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Royal Navy without CVF

uk 75

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Just been thinking, supposing the RN had decided in 1997 to stick with its frigate and SSN fleet and not build the two carriers, what could we have done instead.
Assumes the Invincibles are run on, but no new ships built
 

Archibald

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Do like every aspiring naval power does on that planet: buy huge, 30 000 tons LHA, put Harriers on the deck, and say "this is an aircraft carrier" Australia, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy and many other do that... later buy a handful of VSTOL F-35, per lack of better aircraft...
 

Kadija_Man

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Archibald said:
Do like every aspiring naval power does on that planet: buy huge, 30 000 tons LHA, put Harriers on the deck, and say "this is an aircraft carrier" Australia, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy and many other do that... later buy a handful of VSTOL F-35, per lack of better aircraft...
Except neither Australia, Japan or South Korea has ever operated Harriers. The RAN has expressly designed it's LHAs not to be able to operate F-35s. They lack the space for hangars, armament stowage, etc. for fixed wing aircraft operation. They definitely do not have arrestor gear for CTOL aircraft operation. As the RAAF has presently no plans to operate F-35Bs, the RAN doesn't either.
 

Archibald

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My answer was mostly tongue in cheek...
 

kaiserd

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Again not to be a party-pooper (that’s a saying, right?) the point of the CVF’s were to give the RN surface fleet a meaningful role going forward rather than just dressed-up fisheries protection (the Type 46’s were built with a similar expeditionary warfare scenario in mind, to protect large combatants like the CVF).

Hence a theoretical CVF-less RN likely to be very submariner, SSN dominated.
 

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I think as above, some 3Xk LHA/CVL, with a small number of F35Bs planned. 3 wanted originally, 2 built with the 2 LPDs possibly replaced by some more c.2030.

Can’t work out if the same thing or more like the Italian, each ship optimised?

But akin to Italy’s efforts than Japan/Australia.

T45 as is given the overwhelming need for AAW, T26 sooner to replace T22B3s and retain the global deployment.

Either way, not some 65k+ monster and fantasies of sqaudron after sqaudron at sea, all sucking the life out of the rest of the RN.
 

uk 75

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For most of its history the Royal Navy could assess its needs against the background of "an enemy fleet in being".
The Cold War dominated its post WW2 composition until the 90s.
The 1997 Strategic Defence Review focussed on the Blair policy of "liberal interventionism" in the Balkans, Sierra Leone and finally, Iraq/Afghanistan.
Firing off a few Tomahawks from an SSN would be my prefered answer. No boots on the ground. No RAF bombing raids with attendant risks.
Military action rarely makes things better (ok Hitler A, removal of, did).
The Invincibles were designed to get NATO convoys across the Atlantic and then beat a path to the North Cape for the US Second Fleet ( aka NATO Striking Fleet).
With no Soviet nuclear subs to hunt, the RN found itself in a pre 1966 world of having to find a role for its big ships. Frigates are the squad cars of the fleet but Admirals need big ships.
I would keep the SSN fleet at a level able to sink the capital ships of likely opponents and deliver Tomahawks in support of allies.
The Army and the RN vie to provide rapid response forces (amounting to a Brigade each).
This is a legacy of WW2 rather than any meaningful role/composition assessement. Paras and Marines are more likely to arrive in an airliner styled transport than by airdrop or seaborne assault.
As a civvi I want a lot more info on this.
HMS Ocean was the most useful ship. Theseus and Glory could have been built to join her. An airgroup with Chinooks, Merlins (ASW and Commando) and Apaches would allow a range of roles. Airpower these days can be either Tomahawks or Predators but if we are faced with an opponent with serious airpower, we have to ask seriously why we are picking a fight.
 

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Ocean was too small, and too cheap.
The lack of profits helped kill the company and the tightness of the design meant serious upgrades or even deep maintenance was prohibitively expensive.
Strictly a larger and more expensive ship would have benefited Navy, shipbuilder and longer term finances.

But that's not an answer acceptable is it.

