Comments on: Libya crisis could scupper British aircraft carriers once and for all Insights from the UK and beyond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:41:14 +0000 hourly 1 By: lifeinabluesuit Mon, 28 Nov 2011 21:50:58 +0000 Unfortunately, whilst the RAF do have flashy jets and good holiday phots from italy, they do not have the operational capability. it says on the MOD website that they flew over 7000 hours of operations. Tornados and Typhooon have an endurance of abouth 1500km. this meant they could only spend 7 minutes in Libyan airspace on any sortie. even with a hugely costly unreliable air bridge that took over 2 weeks to set up it still failed to deliver on nearly every level. whereas a carrier would have taken under a week to get there with up to 20 aircraft flying round the clock. with destroyers and ASW frigates in the task group it could have provided area Air and Submarine defence. to top it off with an RFA for refuelling it would be sustainable for a huge length of time. yes, having a well defended airbase within range of every potential future threat probably would be a better solution. however that is not possible. with the largely unused eurofighter costing over 29 billion and the new harrier and joint strike fighter at half the cost, the question has to be asked. which is worth it?

By: Rollern Sun, 10 Jul 2011 06:07:08 +0000 For the amount it costs to build these aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, one could get a dozen Typhoonsquadrons or higher up, 24 Gripensquadrons. To maintain two aircraft carriers, one non-operational, can be seen as an economic madness. Consider that aircraft carriers “only” should be useful to defend the Falkland Islands, it is senseless.
When you then consider that self-protecting at sea is more difficult to keep today in which new technology can easily detect and control aircraft carriers, may question the usefulness of the vessels.

By: multilis2 Fri, 17 Jun 2011 19:27:37 +0000 How do you defend an aircraft carrier in the future, such as against long range missile attack?

Every year computers get smarter and cheaper so easier to target.

Suppose for example a balistic mirv missile such as what china is thinking about, on reentry you can have 10 to 100 different missiles coming in at mach 5 – 10, an aircraft carrier is a very big and slow target.

Or you could have a bunch of cheap low flying stealthy drones with ramjet engines, not much warning, overwhelm defenses by having so many at same time.

By: az1166 Mon, 30 May 2011 21:51:27 +0000 As an American (fashionably late as always), It really gets my blood boiling to hear you saying the British should just leave the on sea operations to the U.S. because we have carriers. We also have a major financial mess on our hands and though we want to stand by and stand up for our allies, the time may soon come were you’ll need to sort out your own messes. The US Navy is not the British Navy, so if the British need carriers to fill the mission gap, it sure better start building them.

It would be really nice to turn on the TV one day and see the British off the coast of some country giving aid or military deterrent, rather than us all the time. It’s high time you guys get in the game.

By: AUSIE Fri, 15 Apr 2011 13:47:53 +0000 England had the most powerfull navy’s in the world, why the bristish government is downsizing the british armed forces is beyond me, the suggestion of cancelling the new carriers is not what the british people would want, they want to see their navy be a strong effective force, stop handing out tax payers money to ilegal imigrants and start biulding our defence force up to where it was several years ago.

By: jack11 Mon, 04 Apr 2011 09:26:08 +0000 …oh, and I totally agree regards Sharkey! He was a FAA legend but I think all the walls he’s been banging his head against have finally done some damage to his grey matter!

Take all he says with a bucket load of salt.

By: jellymould Fri, 01 Apr 2011 07:58:04 +0000 Woodmansterne – anyone quoting Sharkey Ward needs to beware and examine their own “one-sided” position; Mr Ward’s is famously anti-RAF and his recent blogs so full of factually incorrect and hugely biased statements that he is rapidly becoming a laughing stock in aviation circles.

I’m also curious where you got your info regarding Stormshadow & Brimstone data from; Brimstone has a near 100% hit rate in Afghanistan.

Jack11 – The ONLY similarity between TLAM & Stormshadow is that they are both described as “cruise missiles”. TLAM could not have done the job that the Stormshadows did.

Debate and opinion is good guys, but informed debate and opinion is far far better!

BTW, I’m all for carriers, but 1 isn’t enough, and we simply cannot afford them right now.

