM2 ASW, 2x Wildcat plane guard, the other carrier then could carry on with 22 F-35b and helicopters RM commandos. The reason I chose to have 3 FAA squadron is that the Navy work on the rule of 3, therefore for each commando battlegroup there is TAG for it comprising of FAA F-35b’s, Merlin HM2 & HC3, Lynx Wildcat and if the RAF aren’t busy with them several RAF F-35b’s and Chinooks.

    2 quick questions for you gabs that you may be able to help me with;

    1) If the active CVF had around 30 a/c embarked (8 to 12x F35b), how many aircrew are required and how many spare bunks/free space is the for the RM in the design

    2) A commando battle group is supposed to be 1800? What is its composition (units and size) especially since (I thought) the full fighting strength of 3 commando brigade was 5200, therefore a battlegroup of 1600 would make sense?

    Sorry for the long post

    The Mintcake Maker

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    1. On your squadrons plan, it is fascinating, but i find it hard to imagine that many F35s being actually acquired. I've always thought that if we get to 80 we have to jump all over the place for the happiness already.
      And while your comment on the 1 in 3 rule is correct, i'm sadly pretty sure we won't see more than one naval squadron on the F35.

      By the way, the planes at Eglin, in the US are planned to be 6 and not 4.

      As to the squadron identities, i like your choice of the "Immortal" 809. Might i add that having back 892 NAS would be worth keeping 800 and 801 identities "mixed up" in the Naval Strike Wing...?

      It is just too suggestive to think of a (dream) force with NSW, 892 and 809 NAS.

      Back to serious things, to reply to your questions:

      CVF has been described as capable to carry a dozen F35 plus many helicopters (8 Apache and 8 Chinooks, for example, or a different mix with Merlins, or whatever) while carrying a Commando group (some 600 men, more than Ocean's 403).
      Plenty of additional, as yet unallocated space exists in the carrier, which could one day be kitted out with berths for Marines.

      A Commando battlegroup is sized at 1800. It should involve one Commando, eventually reinforced with an additional company, plus some 320 men of the Logistics and medic trails, elements of 30 Commando (recce, police, air defence, Electronic warfare) and a L118 gun battery. Viking vehicles are part of the picture too, of course.

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    2. The Mintcake MakerMay 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      Gabs,

      Thanks for the swift reply, i was missing out the reinforced eliment for the RM commando from my calculations. I think 80 is probably the more realistic number as well sadly but we can dreem. Do you think we could see Marham wound down with the tornado as Lossie stands up with F-35? Then Marham becoming an army base? It would be good too see HMS Fulmar reformed.

      TMM

      Delete
    3. Personally, i think that Marham will get the F35, Lossie the Typhoon, and Leuchars will become an army base.
      But we'll have to see.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. "Puts a dent in the "drones are cheap" argument, huh?"

    Very true, but the Israelis are in a way the pioneer of this technology and would like to know how much theirs cost. I am sure we could have a cheaper drone, $340m that's around the price of an F-22. As for running cost the drone should be a lot cheaper than a fighter aircraft as there's much less strain on the airframe, plus simpler engines etc. Perhaps some of the money is pay for other things? That are to be kept of the books!

    As for your post mint, not knowing much about RAF and FAA formations, i always prefer 12 planes in a squadron and would like to see us acquire ~90 F35s. So we can have 6 or 7 Squadrons.

    Though on the Aircraft carrier i believe all space should be for aircraft, not troops. We have plenty of amphibious ships and should use them for this role and leave the Aircraft carrier to focus on its main priority's. To do this it needs to carry as many fighter planes as possible(preferable 36) with 4 helicopters for AWAC(would rather a plane for this role along with dedicated EW) and a further 4-6 to be split between ASW and SAR, assuming plenty of frigates the ship wouldn't need to carry ASW helicopters but the chance of their being plenty of fleet escorts seems slim.

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    1. The only israeli product comparable to the Global Hawk is the Heron TP, and it is an expensive system, even if there's not a precise figure.
      And it still isn't a drone with the same capabilities of the Global Hawk.
      As to the 1.7 billion, it is highly likely that it includes AGS-related expenditure that is not properly connected to the drone itself, such as the estimated 300 image and intelligent analysts that will be needed to use the AGS data properly... But this is normal.
      The AGS is a system, not a purchase of 5 drones. There's an important difference.