Much like with CVF really.
 

helmutkohl

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just to clarify..
Japan's ships are NOT like those in Korea, Australia, etc
they are full blown helicopter carriers. there's no provision for LHA type operations on the ship. you can see it on the back.
thus they have a hanger for aircraft. but not a dock for tanks, hydrofoils, etc.



in this regard, they are more similar the UK's invincible class
 

Hood

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Ocean was too small, and too cheap.
The lack of profits helped kill the company and the tightness of the design meant serious upgrades or even deep maintenance was prohibitively expensive.
Strictly a larger and more expensive ship would have benefited Navy, shipbuilder and longer term finances.

But that's not an answer acceptable is it.

Much like with CVF really.
Indeed, the acquisition of Ocean was a disaster, the MoD and Treasury tried to wring out every penny. She was a valuable ship but there is no doubt had her acquisition been delayed another 5 years she probably wouldn't have been built and an Invincible would have been used to carry the Royal Marines around instead (which happened anyway by the early 2000s).

Would the RN have been better to have waited and not built Ocean and gone for something like 3 Canberras to have replaced the Invincibles? Possibly, but I feel that's a bit of hindsight hand waving. Those Navantia LHAs didn't exist when CVF was born, the first (Juan Carlos) was not designed until 2003. HMS QE was not ordered until 2007 but the CVF studies had already been ongoing for a decade and it would have been very hard to have suddenly reversed track and gone for a multi-role carrier when as early as 1999 larger carriers were being actively submitted by industry and potential tie-ups with France explored.

Maybe an Anglo-French deal with 1 CVF as PA2 and the UK getting a couple of Mistrals would have been a cool outcome, totally unaffordable and fan boy in scope, but its good to dream some days.
 

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I remember that arguments I and others had on warships1 back in the EZ board days covering the late 90's and 2000's. The debate over quite what to succeed the Invincibles was heated, and wide ranging.
But smaller carriers are not that much cheaper, and once you factor in through life costs it's even less so.

Fact is the carriers operational capacity limit is The limit and once you set it lower and build that then you cannot raise it in operations only send another carrier or live (and potentially fail) without it.
 

uk 75

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The problem with carriers for the RN remains the same as it was in 1966. The UK cannot afford to operate more than one carrier at a time, and crewing them has also been difficult.
What the RN needed then as now is three cheap and cheerful ASW/Commando helo carriers. The SSNs are our capital ships. Had they been used properly in 1982 the whole Falklands tragedy could have been avoided.
Nott was right at the time, the RN needed ASW assets to do its NATO role. The Amphibious Warfare force had never been used in combat since 1961. Its NATO role was to reinforce Norway. Since it had to get there before war started, British Airways could have got the men there and their kit would fit in a few ferries.
The real workhorse of the RN is the frigate. We should have put the money into them.
 
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Archibald

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Maybe an Anglo-French deal with 1 CVF as PA2 and the UK getting a couple of Mistrals would have been a cool outcome, totally unaffordable and fan boy in scope, but its good to dream some days.
By this point in alternate history, you'd better start from zero in 1970. Blend the Invincible with PH75, the later non nuclear. Add the Italians and Spanish into the lot.
End result: 3*Invincible + 2*PH75 + 1*Asturias + 1*Garibaldi = 7 * 20000 tons "Helocarriers" / "Harrier-carriers".

In parallel with that, circa 1973 (the years a Harrier toured French Navy decks: Foch and Jeanne d'Arc LPH) France see the light, screw the Super Etendard and gets Sea Harriers instead.
Or a Big Wing Harrier for everybody - France and USMC included, RN (no SHAR) RAF, Italian and Spanish navies.

In the 80's the 7*UE helicopter carriers enter service. Fine.

From this point on, the alliance split... or partly split.

France and GB start designing a 40 000 to 60 000 ton CATOBAR.

Meanwhile the same countries plus Italy and Spain go the "very large amphibious" (25 000 tons) way. Perhaps derived from the previous ships.
This blend together: Ocean, Mistrals, Juan Carlos, Cavour right from the 90's. Six more ships.

