Royal Navy aircraft carrier costs 'to double'


It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Nov 6, 2010
Reaction score
From BBC News:
Royal Navy aircraft carrier costs 'to double'

4 November 2013

The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.

In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.
The department says it is renegotiating the contract to avoid further significant rises.
Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn.

The defence project is one of the biggest ever undertaken in the UK and has been beset by construction and design delays.
A government source said it had inherited a flawed contract that was now being renegotiated to ensure industry shared the burden of any future rises.
During the course of the project, an order for carrier jump jets - capable of short take-offs and vertical landings - was switched to jets with a longer range that could carry more weapons.

However, in February last year, the MoD decided to revert to the original jets for logistical and financial reasons.
This "U-turn" saw £74m of taxpayers' money go "down the drain", Labour's Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said in September.

The cross-party committee, which assesses value for money in government spending, has said it still regards the project as "a huge technical and commercial risk" and was not convinced the MoD had it under control. It said in its report that officials had made basic errors, such as failing to factor in the cost of inflation and VAT.

Assembly work is taking place on both of the 65,000-tonne carriers at a specially extended dry dock at Rosyth, on the River Forth in Dunfermline.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will not be finished until 2016 at the earliest, will be delivered before the HMS Prince of Wales.
The Royal Navy says the ships will carry helicopters until 2020, when the fighter jets will become available.
The UK currently has only one aircraft carrier - HMS Illustrious - but this cannot be used for strike aircraft, only helicopters. This has led to warnings of a decade-long capability gap.


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Jan 2, 2006
Reaction score
Ignore it crap reporting and a crap select commitee neither of which can be arsed to do their homework. The estimated costs at ordering were already woefully under as they were based on a 2005 order not 2007, BAE/VT/Thales had already said before the order was placed that the costs were closer to 4.2 rather then 3.8 Billion. By the time they were ordered the cost of the materials had shot up as China was in overdrive taking all that it could to feed its industry, then the economy collapsed also pushing prices up. Factor in Gordon Brown trying to use the programme to boost the economy by first pushing up the build cycle regardless of cost, then finding the coffers were empty of the £10 billion he was supposed to have ringfenced for them and the JSF so had to reset the build programme at a deferred cost which added well over another billion to the project.

Interestingly they seemed to pick up on the CATOBAR switch although this had no direct cost on the carrier build or delayed it, rather than the previous governments mismanagement, or that when the switch was made the option was always there due to the risk of the F-35B or that at the time US SecDef Gates was pushing for it to be cancelled due to its poor test performance, which forced their hand to react rather then rather than later where the changes could be better judged.

Yes the price has crept up, but then so has everything these days but using headlines about double the estimates is just gutter press reporting making the builders look bad when actually most of the cost increases are due to the previous governments mismanagement of the programme and the economy. Can't see many current defence jounalists matching the likes of Desmond Wetton, Max Hastings these days which is rather sad. :'(


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
May 26, 2011
Reaction score
On the plus side, we British taxpayers can now see what we're paying for from the train as you cross the Forth. Which is nice.

A few of us in Geordieland are planning a trip to see it launched/pulled out/whatever next year.

Here's a snap from the Daily Record website (no, Joe, I don't read look at the Daily Record, but this is the best photo I've found)


Similar threads