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Rebuilding the UK’s Carrier Fleet

by John Reed on January 9, 2012

As we mentioned they would last week, American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, signed an agreement last Thursday outlining how the U.S. Navy will help the Royal Navy rebuild its defunct carrier strike capability over the next decade.

From sister site DoDBuzz

Secretaries Panetta and Hammond signed a Statement of Intent on Carrier Cooperation and Maritime Power Projection that will serve as the framework for increased cooperation and interoperability on the use of aircraft carriers, as well as provide the basis for the U.S. to assist the UK Royal Navy in developing its next generation of aircraft carriers.  This cooperation is a cutting-edge example of close allies working together in a time of fiscal austerity to deliver a capability needed to maintain our global military edge.

The Royal Navy decommissioned its Harrier jump jets last year, leaving it without seaborne-fighter for the first time since before World War II. Now, Hammond himself expressed  concern about what effect the Pentagon’s slowdown of its F-35 buys will have on the UK’s F-35C purchases before he signed the agreement. However, InsideDefense is reporting that the F-35 program office  is gearing up to sell jets plenty to foreign JSF buyers despite the Pentagon’s slowed buys:

The F-35 joint program office is girding for a surge of international orders that would boost manufacturing rates for the seventh and eighth Joint Strike Fighter production runs by more than 40 percent above currently planned buys for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, according to Defense Department officials.

Ok, so maybe the Brits will get their jets in time to have at least limited carrier ops by 2020.

But wait, the UK is not only buying new F-35C Joint Strike Fighters to fly off its carriers, it’s fielding a brand new class of super carrier that uses electromagnetic catapults and arrestor wires. The Royal Navy hasn’t fielded one of these so called CATOBAR carrier since the 1970s, so it will be relearning how to operate this type of ship from the U.S. Ironic considering it was the British who invented the keystones of modern aircraft carrier design; an angled flight deck, the optical landing system and even the steam powered catapult that will be replaced by electromagnetic ones on the U.S. and British navies next aircraft carriers.

 

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

blight January 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Hooray, more flat-tops for great justice.

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Matt January 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

A little sad when America has to help out it’s “closest ally” like a rising 3rd world nation. Honestly, NATO doesn’t/shouldn’t stand for “get America to pay for our defense”. Look at Libya, it proved the EU can’t even over throw a 3rd world dictatorship. Seems like a waste of US tax dollars, England can afford it’s own defense. (Whether it wants to fund it or not)

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blight January 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

The problem is such thinking means that these nations might even totally throw out their defense forces. The modern trend with the demise of the Soviets is to go borderline pacifist, and our European allies will someday only be able to provide motorized, light infantry, mountain troops and special forces; forfeiting a long-range airforce and a multi-ocean navy in the process.

Europe used to be a military powerhouse from the wealth of its colonies. Without them, what was Europe?

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Tad January 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

That would be great if they throw out their defense forces. Then they can focus on their dire economic situation. And make it less likely they'll war with themselves to boot. Let's face it, Europe has no existential threats other than Europe.

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Tim UK January 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Your not paying the bill we are , the UK is just seeking help in getting up to speed on big carrier logistics and operations and I bet US jets will probably flying off these flat beds as well . Its called being allies , and before you reply I have a bunch of friends who have fought along side your guys in Helmand all for the debacle that is US foreign policy . Show some respect for the UK .

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Matt January 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Hey man, I’m not dissing the UK or your brave troops. I’m just suggesting perhaps the British government would serve its people better by investing in its defense than the usual social programs Europe has become known for.

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blight January 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

That's probably why the QE's were on life support. Funding was short, and the choice was cutting money meant for active operations, which is intolerable.

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Brian Black January 10, 2012 at 6:04 am

It has been years of mismanagement of the defence budget that has hit the British Forces, rather than public services.

There have been billions spent on FRES and on MPA without delivering anything; billions overspent on things like helicopters and radios; even the carrier programme had over a billion pounds added due to delays imposed by the last government.