      As to the amphibs being "plenty", i disagree. In particular, there won't be any alternative to using the carriers once Illustrious and Ocean retire (the first in 2014, the second possibly in 2018), as there won't be a LPH replacement and the LPDs and LSDs do not have hangars and thus would leave an amphibious task force critically weak in terms of choppers.

      Not to mention that the LPH carriers 400 to 600 men of the battlegroup.
      Gone the LPH, it is either carrier, or a smaller battlegroup.

      I see nothing wrong with using CVF as LHA, chosing the right mix of soldiers, helos and jets depending on the situation.
      It is the best thing the UK can do with its budget, actually.

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  6. Well as we don't know exact details on the AGS related expenditure its hard to comment on whether its money well spent.

    On the carrier issue, assuming we use one of the queen Elizabeth ships as an Aircraft Carrier and the other as LHA then for most operations that would be sufficient,though not the best idea. But when we only have one available then using it in both the LHA and carrier role massively reduces its effectiveness. It wont be able to carry enough planes to generate high sortie rates when needed, plus will be short on helicopters leading to personnel having to be transferred in more waves. This coupled with less air cover leaves the task force and amphibious landings more vulnerable.

    " though not the best idea." I say this because Ocean only cost about £200m fully equipped ref http://navy-matters.beedall.com/ocean.htm . It would be nice to replace her directly which with inflation should only cost around £300m and for 2 of these ships would be £600m which with a expected service life of 20 years is only £30m a year to build it. Rather than ~£5b that the queen Elizabeth carriers will cost. I really don't see the point of making two vessels the size and cost of the queen Elizabeth class and the using them for STOL and LHA operations.

    As for the budget arguement, we could get a lot more from the money if it was well spent and proper thought as well as consideration was made before decisions were taken.

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  7. CVF can carry 12 F35 while still carrying more helicopters and soldiers than Ocean can, so i don't see where the problem actually is, sincerely.

    As to "we should get another one at 250, 300 million or whatever it is", i've had this discussion with countless people and in countless occasions: it just does not work this way.
    Ocean was ordered long ago. Times have changed. Inflation has moved on. And there's no way in hell you could build it now for that price.
    The now cancelled LPH(R) program for a replacement anticipated a budget requirement of 700 million.

    As for the size of CVF, as it has been explained again and again, it is about the ability of supporting an high sortie generation date, for a long period.
    I'd like to remind you that a US Marines Expeditionary Unit of 2200 men goes to war with 6 Harriers, and tomorrow with 6 F35Bs.

    A British Commando Battlegroup tomorrow will go to war with 12 F35B, Apaches for CAS and Chinooks and Merlin for transport.
    Is it bad? Not at all.

    If the war of the day is like Libya, you load less choppers and more airplanes, and you have the space, supplies and accommodations and facilities to generate hundreds of sorties without problems.

    If the war is huge and ranks as a major effort, both CVFs set sail, but still most likely carry some jets and some helos each.
    Loading ALL jets onto the "carrier" and all soldiers/helos into the other is asking for a disaster to happen in the case one of the vessels is hit.

    "AGS related expenditure its hard to comment on whether its money well spent."

    I have to disagree. We can't say if we are paying the right price or not, at most, but AGS delivers a service and fills a bleeding gap in NATO's capability. As such, it ranks as money extremely well spent.
    Global Hawk Block 40s in Libya last year would have been nothing short of divine blessing, and it is a good thing that NATO is finally moving to address this requirement.

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  8. "Times have changed. Inflation has moved on."

    ocean was built in 1998 not exactly that long ago. Mistrals even more recently again at a very reasonable cost ~£400m. What is the point of spending so much on one vessel if you can achieve the same capabilities from a vessel that costs 10% of the price.

    "US Marines Expeditionary Unit of 2200 men goes to war with 6 Harriers, and tomorrow with 6 F35Bs."