End result: by 2000, Europe has no less than thirteen ships with Harriers on the deck: seven SCS and six big LHA.

Basically, having the amphibious fleet build out of the helicopter-carriers, plus Italy and Spain onboard, is a huge relieve for France and GB in their common quest for large, expensive CATOBAR carriers.

Incidentally, they also have less pressure... because the helicopter carriers and amphibious large european fleet(s) (the 13 ships) can carry Harriers as "Plan B" in case CATOBAR fails.

And this include France, because the death of the Super Etendard also killed any hope of a Rafale-M: basically it got Dassault out of naval combat aircraft. It also re-introduced France to VSTOL / CTOL naval aircraft.

It is possible that GB and France buy 4*CATOBAR carrier togethers, and decides to put F-18C on the deck, and later F-18E. It very nearly happened to France OTL in 1989, only screwed by Dassault and politicians (Mitterrand, you old machiavellian crook !)
 
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Purpletrouble

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Problem with the RN and carriers is men and money.

CVF is the right answer if you want a stovl fleet carrier.

It is the wrong answer if you want a ship that can act as flagship, carry helos and a small force of fixed wing (max 2 sqns all out effort with all ships) and is acheivable within UK resources.

Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years - always looking to the past be it trying to build battleships instead of carriers after Pearl Harbour etc., massive cruisers in the 50s and then this “mini USNitus” that keeps coming out.

Then again, not sure the Army has been much better led. The crisis seems to be in our top people as the conflcits show our people still fight well at the bottom regardless of service.
 

Archibald

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Still the same old issue... if you want firepower to strike land targets from the sea, what's the best combination for Europe ?
- Cruise missiles on frigates and submarines ?
- CATOBAR ?
- Surrogate CATOBAR 1.0 > very large ambibious - with limited air cover / strike capability ?
- Surrogate CATOBAR 2.0 > SCS with Harriers / F-35B / Ospreys ?

For France and Great Britain the choice between these options has been quite tortured since 1960.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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Problem with the RN and carriers is men and money.

CVF is the right answer if you want a stovl fleet carrier.

It is the wrong answer if you want a ship that can act as flagship, carry helos and a small force of fixed wing (max 2 sqns all out effort with all ships) and is acheivable within UK resources.

Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years - always looking to the past be it trying to build battleships instead of carriers after Pearl Harbour etc., massive cruisers in the 50s and then this “mini USNitus” that keeps coming out.

Then again, not sure the Army has been much better led. The crisis seems to be in our top people as the conflcits show our people still fight well at the bottom regardless of service.
I'm not sure there has ever been case where the RN has been trying to build Battleships instead of Carriers. The Pre-War construction programs led to the construction of 7 Aircraft Carriers (8 if you include Unicorn) and 5 Battleships. Hardly a case of misty-eyed Battleship Admirals refusing to accept the future.
 

zen

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No the problem is the political willpower, which can if it wants find a way to afford personnel and equipment and training and logistics.

As to a European CVS type force, if France and the UK had found a way, it could have happened.

Wasn't Tarawa LPHA pre-Ocean?
And isn't Wasp concurrent?
Arguably then one might have gon down this route instead of Ocean and the LPDs and elements of this could have carried over the to carriers.
 

uk 75

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I still do not understand why you are all so wedded to having an amphibious assault capability when helicopters rather than landing craft have nearly always been the way marine troops have got ashore.
 

zen

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I still do not understand why you are all so wedded to having an amphibious assault capability when helicopters rather than landing craft have nearly always been the way marine troops have got ashore.
And how do you more the heavy stuff ashore?
 

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Problem with the RN and carriers is men and money.

CVF is the right answer if you want a stovl fleet carrier.

It is the wrong answer if you want a ship that can act as flagship, carry helos and a small force of fixed wing (max 2 sqns all out effort with all ships) and is acheivable within UK resources.

Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years - always looking to the past be it trying to build battleships instead of carriers after Pearl Harbour etc., massive cruisers in the 50s and then this “mini USNitus” that keeps coming out.