By: Woodmansterne Tue, 29 Mar 2011 09:18:27 +0000 What an articulate but disappointingly one-sided article.

Obviously the author is unaware that 60% of the allied aircraft assigned to the Libya operation are based on aircraft carriers which means that at least 80% of the missions are being flown from them as they have only a fifth of the distance to cover.

If it wasn’t for USMC Harriers, other US Navy and French Navy aircraft the operation would probably be close to a non-starter and much less effective.

And they don’t seem too worried about “defence from air attack” or Gadaffi’s “soviet-era submarines”. Obviously they forgot to read this piece.

The real point about the RAF in this op is that in the grand scheme of things, it’s contribution is largely irrelevant. 3 (possibly just 2) out of 4 stormshadows hit their target and 2 out of 6 Brimstones. So 4.5 hits in total. Compared to 112 tomahawks fired from sea, of which 96% hit their target and one suspects, much greater effects from the USMC Harriers, French and US Navy aircraft.

The UK’s Libya mission is not really that military in its effects but diplomatic. Wave the British flag for Cameron’s no-fly zone and continue to pursue the sectional interests of the RAF at the expense of the country and something much more useful, flexible and lower cost, the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy’s carriers.

See here libya_analysis/ and here lity-check-2.html for another perspective.

And to read up on this subject in more depth, look at some of these reports  /reports-other-documents-available-to-d ownload/.

By: jack11 Sun, 27 Mar 2011 00:55:08 +0000 “Britain’s defence equipment should prioritise stealth (exemplified by submarines), speed (in the shape of fighter jets among other things), range (tanker aircraft), accessibility (transport aircraft), deterrence (Trident) and punch (such as state of the art cruise, SAM and AAM missiles). While operations in Libya may not show aircraft carriers to be obsolete, it could well reveal how they struggle to be a class-leader in any one of these fields.”

Erm, sorry, but let me just check I have this right…

Stealth (F35 is pretty stealthy last I checked), Speed (an aircraft carrier can be deployed as a trouble spot is flaring up and therefore be available for action the moment combat begins and from as little as 12 miles off the coast.), range (are you kidding me, are you seriously arguing that an aircraft carrier has limited range), accessibility (erm, now I wasn’t too good at geography but there’s quite a lot of blue on my world map poster and not so many airfields. Also, HNS and over flight rights might scupper those big ol’ transport aircraft), deterrence (now you’re making me laugh! A 65000 tonne ship off your coast with 36 5th gen fighters, helicopters and support assets can be quite deterring if you are thinking of being a bad boy), punch (I refer you back to my last comment, 36 5th gen fighters, add to this the carrier’s battle group including TLAM equipped attack subs and modern SAM equipped destroyers and that’s some punch!)

Libya isn’t a conflict that requires carriers but as France and the US are showing….they would have helped. Don’t forget though, that it’s not ALL about military effect, it’s about what you can put on sky news as doing that counts. Carriers make good TV that say to the world stage “look how powerful and capable we are”, land based air assets just don’t have the same impact unless they do something dramatic. Hence the 3000nm round trip by the Gr4s to engage targets using what is essentially an air launched TLAM. If they wanted the targets hit, they would have fired more TLAMs, if they wanted the targets hit along with some news to report, they fly 4 Gr4s 3000nm and release official MOD footage.

Nice one sided article though, especially the part about how we beat the Spanish Armada in 1588 without carriers….or aeroplanes, probably won’t be needing the RAF then. 😉

By: KiwiJohnny Tue, 22 Mar 2011 22:32:29 +0000 The Typoons may be fast but they are not ground attack but air to air warplanes. I have read serious military criticisms of the Tornadoes based on their age. The last Harriers were made in 2003. But there are key differences between the US Harriers currently in theatre and the UK Harriers, now disbanded. See this blog. bya-and-aircraft-carriers/. I still think to maintain a balanced force and blue water navy capability the UK needs the new carriers, and it will be able to afford them. The original plan was for 4: 2 French and 2 British. So perhaps the French pulling out ratched up the costs. Wouldn’t be the first time. The F35s programme on the otherhand seems a mess but the Aussies and Canadians are still committed.