    In what war/conflict have they deployed an entire fleet protected by 6 harriers! or in future 6 f-35s. You can not expect 12 planes to be able to effectively defend the fleet, provide CAS for troops at the same time against anyone who has an airforce, remember not all 12 planes can fly at the same time.

    Also by turning it into an LHA, the Aircraft carrier has to get a lot closer to land making it even more vulnerable.


    "I have to disagree......As such, it ranks as money extremely well spent. "

    First surely we must compare what alternatives and what they cost to say that?

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  9. "What is the point of spending so much on one vessel if you can achieve the same capabilities from a vessel that costs 10% of the price."

    The point is that you cannot achieve the same things at all.

    "remember not all 12 planes can fly at the same time."

    With all due respect, i don't think you are in the position of teaching to me about this stuff, thanks.

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  10. With all due respect, i don't think you are in the position of teaching to me about this stuff, thanks.

    I agree, i do not have your in-depth knowledge, and am perfectly happen to be proven wrong on a point. But i would like the use of evidence and reasoning.

    No where have you shown that 12 f-35s c will be able to cope with the roles expected. You must admit 12 aircraft is very few there are many airforces around the world that simply could over power this force by sheer numbers.

    ""remember not all 12 planes can fly at the same time."

    On reading this back i see how it comes across rather condescending and i do apologise. What i meant was that with 12 aircraft only x amount will be able to fly at one time and if some get destroyed, damaged etc each aircraft becomes very valuable and limits how a commander would be willing to use these assets. Which could detrimentally effect an operation leading to more causalities.

    "The point is that you cannot achieve the same things at all."

    You can fly f-35 b off a 20,000 ocean/mistral class just as easily off Queen Elizabeth?

    You can launch helicopters and troops just as easily, perhaps not as many, but at 10% you could have 10 of them and these would then be able to provide more of the same capabilities than the two aircraft carriers. While reducing the concern about losing 1 as we would have 9 left.

    plus what about the argument about the ship having to get uncomfortably close to the coast? Do you not think this a valid point?

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    1. You cannot launch an F35B from a Mistral, nor from Ocean.
      Even Sea Harrier could only be embarked on Ocean empty, with light fuel load, just to be shipped to a carrier. F35B is bigger and heavier. It is a non start.

      Operating 10 (!) ships the class of Invincible and Ocean: absurd.
      A modern day Invincible, if you look at Italy's Cavour, won't come for less than 1.5 / 2 billion. The ship crew is about the same (indeed CVF requires 3 men less than the old Invincible, while Cavour, even as modern as it is, could not go below 450 men of core ship crew so that is the indicative level), the operating cost is also not dramatically different.

      Done the math, 3 small carriers cost the same as 2 CVF, or more, while still delivering less.
      It is not attractive in the slightest, believe it or not.

      As to the number of F35s needed for an operation, this depends totally by the operation at hand.
      12 F35s is the standard. Up to 36 will be available, and with 36 that's a max sortie per day figure of 110, followed by a period in which, you realistically generate 72 sorties per day, then 30/36 sorties per day for another while, as the airplanes are worked hard and start being unavailable for whatever reason.

      Of course attrition is an issue, of course we'd like to have more airplanes, of course it would be better to have CVF AND LPHs or LHDs, but there simply is a difference between reality and dream.
      What can realistically be afforded is CVF being used as a (very capable) LHA, either jet-oriented or helo-oriented, with the capability of using both ships in time of crisis to deliver numbers that would be at least as good as that in the Falklands, and indeed much higher if enough planes are made available.

      "No where have you shown that 12 f-35s c will be able to cope with the roles expected. You must admit 12 aircraft is very few there are many airforces around the world that simply could over power this force by sheer numbers."

      I can play this game too: you have not provided me with a realistic scenario in which the UK needs a full airwing AND a fully loaded LHD. And if you try to, you'll see that it is not easy.
      Libya 2? No.
      Kossovo? No.
      Somalia? No.
      Falklands 2? Possibly, but perhaps no: as it is now, the argentine air force will have very great trouble facing 12 or so F35B.

      When you look critically at things, you'll see that even a relatively small air group tends to beat what most possible enemies can actually bring to the table.
      And you can always embark more planes when you need to.