Then again, not sure the Army has been much better led. The crisis seems to be in our top people as the conflcits show our people still fight well at the bottom regardless of service.
I'm not sure there has ever been case where the RN has been trying to build Battleships instead of Carriers. The Pre-War construction programs led to the construction of 7 Aircraft Carriers (8 if you include Unicorn) and 5 Battleships. Hardly a case of misty-eyed Battleship Admirals refusing to accept the future.
Checkout what the FSL was trying to do during the war, and even in ‘44/45 and beyond they wanted new BBs. Not so much misty eyed as literally blind.
 

Purpletrouble

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No the problem is the political willpower, which can if it wants find a way to afford personnel and equipment and training and logistics.

As to a European CVS type force, if France and the UK had found a way, it could have happened.

Wasn't Tarawa LPHA pre-Ocean?
And isn't Wasp concurrent?
Arguably then one might have gon down this route instead of Ocean and the LPDs and elements of this could have carried over the to carriers.
That problem is reality. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

A LPH nearly 2 decades after the US had proved the LPH concept was flawed and had gone LHA, is daft. Especially as the LPDs needed replacement and a single 3 ship class would be world leading (Juan Carlos 10 years earlier) and combine helos and landing craft.

Instead we built quite literally what we had had in the early 1970s. Now with one bit gone the other two bits cant stand on their own.

2 LHDs in the 90/00s and then 2 larger CVS variants or 3 of a single design would be more flexible and useful forhow we’ve used the Navy. As it is we are being floored by the cost of “carrier strike” and “carrier enabled power projection” - signs the size of the ships led to a literal madness which has led to the near elimination of RN frigates abroad and the amphibous force they are supposed to cover.
 

uk 75

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When did the UK last have to land heavy equipment ashore as opposed to via a port or airfield?
A straightforward helo carrier comes a lot cheaper than an LHA. In fact its virtually a merchant ship like Ocean.
But it spends most of its life out of harms way.
If (God forbid) we are dumb enough to have to make an opposed landing (Inchon?) anything involved will get the Sir Galahad treatment.
 

uk 75

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The role of the Royal Navy's frigates is b all to do with."covering amphibious forces". They provide the bulk of peacetime patrol duties and support in numerous roles. They can protect merchant shipping or NATO convoys.
Can we please get over the Falklands/Suez fixation and look at what a modern peacetime Navy actually does. Any General War the UK gets in will be fought by the USN.
 

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Agree on the frigates - but as with the bays the dock and mult role adaptsbility of something with that plus two storage decks (helos / vehicles) is incredibly useful.

It’s the LPDs that seem OTT. I’m not convinced by “amphib forces are toast”, they werent at Inchon, Flaklands, numerous other smaller landings and wouldnt have been Kuwait/Iraq. For even non hot war, landing craft are needed for bulk of stores.

If we look back, we managed to operate 2 of 3 CVS, an LPH and an LPD (2nd non eixstent or in reserve). 4 major ships. Forward to now, we can do about 3. So say 3-4 Cavour/Trieste ships would be ideal. More matched to our needs and more supportable.

Something able to do CVLS and LHA would be ideal. 30+ k seems sufficient to acheive that. Good enough perhaps.
 

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Problem with the RN and carriers is men and money.

CVF is the right answer if you want a stovl fleet carrier.

It is the wrong answer if you want a ship that can act as flagship, carry helos and a small force of fixed wing (max 2 sqns all out effort with all ships) and is acheivable within UK resources.

Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years - always looking to the past be it trying to build battleships instead of carriers after Pearl Harbour etc., massive cruisers in the 50s and then this “mini USNitus” that keeps coming out.

