The as yet uncomfirmed decision to 'cancel' one of the two new aircraft carriers - the final decision, whatever that might be, will not be made public until the next Defence Review, due next year (April I think) - is based simply on the defence chiefs pre-empting Government defence cuts to save money. One carrier will be built as designed, i.e. to carry JSF, whereas the second will be completed as a replacement for HMS Ocean. The knock-on effect of this is that the RAF will only require 50 JSFs.
And if you look at the amount of time the Invincible class spend at sea, it's highly likely the Queen El;izabeth will be nothing more than a huge white elephant slowly rusting away in Portsmouth! as a replacement for HMS Ocean, the Prince of Wales will probably spend a few more days at sea, but not many more considering the name hasn't exactly been lucky for the RN...
In addition to a reduction in the JSF fleet, the RAF's pre-emptive defence cuts will be to not only not fight for the original Typhoon contract to be honoured but to settle for about 187 airframes only. In addition they will scrap the Harrier fleet early, reduce the GR4 fleet to about 40 airframes (extended life programme taking it up to 2025 but only if the £40m development programme is successful). With a reduced GR4 fleet Marham or Lossiemouth will close, along with both Wittering and Cottesmore.
End of the RAF in 2025...???
Ironically, the UK could find itself in a situation where an ally has more frontline fast jetsin the UK than the RAF! I refer of course to the US at Lakenheath. However, with the increased commitment by the US to Afghanistan they could withdraw from Lakenheath to save themselves a few bucks!
Whatever, the banking crisis will indirectly have a major impact on the UK's armed forces, with only the Army gaining anything like the minimum resources it needs, if only because it's already poltically embarrassing for Government to be told they're not supporting the troops in Afghanistan! And it won't make any difference if the Conservatives get elected, God forbid!
I think we have to face the fact that the UK is no longer in the aircraft carrier league.
Shades of the Falklands perhaps but I dont think we will ever have the political will or capability to carry out independant military operations of any material scale again.
We are a small european country who have depended on the United States for our security.
Our biggest problem is realising that.
I am a proponent of aircraft carriers, but they are simply beyond our means.
Of course we still are in the carrier league! The only reason why we are discussing the issue of one or two carriers is down to the banking crisis! We have put too many eggs into one basket just relying on the financial sector. The likes of France and Germany haven't done that.
One option from the French is with us both only having one carrier, is that only one is in for overhaul at the same time if we co-ordinate it. Sounds good in principle but imagine this:
June 2022 New press release:
Argentina invades the Falklands
Argentina seeing that the UK is in a weak state militarily has invaded the falklands. The UK's only aircraft carrier the 'HMS Queen Elizabeth' (the other UK carrier that was due to be in service was sold to India on completion a few years ago) is currently under overhaul. Due to an agreement with the French their carrier 'Charles De Gaulle' is currently covering for us. A request was put in to use their carrier:
British PM Sir Rodney Stiffupperlip ' Whato old chap. We have a spot of bother down south. Any chance we can make use of your carrier?'
French President ' Non Mon Sweet she is off the African East Coast conducting boules training for her crew'
Basically it just wouldnt work.I am a fan of both navies having two carriers each. It is just not feasible to expect either navy to do the job of the other with such historical differencies between the two. It just would never work.
As to the fact that we have depended on the US for our security is the biggest crock of S*** that i have ever heard!
We have had ,it is true ,an adjustment in asset valuations, but the City of London whether you like it or not pays the bills, and remember that the tax paid by those who earn these seemingly large bonuses end up in the treasury. If the government wishes to squander that revenue on inneficient services then it is not the fault of the city.
Should we find it necessary to defend the Falklands then there is Mount Pleasant .
Without the US we would have not have the following:
Trident (including the submarines)
Hunter Killer Submarines
Mastiff et al
Where do you want me stop?
Oh: India does need a new carrier
There Is another solution (actually one of many) to this single aircraft carrier problem. Once again we go to 2022
South Altantic, August 15, 2022, Today at 0940 the first wave of Osprey VAT aircraft lifted off RFA Splendid for East Falklands. The Splendid a former Hyployd Line Automobile Transport came within oundred kilometers of Port Stanly under air cover provided by the HMS Prince of Wales, third of the LHD derived multimission ships, Lightning FRS. Further information will be forthcoming from our imbedded reporters.
And thats the way it is..... or could be.
Things do not need to be reinvented. Innovation might be the way... if we put our nationalist egos in our pocket.
American aircraft Carriers would not exist with out:
HMS Furious, and Argus
Angled flight decks
Fresnel lens landing system
Given the current state of public finances in the UK , US and Europe the F-35 might have a bumpy road ahead of it yet . It is quite obvious that the UK forces are currently being shaped to fight an Afganistan type conflict . Knowing full well that which ever flavour of the next Government cuts will be made .The war for funding between the branches of the UK armed services are obvious . The Army is questioning the need for new Ships and new Fighters for the RN and RAF. It has won the PR battle forcing the Government to take more CH47s etc (the Afgan helecopter crisis of a few months ago) . To fund this the RAF has lost the Nimrod MR2 early and had to close bases and 'moth ball' other types . Something big is going to get cut , It could be the Carriers , Trident replacement and maybe the F-35B (no carrier -no need).