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Queen Elizabeth Class (CVF) development

Thorvic

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I'm not sure how you think that ships are built that such a significant deviation from the agreed plans could go unnoticed for years on end.
Quite simple really. The oversight that was traditionally exercised by the Royal Navy and by the Ministry of Defence over major naval projects and programs was practically all transferred to the DPA (and later inherited by the DE&S). The idea was that using commercial practices rather than military or Civil Service ones would make defence procurement faster and cheaper (needless to say it was a total disaster from the outset). When it came to the CVF program some of that oversight was delegated to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. Since the design changes were initiated by the DPA in the first place however, no alarms were raised.

The NAO report into the abortive conversion makes no such claim, either. In fact, the NAO is very clear that the initial assumption was steam catapults, that changing to EMALS added 60% to the cost, and that further errors meant a further 150% increase. Of that, only £106 million was due to installation costs – unexpected ship impact was one component of this, but not the only component. That's not the kind of cost you'd see for a sudden realisation that the ship hadn't been built according to the plans.
Forgive me, but are you sure of that interpretation of the report?
Because Gordon Brown quietly told them to drop the space for the CTOL gear as he was desperate to get the cost of two ships down after wasting the design and build time for 5 years forcing the Warship builders into an unwanted merger by cancelling all other ships and offering the CVF as big carrots but dropped a clanger as still tried to use the 2003 price without 5 years of accumulated costs, more expensive steel taken into account.
The Carrier when ordered for construction were still 'Officially' interchangeable as the Final F-35 type selection wasn't due till 2011 as the F-35B had failed to prove itself at that point. That why the 2010 Defence review switched to F-35C and CATOBAR, the official stance was they Carriers were designed and were supposed built to be changeable, it was ony after that was announced did the ACA reveal what they had been instructed to do to focus ony on STOVL and that the switch would take a lot longer and cost a lot more (Plus any delays would be at the Govt expense and they would need compensation for the lack of work during the redesign thanks to the contract they agreed after the enforced merger !!)
 

zen

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Certainly Brown's behaviour in No.11 and No.10 caused awesome levels of disruption to the military and their efforts to plan and procure.
The sheer unwillingness to accept the arguments for CVF were obvious and their repetition only made for delay after delay to avoid any real financial commitment.

Long term budgets for Typhoon would disappear for months or years. Pretend wrangling used to cover the obvious reality of current shortfalls even at the ultimate increase in costs!

This was going on across the board.
 

phil gollin

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Because Gordon Brown quietly told them to drop the space for the CTOL gear as he was desperate to get the cost of two ships down after wasting the design and build time for 5 years forcing the Warship builders into an unwanted merger by cancelling all other ships and offering the CVF as big carrots but dropped a clanger as still tried to use the 2003 price without 5 years of accumulated costs, more expensive steel taken into account.
The Carrier when ordered for construction were still 'Officially' interchangeable as the Final F-35 type selection wasn't due till 2011 as the F-35B had failed to prove itself at that point. That why the 2010 Defence review switched to F-35C and CATOBAR, the official stance was they Carriers were designed and were supposed built to be changeable, it was ony after that was announced did the ACA reveal what they had been instructed to do to focus ony on STOVL and that the switch would take a lot longer and cost a lot more (Plus any delays would be at the Govt expense and they would need compensation for the lack of work during the redesign thanks to the contract they agreed after the enforced merger !!)
.

And has ANYONE admitted to actually giving the order to drop convertibility ? Or, has anyone admitted to not telling the RN ?

.
 

Foo Fighter

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A very good question, perhaps the thumb screws should come out of retirement.
 

kaiserd

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I’d like to see some (any?) actual evidence for many of the claims being made.
Sounds like desperate retrospective justification of the debacle around trying to shift to CTOL.
 

uk 75

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I was opposed to ordering aircraft carriers back in 1998 on the grounds that the RN had been barely able to keep one Invincible in commission and that SSNs were a more useful tool for the RN. A Commando ASW carrier like Ocean able to operate VSTOL aircraft if needed was a much more useful ship.
Now over 20 years later we have a very expensive version of that ship (as only one can be in commission). Was it worth the sacrifices made by the RN. Probably not. But we have the ship and its there and F35B might not be as duff (Dave as it got called) as I feared.
As for a 21st Century CVA01 it was and is never going to happen (unless you count my Triang model lookalike)
 

phil gollin

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I’d like to see some (any?) actual evidence for many of the claims being made.
Sounds like desperate retrospective justification of the debacle around trying to shift to CTOL.


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"Retrospective" as in written before the decisions ? That's not bad arse-covering even for a Tory government !

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Volkodav

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The facts are there - it says retain ability. It says buy a larger CTOL hull.

It retains the ability now. The larger hull is what we have.

It is still convertible.

It was just considered too expensive to action in detail for the benefits. What is difficult to understand about this?

There is no trick, no scheme, no dastardly devil. Just the reality of a complex and expensive project.

And I was there too, but not writing blogs - part of it!

I’m not sure how anything Cameron ever said has much value to this forum? The bloke was PR in it’s purest form of all style and zero substance.
Exactly, the concept was that the ships would initially operate Harrier, transition to F-35B and then at mid life, decide whether to convert them to CTOL, i.e. depending on whether there was a viable STO/VL replacement for F-35B available among other things. Undertaking such a radical change to the configuration of a ship with the intent of completing the work during what is already an extensive MLU is far less daunting than trying to redesign one that is already under construction. Ideally the decision would be made a decade or more out, design completed, materials ordered, equipment assembled and tested, all prior to the ship beginning the upgrade.