Then again, not sure the Army has been much better led. The crisis seems to be in our top people as the conflcits show our people still fight well at the bottom regardless of service.
I'm not sure there has ever been case where the RN has been trying to build Battleships instead of Carriers. The Pre-War construction programs led to the construction of 7 Aircraft Carriers (8 if you include Unicorn) and 5 Battleships. Hardly a case of misty-eyed Battleship Admirals refusing to accept the future.
Checkout what the FSL was trying to do during the war, and even in ‘44/45 and beyond they wanted new BBs. Not so much misty eyed as literally blind.
2 New Battleships compared to the 4 Maltas, 3 Audacious class and multiple classes of Light Fleet Carriers. Prior to transition from Broken-Backed Nuclear War to Massive Retaliation, Battleships still filled a niche as the only reliable all-weather means of sinking a large surface combatant.

Until the entry of service of SSNs from the mid 1950s onwards, and the Buccaneer and Intruder in 1962, it was a niche that remained unfilled.

Remember Royal Navy experience included actions that took place in much worse weather conditions than those faced by the USN. I seriously doubt that a US Carrier Task Force of 1945 vintage could have operated in the same conditions as the Battle of the North Cape, let alone reliably find and sink anything.
 
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Purpletrouble

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Problem with the RN and carriers is men and money.

CVF is the right answer if you want a stovl fleet carrier.

It is the wrong answer if you want a ship that can act as flagship, carry helos and a small force of fixed wing (max 2 sqns all out effort with all ships) and is acheivable within UK resources.

Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years - always looking to the past be it trying to build battleships instead of carriers after Pearl Harbour etc., massive cruisers in the 50s and then this “mini USNitus” that keeps coming out.

Then again, not sure the Army has been much better led. The crisis seems to be in our top people as the conflcits show our people still fight well at the bottom regardless of service.
I'm not sure there has ever been case where the RN has been trying to build Battleships instead of Carriers. The Pre-War construction programs led to the construction of 7 Aircraft Carriers (8 if you include Unicorn) and 5 Battleships. Hardly a case of misty-eyed Battleship Admirals refusing to accept the future.
Checkout what the FSL was trying to do during the war, and even in ‘44/45 and beyond they wanted new BBs. Not so much misty eyed as literally blind.
2 New Battleships compared to the 4 Malta's, 3 Audacious class and multiple classes of Light Fleet Carriers. Prior to transition from Broken-Backed Nuclear War to Massive Retaliation, Battleships still filled a niche as the only reliable all-weather means of sinking a large surface combatant.

Until the entry of service of SSNs from the mid 1950s onwards, and the Buccaneer and Intruder in 1962, it was a niche that remained unfilled.

Remember Royal Navy experience included actions that took place in much worse weather conditions than those faced by the USN. I seriously doubt that a US Carrier Task Force of 1945 vintage could have operated in the same conditions as the Battle of the North Cape, let alone reliably find and sink anything.
Come on - the UK’s ability to put anything in the water was much less than the fantasy the Admiralty ordered. That effort was manifestly better spent on carriers - look how the light fleets were so much more useful than yet more 6” cruisers.

Plus, if you read the detail, it was the latter armoured carriers / what became Eagle/Ark Royal that 1SL wanted to cancel to progress those 2 BB. That at least was recognised as madness.

If we’d put the effort from Vanguard into a 35k fleet carrier that ship would have served to the late 70s as the centrepiece of the RN and set the standard for the 50s and 60s.

As it was, we got the world’s (history’s?) most expensive Royal Yacht. You couldn’t have written a more illuminating way to show the failure to see what was in front of then.
 