The goverbnment and MoD were busy burning money like there was no tomorrow, right until the financial crisis and the realization that there was no more money left.

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Nadnerbus January 10, 2012 at 12:38 am

Amen. You Brits are the US's best allies. Trash talking about lack of commitment is somewhat more fair to some of our other NATO allies, but England has more than pulled its weight, and had our backs for better or for worse (mostly worse, lately).

Whatever criticism that can be leveled at England for cutting defense in favor of social spending can pretty much be made against the US as well. At least the UK wants, and still has plans, to maintain power projection and foreword operating capability. Now if we could just get some of our other allies to follow suit…

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English January 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Youre shouting to the cheap seats – this co-op is simply about learning to use this type of ship and launch system again. In simple terms the USA is likley to be letting some UK naval aviators train and deploy in advance of us getting the ships. Probably some exchange of officers too. Hardly the USA paying for our defence.

Check your facts on Libya, UK and France were dealing with this, US involvement lent a little political credibility to the process and some useful military assets, but thats the idea behind a partnership. It wasnt the USA doing what the UK/FR couldnt do….

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QuiAudetAdipiscitur January 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

So will the US lend the Brits a carrier task force when the Argentines go for the Falklands/Maldives before 2020? Or will the Brits task the Charles de Gaulle, which can't even operate far from home without failures, with retaking British territory? These two carriers can't be built fast enough.

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Pedro January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

We have submarines… Argentines don't leave port when there's a shark in the water.
They get cold, wet and dead if they do.

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Nicky January 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

The Brits have Sub Skippers that would give any surface skipper nightmares,they are graduates of the world renowned Perisher Course and strike so much fear that the Argentines would never ever dare venture out unless they have a death wish.

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rokuth January 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

I think you're referring to the Islas Malvinas not the Maldive Islands…

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Buzz January 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

In addition, I’m sure the US will be hosting a boatload of Royal Navy pilots and sailors on our carriers during the interim years to help maintain the experience base of Britian’s carrier career fields……….

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Nadnerbus January 10, 2012 at 12:40 am

If the UK is footing the bill for the pilots, while they fly sorties for US naval air operations, I am fine with that.

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@E_L_P January 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Great news. But only if the tail hook problem with the F-35C can be solved. So far, that doesn't look so good.

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William C. January 10, 2012 at 5:14 am

Are you still trying to convince people that the problem with the tailhook can't be solved? Considering some of the systems developed for the JSF and problems overcome, I doubt this is impossible. The only news I've heard is that supposedly Lockheed brought in help from Grumman (well Northrop-Grumman I'd imagine) to help them out.

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Guest A January 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

NG is already neck deep in this program as it is btw, so I don't think that's really "news" per se…

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William C. January 11, 2012 at 3:02 am

True, but I presume it was more in reference to the older Grumman guys, people who could probably get anything to land on a carrier.

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JRL January 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

The real issue is not whether or not the defective tailhook problem can be 'solved', but how much it will cost – both in dollars and in degradation of performance/capability.

If it can be fixed by a change in the design of the terminal hook and the damping system, no problem. However, if the base structure of the aircraft has to be significantly modified,- with all the costs that inevitably entails from such a major change- and/or the modifications seriously reduce stealthiness and add weight to an already pricey and over-weight aircraft, then the fact that the 'solution' is technically possible is essentially moot.

The USN has already canned one whiz-bang aircraft , ie; the Avenger II, on account of its unjustifiable financial impact, and they can do it again.

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W D Southworth January 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Why do we need F-35A? Can't The USAF use the same F-35 as the USN. If it will launch & land on a CV, it can darn sure take off & land on Terra Firma!

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TLAM Strike January 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

The USAF is still living down the humiliation of having to drive the Phantom. Their sensitive egos can't handle yet another superior navy fighter in their ranks.