Redesigning a ship already under construction is idiocy.
 

Purpletrouble

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Harrier disappeared as a requirement prior to 2006. The Order was in 2007.

I don’t think anyone has thought beyond F35B.

Again, the requirement was that the ship could be adapted, not that doing it was specified to a level of difficulty or cost.
There were “CTOL” spaces marked all over the design, but these were very rough and indicative and as above predated EMALS. There was also lots of unused accomodation areas similarly for the expected higher crewing requirement of CV ops.
 

timmymagic

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Again, the requirement was that the ship could be adapted, not that doing it was specified to a level of difficulty or cost.
There were “CTOL” spaces marked all over the design, but these were very rough and indicative and as above predated EMALS. There was also lots of unused accomodation areas similarly for the expected higher crewing requirement of CV ops.
On the Navweaps forum there was a poster (who might still be active) called 'Hindpool' who was involved in the design and build of the QE Class. He detailed the series of events around the CATOBAR/STOVL angle. IIRC the requirement was ditched incredibly early on. Dr Liam Fox's re-examination of the F-35C was incompetence on the MoD's part and an easy £100m for the ACA, a phone call to the designers would have given them ballpark costs within an hour and knocked the idea on the head straightaway. Instead we wasted a year because of an incompetent Defence Ministers idea.
 

Purpletrouble

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Fox was certainly an idiot in his ideas and execution. The Dept soon got rid and reimposed what it wanted to do.

But CTOL was never really more than “set aside” which did get eaten into but again this whole “convert to CTOL” wasn’t what people have made it out to be, and very far from a “thing” that got deleted. Those CTOL spaces were still there in 2009 btw.

The 100M for ACA is small beer to the money it cost from delaying the program so much. “Prudent” Brown wasted billions.
 
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zen

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Brown is the reason for the delay in Main Gate, at least 5 years and frankly more wasted causing costs escalation.
All while cutting defense spending while fighting two wars.
 

timmymagic

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But CTOL was never really more than “set aside” which did get eaten into but again this whole “convert to CTOL” wasn’t what people have made it out to be, and very far from a “thing” that got deleted. Those CTOL spaces were still there in 2009 btw.

The 100M for ACA is small beer to the money it cost from delaying the program so much. “Prudent” Brown wasted billions.
I agree, that was the point that the Navweaps poster made, it was never a firm thing. The £100m is indeed small beer compared to the Treasury's ridiculous cost escalation of c£1.5bn to save in year costs. I guess the only upside was the £50-100m we got from the French for accessing the design. Incredibly even with the c£1.5bn of avoidable costs (that would have more than paid for the original Alpha design in hindsight..) they're still very good value for money in warship cost terms.
 

uk 75

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We do tend to forget that the UK is trying to do more than most second tier economic powers (ie everyone apart from US and China).
We now have a carrier and immediate task group better than any non US navy (CVF, 2 T45, some T23 and an SSN around). Unlike France we have a second such group as a swing.
The RAF's Typhoons have really experienced crews and F35B is coming along.
The Army has a lot of Apaches and pretty good European armoured battlegroups.
And we havr a Trident submarine at sea.
For all the bungling of politicians, bureaucrats and senior officers the people who operate them are pretty damn good.
No I am not being complacent. There is a lot wrong and huge mistakes continue. But in thes gloomy days I want a glass half full.
 
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Purpletrouble

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But CTOL was never really more than “set aside” which did get eaten into but again this whole “convert to CTOL” wasn’t what people have made it out to be, and very far from a “thing” that got deleted. Those CTOL spaces were still there in 2009 btw.

The 100M for ACA is small beer to the money it cost from delaying the program so much. “Prudent” Brown wasted billions.
I agree, that was the point that the Navweaps poster made, it was never a firm thing. The £100m is indeed small beer compared to the Treasury's ridiculous cost escalation of c£1.5bn to save in year costs. I guess the only upside was the £50-100m we got from the French for accessing the design. Incredibly even with the c£1.5bn of avoidable costs (that would have more than paid for the original Alpha design in hindsight..) they're still very good value for money in warship cost terms.
yes wasnt trying to disagree!

The cost management of CVF was absurd, but usual business for defence procurement. The system has been overhauled near continuously for decades but never gets any better.
I used to be impressed with the civil engineering industry (thinking railways) in terms of budgeting, particularly their approach to risk and reserve. But However that has also spectacularly fallen apart over the last decade. The common denominator being the public sector control...
 

sferrin

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Would the carriers be retrofitted to use EMALS at some point in the future once the system has been fully tested on the US Navy's Ford class super carriers? And return to CTOL carrier operations. I have heard rumours that this is now not going to happen.
Even if the USN were to ever get EMALS to a truly satisfactory state (I'm doubtful),
Why? It's not controlled nuclear fusion or antigravity.
 

Purpletrouble

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A one-off 167 vs target of 160 sustained for 30 days with actual one-off target of 270...

How much prep was needed for this? Were they trying for 270? How often have Nimitzs hit/exceeded their target?

It’s 2 years since it last tried to hit it’s target (when it achieved 50%) and has raised that to just over 60%. Sorry but the article reeks of PR over substance.

And look at the cost and time!

I still remember muppets screaming in 2010 the RN should be getting this kit and Super Hornet to get the capability done and dusted before 2015.
 
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