uk 75

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The main flaw in Nott was the lack of relisation that NATO forces reinforcing Norway might need to stay at sea for several days while the choice of arrival point was determined (presumably on the level and focus of Sov activity). This needed big ships like LPD/LPH.
However, this was rather undermined by the fact that in many exercises the RM did use commercial ferries and roros because they were cheaper and more reliable.
I argued in an earlier thread that the Italians got their minicarrier into service faster and cheaper than we did CVF. However, now we got them, the two ships will be better for our main roles than the minicarriers.
I am also reluctantly of the view that even without CVF the RN would have lost out in Defence Reviews. The Army could point to real operations that were killing soldiers and request kit. The RAF sensibly junked its unloved Harriers to keep its Tornados until Typhoon got the role.
I am sure they will find a way of getting F35As.
The RN has been the big loser in the post Cold War environment.
It has itself to blame. The SSN and frigate force stories were never told properly to the public. The fixation with carriers (both Nott and Healey used their questions to expose the RN's lack of logic for them) has served it badly.
The Invincibles were helicopter cruisers first and foremost. They were the 1962 big ASWcruiser realised. Instead from 1979 they became carriers and the big ship admirals were back in business.
The RN used the enthusiasm of the Blair government for the Balkans operation (the Tories had tried to keep out of doing anything) to argue for carriers capable of air operations ashore. The result was inevitably an unsatisfactory ship. As the Russians and Chinese are finding, Stobar ships cannot match a Nimitz in capability however large you build them.
We had been here before. The RN tried to get a Forrestal. The clue was in the name, CVA01. Not R01.
The Amphibious force ships are cursed by a similar over ambition. Most operations are about several hundred marines flying in by airliner or helicopter. Heavy kit can arrive by roro or RAFC17.
The USN which has highly specialised amphibs has rarely used them in its major wars. Marine tanks came ashore in the opening years of Vietnam. Grenada was taken by LVTPs. But in Iraq and Afgjanistan the marines were used as extra mechanised forces and arrived by chartered air and roro.
 

zen

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Oh dear Cavour came up umpteen times years ago. But it's too small and too lightweight for the sustained air ops using JSF and the rest of what's needed in terms of helicopters.

Fact is this pathway is down the Tarawa/Wasp route to a 40,000ton ship and curiously enough one that would fit in unmodernised Davenport No.10, the Battleship docks at Rosyth or even the Locks at Pompy.
 

zen

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Thing about landing heavy stuff is it's one hell of an assumption that a nearby port is available in reasonable time and at reasonable cost.
Lots of places just don't have that.
 

zen

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the chief problem with the Frigate/Destroyer force was getting sucked into NF-90, FU, FUN, FUNGI and Horizon.
 

uk 75

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While I accept that the past is not an adequate guide to the future, it is the best we have.
Operations that require LHA/LHDs have been rare.
While the USN and USMC have the luxury (up until recently) of building up such a force, the RN is much more constrained.
I will avoid the political background save to say that it is even less likely now that the UK will engage in a war except as part of a US led coalition.
The RMs and Parachute Bns are highly trained spcialised forces but they do tend to get used simply as light infantry, rotating with standard Army infantry units.
Because of this HM Treasury are likely to press for them to be reduced in size and refocussed on roles requiring their specialist skills.
 

uk 75

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To be fair to the RN every Navy has found it difficult to procure destroyers and frigates. The T45 is no worse than any of its analogues (though skimped in weapons fit). The T23s have been made to serve longer than should have been. But the US experience with LCS shows we may have been lucky not to have tried to replace them when the Balkans, and theWar on Terror, were dominating planning.
I hope the desire of some to reenact "Tomorrow never dies" with the real RN wont screw up the F26.
 

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However, this was rather undermined by the fact that in many exercises the RM did use commercial ferries and roros because they were cheaper and more reliable.
Thing about landing heavy stuff is it's one hell of an assumption that a nearby port is available in reasonable time and at reasonable cost.
Lots of places just don't have that.
And even if the port exists, and you can get access to the berths at a reasonable price and timeline, you have to think port facilities are going to be missile and bomb magnets in the type of war that needs UK reinforcements to the continent.
 
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starviking

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Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years
I see the problem slightly differently: the RN, as with the rest of the Armed Services, have to deal with a penny-wise, pound-foolish Treasury. The troubles are compounded by a ruling class which sees a PPE degree as the pinnacle of achievement, and who have such little technical savvy, I doubt they could even operate an old flint cigarette lighter.

If the RN goes for LPHs, the Treasury sees some “carriers”, the Cabinet nods their heads sagely, and carrier gets eliminated, but the politicos still require carrier strike.

A few disasters down the line, the Navy gets the blame, Cabinet all get knighthoods.
 