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Rabbit January 10, 2012 at 12:00 am

Ah, interservice rivalry. It makes me laugh sometimes. But really, my guess is that they don't really need the reinforced landing gear, arrestor hook or any of the specialised CATOBAR enhancements on the C, which add weight to the craft. I guess they wanted a lighter and (somewhat) cheaper version.

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William C. January 10, 2012 at 5:15 am

Plus the F-35A has an internal gun. The Navy wanted an external pod like the STOVL variant has for some reason.

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rokuth January 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

don't forget the A-7, & the A-1…

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PolicyWonk January 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

The USAF happens to believe they are special. it might be cheaper to only build the navy version if purchased in bulk.

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mhmm... January 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Is anyone else curious about the picture?

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Ben January 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Other than its a photoshop job? No.

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fromage January 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Considering the slobberfest everyone had over the LockMart "6th Gen Fighter" posted here last week, I feel more than okay letting my little heart flutter away over this particular photoshop job. Someone's a Grumpy Gus. Stupid misplaced reply button.

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Tim January 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm

its a mock up of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers there supposed to be building

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Waylander February 12, 2012 at 7:17 am

Not "supposed to be", we ARE building the carriers, QE will be finished next summer, but not fitted out, then in the water by 2014, PoW will be finished by 2014, and floated by 2016. The problem is US delays to F-35, not the carriers.

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Tanker6 January 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm

It's not even a PhotoShop job; that requires an original photo which can be enhanced. This one is a Computer Graphic Image (CGI) created using the same technology as computer games. Donkey Kong don't cut it anymore – photorealism is the way to go. Now if they could just create some CGI money to pay for it, they'd have a real navy.

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fromage January 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Considering the slobberfest everyone had over the LockMart "6th Gen Fighter" posted here last week, I feel more than okay letting my little heart flutter away over this particular photoshop job. Someone's a Grumpy Gus.

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stephen russell January 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm

RN carriers made in UK-Scotland? & US, both or One host nation?
Brits had carriers homemade in WW2.

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joe January 10, 2012 at 3:11 am

The CVF carriers are being built in the UK. Mix of Scotland and Portsmouth, as far as I know.

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darren moran January 11, 2012 at 1:23 am

the carriers are both assembled in scotland, with blocks made throughout the rest of the uk, your selling us the f-35c, therefore naturally your gonna help us learn to use them effectively.
oh yeah i dont think we should be buying the f-35c, much better to buy the super hornet + growlers? (do i have that right) & still have money left over to buy a mpa, P-8 Poseidon, maybe.

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blight January 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

True, but the theory is that if you buy a legacy platform you're going to have to replace it sooner. If you get the hornet, growler, mpa etc early, you still need a flat-top to operate it from, so getting stuff early may not be of great benefit.

The big angle is cost, which the UK cannot afford.

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Waylander February 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

The blocks for the carriers are being bulit at 6 or 7 shipyards around the UK, including Appledore Devon & Portsmouth in England, and Govan & Rosyth in Scotland, then both carriers will be assembled at Rosyth. The first blocks of QE are already being joined, she will be finished be next summer, though not fitted out, then in the water by 2014.
No part of the carriers is being built in the US, except the F-35s.
Worth mentioning that the only nations building supercarriers are UK & US, the French have given up on second carrier, and the rest are building much smaller vessels or refitting old Soviet rust buckets, so it would be nice if some Americans would take note of this and give the UK credit where it's due, rather than carping about Britain all the time.

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BILL January 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I remember reading on I think it was the Australian Defence site that the Australian military was willing to take British sailors and pilots who are being taken out of the service due to defence cuts into their service to help man their aircraft, ships,. and submarines.Maybe the US ought to give them one of our recently retired carriers that can be back in service in 2 to 3 yrs. to help shore up the defenses of both countries.Australia already flies the F18 E-F so it's not like they would need extensive training-just send some UK and Australian pilots to train in the US and off American carriers while the ship is brought to readiness.

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TH1 January 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm

great idea

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Nadnerbus January 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

I don't think even our best allies have the dough to keep a super-carrier operating for extended periods of time. Operating a US-style carrier battle group and air wing costs big money, money that I don't think the Aussies have any intention of spending right now.