      The problem is in the choice of keeping LPD, with dock but no helo facilities other than a deck, and LPHs without dock but helicopter facilities.
      If Albion and Bulwark were two LHDs, the RN would be in perfect shape.

      In the future, perhaps, they will be: the RN hopes to replace them in the 30s with large LHDs.
      In the meanwhile, we will have no alternative but make do with what is available.

      And what is available, unless there are new changes, is actually very good.

      Delete
  11. I know you have mentioned some scenarios, but i wouldn't be foolish enough to say what may or may not happen in the future, especially as not even the SDR has predicted even recent events. All we can do is see what happened in the past and learn from those mistakes, then not repeat them. Though of course having a decent armed forces that could full-fill our strategic aims, which of course mean defending the 14 overseas territories. Some of wish allow us to lay claim to vast resources, which may become more and more valuable, not to mention most likely the biggest source of conflict in the near future.

    "You cannot launch an F35B from a Mistral, nor from Ocean. "

    Yes but both Ocean and Mistral are around the size of invincible class and only a few meters shorter so a newer vessel around the same size and construction cost ~£500m with a ski jump could STOVL f-35s/harriers. Though of course to have same amount of capabilities as 2 CVF, you would need around 6 of these vessels and with running costs this would be more expensive, though 6 vessels can be in 6 different place at once 2 can only be in 2 places.

    My main point was that you could have a cheaper vessel do LHA but still have the capability for STOVL if needed, such as in a major war. On Cavour i agree its about 1.5b euros but that's for 1 ship if you made 4-6 of these vessels you could probably reduce that figure to about £1b each. Though its hard to compare internationally as differences in inflation and exchange values, what's including in the cost etc.

    Though i agree CVF is much better than smaller carriers being more cost effective as well as efficient. Though i do not think carries should be used in the LHA role for these reasons:

    1-You have to compromise between how many aircraft and helicopters are carried, and to deploy a sizeable force you may end up with very few fighters putting the fleet at risk.
    2-To get the troops ashore you need to get closer to the coast, this greatly enhances the risk from anti-ship missiles.
    3- CVF are not designed for LHA and so wont be as effective in this role as a dedicated vessel.
    4- Using a vessel that costs ~£5b for LHA when you can have one for £500m, seems ludicrous to me.

    I know you say you can change the ratio of helicopters and aircraft, but that only works up to a finite amount. If both a large amphibious landing is needed as well as a powerful force of Fighters we will not have the ability to do both. Before you mention LSD and LPD as alternatives for troop deployment, one of the main drawbacks in the Falklands war and Afghanistan war, different reasons of course, has been lack of helicopters, neither of which vessels cover this role.

    Thats why i argue for having the 2 CVF for their intended role as well as building 2 LHA to replace Ocean. For around £500m and estimated running cost of £30m a year. That way the frigate type 26 can be a focused frigate costing a reasonable amount of ~£300m. With out the LHA the Royal Navy most likely will see the need to be able to carry more troops and probably add this to the Type 26 which most likely will increase costs. Perhaps along the lines of the Absalon class of the danish navy which as an idea i totaly disagree with, though have to admit am impressed with the cost of the vessel, of course doubt the royal navy version would be as cheap.

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  12. "And what is available, unless there are new changes, is actually very good."

    We have a £1b destroyer(main fleet escort) that has undersized, under ranged main gun. No way of launching TLAM and no anti-ship or Anti-submarine weapons currently fitted. Plus we only have 6 with an initial requirement of 12, has our strategic interests changed so much? are these ships so much better than the ones planned we only need half the amount?

    We are currently investing into a plane(f-35) that looks dubious at best, its expensive, its underpowered and like most multi-national projects is turing into a disaster. This coupled with the short-sightedness of the top brass/government we will lose much of our naval aviation experience and expertise.

    We have no maritime patrol aircraft, probably will waste money buying "off the shelf american" in the next 5-10 years.

    We still haven't committed ourselves to replacement of vanguard, this uncertainty will increase cost of the project not to mention the gap between astute and the new ships.

    Plus we need new vessels for the RFA which haven't appeared yet.

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  13. "Done the math, 3 small carriers cost the same as 2 CVF, or more, while still delivering less.
    It is not attractive in the slightest, believe it or not."