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Purpletrouble

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Oh dear Cavour came up umpteen times years ago. But it's too small and too lightweight for the sustained air ops using JSF and the rest of what's needed in terms of helicopters.

Fact is this pathway is down the Tarawa/Wasp route to a 40,000ton ship and curiously enough one that would fit in unmodernised Davenport No.10, the Battleship docks at Rosyth or even the Locks at Pompy.
Oh dear indeed. But only because you are trying to justify what you think are “sustained air ops”.

CVF could not have sustained the SHADER campaign which has been 6-1jets since 2015. It would have been massive overkill for the 6-9 months a year a ship could have been on scene, and still not have been able to sustain the tempo of 4+4 each day every day for 5 years now.
It would have required sending about 2000 people including afloat support and escorts, vs the 200 added to Akrotiri.
It still would have needed the Votager and the Sentinel and the air bridge and the Hercs and helos so Akrotiri is still needed.

The lesson is if you set a more realistic and reasonable target, the Italian ship is perfectly good enough.

We just do not need, and cannot afford, a ship able to operate 48 F35s. Which is what CVF is.
 

Purpletrouble

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Amphib wise the RN has generally been a few decades behind. Building Ocean then 2 pure LPDs was absolutely daft when LPHs had clearly been succeeded as a concept 2 decades earlier.

To be fair, the RN hasn’t really had good leadership in the last 100 years
I see the problem slightly differently: the RN, as with the rest of the Armed Services, have to deal with a penny-wise, pound-foolish Treasury. The troubles are compounded by a ruling class which sees a PPE degree as the pinnacle of achievement, and who have such little technical savvy, I doubt they could even operate an old flint cigarette lighter.

If the RN goes for LPHs, the Treasury sees some “carriers”, the Cabinet nods their heads sagely, and carrier gets eliminated, but the politicos still require carrier strike.

A few disasters down the line, the Navy gets the blame, Cabinet all get knighthoods.
I think you are absolving the services here. They are the architects of their misfortune far more than whatever politican signs or does not sign. The financial illiteracy, cap badge/division/branch bias and constant drive to imitate the US/the past have far more to do with where we are.
 

zen

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An impression of underlying aggression through an inability to agree where we can agree.... speaks volumes.
Because there is scope to agree and obviously so.

Strictly if we wanted to run a minimum of 4 JSF (ensuring availability of 1 aircraft), and 2 AEW helicopters (risking lack of availability) and 2 SAR helicopters (mitigated risk due to lower operating tempo). Then a getting practical ship below 15,000tons would be impressive, even now, some 40 years after this was first realised.

Invincible expanded capacity initially to sustaining 2 fast jets (total of 5 though ideally 6) and added the full ASW helicopter compliment. Factor in a full Sea Dart fit and you get to over 20,000tons rather quickly and that's with the lower fuel and stores 'burn through' rate the Sea Harrier imposes.

Going for JSF and wanting to sustain a total of 24 (implying availability between 8-12) along with a compliment of helicopters for ASW or Lift, means there will be precious little tonnage left. Hence why Tarawa and Wasp etc are over 40,000tons.
Because otherwise your cheap Cavour (it isn't thanks to the systems fit) is going to either need so much landbased airpower you'll wonder why you bother or a second Cavour to deliver the capacity and cost you far more than had you just bitten the bullet and gone to over 40,000tons instead of below 30,000. Penny wise Pond folly....or should that be Cent wise Euro folly......

Because Cavour makes sense for the Italians operating in the Med. Doesn't mean it makes sense for the RN, who might be in the Med, but might be off the Malacca Straights and might be in the Gulf of Guinea or a dozen other areas. Including that balmy sunny calm millpond known as the North Sea ;)
 

Archibald

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A LPH nearly 2 decades after the US had proved the LPH concept was flawed and had gone LHA, is daft.
I wish I could learn more about this. Always been intrigued by the Iwo Jimas and the large numbers build. Was there a "turning point" when the Iwo Jimas proved all wrong ?
(shame they weren't passed to thers navies but well...)
 
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