Let China keep rattling its sabers in regards to territorial claims, and they might change their mind at some point though.

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PacificSentinel January 10, 2012 at 2:58 am

I’ve always been a fan of carrier aviation & was very disappointed when we retired the “HMAS Melbourne”.

I’d love to see us back in the game, but the problem is lack of man power, if there was a small, conventionally powered CATOBAR carrier (something like the old French Clemenceau class) with all the crew minimization systems available today installed, we just might get 1 (or even 2), but the BIG carriers are just out of our league & the new French CdG class is nuclear powered which wouldn’t be acceptable to the tree-huggers down south, our best bet for “carrier aviation” is F-35B’s on the new LHD’s sometime in the future.

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JRL January 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

"help shore up the defenses" against who? Do you really think that the inscrutable Chicoms are so hard up for mutton that they need to invade Oz? Or that the frenchified Normans across the Channel are planning a sequel to 1066?

Shrill Chicken Littlesque squawkings to the contrary, neither nation is at any military risk whatsoever. Now, or in the forseeable future.

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crackedlenses January 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm

What's to stop the Chicoms from waging proxy wars, like the US and the Soviets did during the Cold War?…..

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bill January 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

You have Iran threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz [which I dont thik they would ever try ] and then China is trying to claim just about the entire South China Sea as their territorial waters–I'm sure you know that the UK is building at least one carrier and if possible two–why do you think they are building them-just to burn through money,the world is turning into a more dangerous place everyday.

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JRL January 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

@cracked – Why waste money and risk international condemnation and sanctions by relying on fickle and uncontrollable proxies when cyberwarfare is so much more economical, profitable, and safe. Or are you lamely trying to resurrect yet another tired Cold War shibboleth, the Domino Effect?

@bill: Faux Noise and the self-serving MIC apostles might like you to believe that the "world is turning into a more dangerous place everyday", but if you start taking your anti-paranoia meds again, and maybe peruse some history books, you'll find the opposite to be true. The world, esp for Westerners, is at least as safe as it's ever been, and probably more so. And the threats that do remain, such as Islamist terrorism, can be better dealt with by means other than multi-billion dollar carriers and hi-tech stealth jets.

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bill January 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I guess you're right–that why most of the Middle East countries are arming up for the future problems w/ Iran-also some European countries are starting to think twice about burying their heads in the sand as Russia starts building new missiles and weapons systems.Then there is China which is building up a much stronger navy so that they can establish a dominant blue water navy.Add –I don't watch Fox news or take meds but maybe you should consider it.

rokuth January 23, 2012 at 7:56 am

Ya, but oddly enough when something goes wrong in those parts of the World there is always some hue & cry about what the USA and Europe are not doing to help – whether militarily of politically…

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Lance January 10, 2012 at 2:25 am

Way things are going in Europe Britain wont have a life raft left little lone a carrier. Im still disappointed they dumped the Sea Harrier and scrapped they sky-jump carriers year before the US F-35 even took off. They way things are going I doubt Britain will get anything. If you wanted the F-35s faster then they can pay for it.

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William C. January 10, 2012 at 4:31 am

While American, I for one would welcome a proper Royal Navy again.

Yet I rather doubt any of us will see one.

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Alican December 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm
blackavenger January 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

America has excess carriers and aircraft gathering rust, give em to the Brits if they still have the abillity to operate them.

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blight January 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

Probably not, and I doubt the UK wants the trouble of manning old supercarriers, especially if the refuelling cost is just over the horizon. Why buy a carrier and then get it benched for five years for a brutually expensive refuelling? And it's not like we will give them a freshly refuelled CVN…

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BILL January 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

The Kitty Hawk is conventionally powered and could probably be brought back into service in 2-3 yrs.T he Ranger is for all purposes dead ,and I agree that a nuclear carrier is cost prohibitive at 4bil. to refuel and refurbish.With the possibility of Austrailian military binging in ex Royal Navy sailors and pilots I still think it could work.Between the UK and Austrailia they could combine surface ships for a formidable Carrier Battle Group,I think one problem might be that the UK would have to supply the subs.