    Would you mind showing your figures? i always love to see figures, stats etc.

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  14. "Yes but both Ocean and Mistral are around the size of invincible class and only a few meters shorter so a newer vessel around the same size and construction cost ~£500m with a ski jump could STOVL f-35s/harriers."

    Just because you say it can, and just because you say, basing yourself on thin air and hopes, that it would cost around 500 millions...?
    I'm afraid the real world does not work this way.

    "Plus we only have 6 with an initial requirement of 12"

    France and Italy have got only 2, if that's just it.
    It is obvious that there are problems, and that having more of everything would make things easier, but you have to accept that having more of everything is simply not an option.

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  15. "Plus we need new vessels for the RFA which haven't appeared yet."

    This is another argument that's been used to bore me to death.
    MARS FT is on the way, with 4 ships to come online from 2016 onwards, all with much expanded capabilities compared to what they replace. Same number of hulls, but dramatic expansion in capability, so about as good as it can be.

    On the solid stores front, yes, the next phase of MARS isn't in sight yet. But the Navy is re-activating Fort Austin, is using Fort Victoria for stores, and has Fort Rosalie.

    It is actually very well covered on this front. With MARS FT contract assigned and Fort Austin coming out of mothball, the RFA is in better shape than i dared hoping.

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  16. If the lenght of the decks is the same with a ski jump then with only a little assumption one would assume the plane has a long enough space to take-off.

    Ocean launched 1995 commised 1998 cost ~£200M ref:http://navy-matters.beedall.com/ocean.htm
    one figure was as low as £150m ref: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/2001/jul/17/hms-ocean

    mistral cost repoted from 400-600m euros http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/France-Signs-Contract-for-3rd-Mistral-Class-LHD-05384/

    ref: http://www.naval-technology.com/news/newsrussia-paid-mistrals-first-tranche-to-france/

    So building two LHA to enter service for 2022, one could reasonably assume that they could be built for about £500m in todays money for both ships and operating cost of £30m (same as current ocean) that would be £80m in todays money each year for these vessels, assuming a 20 year service life. Which i am sure can be found in a budget of over £40b. Considering that the Carriers are costing ~£5b that's over £100m a year for their entire life cycle, not including running costs, yet you want it to do LHA role?


    Comparing us to germany! They have no need for the type of navy we need.

    As for using the arguement that they only have 2 so we only need 2 is a terrible defence to use which i think you would agree. PLus the French have 4 anti-air "frigates".

    May i ask from where did you find out about MARS FT "come online from 2016"?

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    1. You are saying the same things, over and over again, but it still does not work, no matter how you try to present it as reasonable.
      It does not work in the costs, it does not work in your cheerful assumption that you can work Mistral and Ocean as LHAs.
      One is an LHD and one is a LPH, and there's just no changing that.
      They do not even have the adequate facilities to carry the fuel for the airplanes they should carry, and they have no appropriate storage for the ordnance the planes would need to fight a war, nor the distribution systems to bring such ordnance to airplane-servicing spots on deck that, you guess it, are again not there. They do not have large and strong enough lifts either, and the hangars are quite small too.

      The reason why aircraft carriers, even small ones such as Cavour, are expensive, is because there are real requirements to meet.

      "Considering that the Carriers are costing ~£5b that's over £100m a year for their entire life cycle, not including running costs, yet you want it to do LHA role?"

      There is really no alternative. Ideally you'd build LHDs in addition to the carrier, but there just is no funding for that to happen.

      I could also note that the carriers are costing 5 billions pretty much just because of Labour's stupidity that, with their delay in 2008, caused a cost increase of well over 1 billion, as certified by the NAO.
      But let's call that 5 billions all the same.

      Are you sure that politicians won't screw up your "cheap" vessels time schedule too, causing just as damaging cost escalations?
      No, you aren't.
      In fact, you are sure about nothing of what you are saying.

      "Comparing us to germany!"

      Are you making up films in your own mind? Who ever did mention Germany?

      "May i ask from where did you find out about MARS FT "come online from 2016"?"

      The contract signed says that the first ship will be delivered by 2016, simple. That's the date Hammond used.
      http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=18949

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