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blight January 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

OTOH, all of our CVNs are in use. The old CVs are probably no longer in battle-worthy shape or are already scrapped.

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Riceball January 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

Or serving as museums and probably incapable of steaming under their power, let alone conduct flight ops.

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PolicyWonk January 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

The Brits are in the process of selling one of their baby carriers, that just underwent a complete overhaul. However, since they just retired their Harriers, they haven't got anything to fly off of them (though, presumably, helicopters could still be used, with a reduced scope of capabilities for the ship, etc.

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andrew January 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

That's what we did in Libya, flew Apaches from HMS Ocean

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Lightbringer January 10, 2012 at 11:47 am

A friend of mine travelled in HMS Ocean the other week from Gibralter back to the UK(his brother's a Royal Marine.) It's a genuinely excellent ship, a mini-carrier that was built to off the shelf commercial standards (rather than hyperexpensive defence procurement standards) for around £150 million. The Royal Navy could have built 100 HMS Oceans for the cost of these supercarrier white elephants. OK, we'd have nothing to fly off them, but we've nothing to fly off the supercarriers either! Personally, I think there's a strong argument for more numerous and smaller carriers operating drones rather than a single gigantic supercarrier…

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Mastro January 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

"a mini-carrier that was built to off the shelf commercial standards (rather than hyperexpensive defence procurement standards) for around £150 million."

Those "hyperexpensive " standards are the difference between your ship burning to the hull after one bomb hit- like numerous Japanese CV's- or taking a beating and fighting another day- like the Yorktown, Enterprise, etc.

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elizzar January 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm

the british carriers and warships in ww2, when they finally made it to the pacific theatre and fought the japanese, tended to resist damage (esp kamikazes) better than the usa ships as they were armoured all over, rather than in just protected areas. the experience of the falklands was that even a powerful modern warship could, if not sunk, be taken out of action for a conflict with a single missile or bomb hit. the argument for the large super-carriers isn't they can take more hits per se, but that they are far more efficient in operating their large air-wings. i think lightbringer's point is that having lots of small drone carriers gives you more overall resistance to this kind of knock-out blow. plus for the uk with 1 or at most 2 carriers, we can be in 1 or 2 places at once, unlike the us with its 10/11 carrier groups. having 4 smaller carriers in this sense gives more flexibility etc (assuming you have the escorts and aircraft of course!)

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rokuth January 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

Both Japanese carriers & US carriers were built with wooden flight decks in WW2. There were several US carriers that had to be pulled out of the frontline when they were hit by Kamekazi attacks. The Brits were the only ones in the Pacific that had carriers with armored decks. To paraphrase one US Naval Officer: " When they get hit by a Kamekazi all the have to do is man their brooms and they're back in service in a matter of hours…" American carriers were only built with armored flight decks after WW2.

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Tim UK January 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I agree we should have upped the number of astute class subs and Daring Class and bought a few more oceans and let drones and Apache's work off them. I'm sure the US in any conflict would rather us turn up with those forces than another carrier and when are we realistically going to be using a carrier on our won ?

The Astutes rammed with cruise and Oceans with Apache give us way more bang for buck.

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Fluoro Ninja January 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

You can buy 10 pistols for the cost of one assault rifle too, but you wouldn't go arming your infantry with pistols because it gives you more 'bang for the buck''.

Just as pistols are pistols and rifles are rifles, helicopters are helicopters and fighters are fighters.

Just because an attack helicopter can, in some limited way, perform the task of aerial strike, it doesn't mean it's a good idea to rely on this as an ongoing tactic.

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Bob January 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

That is how it works guys with our "allies" (Don't get to hung up on that word: US Allies actually means vassals doing what they are told to)

We first destroy their military industry by making them purchase the F-35.
Then we give them nothing of the tech and source code they contributed to finance.
And finally when we are totally over budget, over schedule and they have given up all their own capabilities THEN we sell them a way to build their industry again.

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Belesari January 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Bob,__Its generaly far cheaper to let the US Invest the money and political capital to do things militarily than the rest of the world.
The Europeans have gone pacifist (never mind pacifist are usually the first slaughtered or inslaved there is ALWAYS someone drumming for it) and even before that during the cold war they let the US spend all the money on the interceptors and such and especially transport aircraft because they were mainly determined to defend the ground around places like the fulda gap.
That is why the europeans could build their enormous welfare states for so long. Over time its become more and more expensive and that surplus from emasculated defense budgets isnt there anymore.__OH and by the way our "allies" routinly commit industrial espionage against US and other countries companies. For instance right after the US companies spend something like 13 billion in R&D to design a better drug the same drug is then purchased, reverse engineered then mass produced in places like canada, china ,france, and elsewhere. Then the US company only has a set number of months it can keep a patent of that drug then it goes out to whatever.

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Belesari January 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

__BTW with a projected total program cost of 388 BILLION DOLLARS JUST TO 2010 i'd say 50mil fucking dollars is a fart in the wind.__We havnt destroyed our allies industries they did.

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pandaa January 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

wat?

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Skipper January 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Interesting point, your correct, the once mighty British navy is no more, all of Europe is behind, the euro fighter for example is 30 years old now, as already said the couldn't even fight Libya with out the us leading the charge then selling them ordinance when they ran out, after only about 6 weeks of on and off bombing, they really need to start pulling some of their own weight, especially now that we are going to be focusing on Asia now.

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Anlushac11 January 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Once upon a time plans existed for a supersonic "Super Harrier". Maybe its time to dust those plans off.

I also agree with the idea of "loaning" to the UK a ex-USN fleet carrier.

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rokuth January 23, 2012 at 8:36 am

Hmm… isn't the F-35B a supersonic "Super Harrier?" No. That's right. It's an Americanized design of the Russian YAK-141…

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peter leonard January 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm

i guess Argentina will try to tack back their irland .what will we have to fight them with .we could sell them the gear to do the job…….

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elizzar January 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

i suggest checking out some of the articles on thinkdefence.co.uk for a good discussion of why this is unlikely. basically, argentina is in even worse straits than the uk, military and economy wise. talk of taking the falkland islands is merely political rhetoric to try and distract the voters from domestic woes. the seeming south american show of support is mainly to keep argentina quiet rather than form a multi-national force or anything – it just isn't worth the hassles.
personally i'd much rather we (the uk + falklands government) worked with the argentinians and south americans, for instance landing fishing hauls in nearby ports for sale and possibly paying a small additional tax etc, or if oil etc. is found, once again having that transported / processed to south america continent so that all sides gain some economic benefit and political stability in the longer run. wishful thinking?

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Jimmy January 11, 2012 at 11:07 am

Britian is the second biggest military in Europe, extrodinarily sad.

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nraddin January 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

They want to put a full sized carrier to sea? Awesome we should sell them one of our mid life carriers. How about two of them and we can replace the lost two with a new carrier. It would be really nice if we could count on Britain to have carrier power available and as much as it cost to build a ship, operating it is far more expensive. If we get promises to run those ships, it's a win/win.

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Chris January 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

The UK and the US are the strongest of allies. At the very least, The US should lend / lease to the UK two WASP class amphibious assault ships – they are mini-carriers each capable of carrying 20 AV-8B Harriers.

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bill January 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm

We would have to give back some of those 70 Harriers we just got from you but that would be fine if it would help you guys stay in the game until your new carrier is finished.

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blight January 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm

The UK pulled Harriers because they couldn't afford to operate them. The UK needs to focus on its economic viability while they still have a peace dividend and the United States to watch their back.

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Robert Fritts February 4, 2012 at 10:55 am

With our current economy and proposed civilian and military cutbacks there is no problem. Nimitz(UK), Vinson(Austrailia) and Roosovelt(France) should be availible within 90 days of a Obama re-election for free. We can thrown in their Airwings, weapons, spare parts, a training package and a Nuke recharge for free. Bring them up to speed with a buddy crew of 50/50 Yanks/Blokes/Diggers/Froggies. They can have the newly discharged USN folks for slightly more than EU minimum wage(22% higher than USA), since they will have no jobs to go home to. Problem solved, money saved all around. When the Gerald Ford comes on line the next oldest Nimitz class(Truman?) Goes to India.

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USN-Fan June 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm

With the US currently holding the 4 carriers of the Kitty Hawk class in reserve or donation-hold, that is a ready supply of carriers that can be supplied to allies that are in need of them right now. All four would need three year refits and overhauls/machinery updates to replace their old engine rooms and running gear with more modern and fuel efficient setups, but, given their size, relatively advanced design, and general suitability to the task, would be excellent for any navy's purposes. Two could go to Britain, one to France, and one to India. India could remove the forward catapults and add on a ski-jump, as could Britain. If France doesn't want one of the Kitty Hawks, the Enterprise is nuclear (Which fits with their docterine) and could use a refit to their more modern reactor designs. All can refit to the evolved sea-sparrow and maintain the RAM or Phalanx systems that the carriers have.

This lets Britain slow down on their own custom carriers to do them right, solves France's problem right now, and gives India a platform for their new fighters (though, I may never get used to seeing migs flying off a Kitty-Hawk, or Rafale's off the Big E.

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Restore Palestine June 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

pipe dream

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Filipe August 31, 2013 at 9:18 pm

To those arguing that the US should lend the british a few old carriers, just remember that they still have at least one of their old light carriers. One was converted to a helicopter carrier, but It can be easily reverted to a fixed wing aircraft carrier, if necessity arises. They have carriers if they want to, the problem are the budget cuts. The Royal Navy has not enough funds to manage a fixed wing aircraft carrier until 2020.

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Mastro January 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Actually I think the Japanese and Australians are bothered by the delays-

The thing ain't ready

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FED UP 1 January 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Re-don't sneer at the Brits–at least you guys had enough sense to cut your spending instead of bankrupting your country—can we borrow some of your politicians for a while to teach our politicians some fiscal responsibility?

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blight January 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Steam catapult-HMS Perseus, 1950

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JRL January 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm

*yawn* That the Iranians are a real threat to Middle East peace does not translate into Iran = "world is turning into a more dangerous place everyday" for Westerners like us. And as you mention, their Middle Eastern neighbors are busy building up powerful, hi-tech forces that are more than capable of bloodying the Iranian's noses, so why do the faraway Brits need multi-billion pound carriers for that local squabble?

As for the Russians – they're both trying to rehabilitate their near-moribund military after nearly two decades of neglect, and responding to European/US efforts to neutralize their ballistic missile forces. The Russians are rather paranoid, and understandably so, given the history of their relations with the West, esp Germany… In any case, I'm sure you're not THAT ignorant of recent history as to believe that they are more of a threat today than the 'Evil Empire' was during the Cold War… (cont)

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JRL January 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm

(cont)

As for the ChiComs – they are indeed building up their navy, but a couple third-rate used light carriers and a bunch of noisy subs, do not a "dominant blue water navy" make. They're decades away (at best) from standing up advanced naval forces with the technical capability. training, and blue-water operating experience it would take to pose a real threat to the power of the USN. Even if they really wanted to.

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crackedlenses January 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm

If you read your history books you'll notice that war never ends and never changes. Many of the same crooks that conducted the Cold War are still around, and trying to get their power back. Larger nations such as the US and UK are downsizing their militaries and beginning to pull out of the world. Without a powerful good guy to keep the local dictators in check, who is to say what will happen or not happen? Assuming that all will go on as it has is asking for disaster….

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bill January 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

As for Russia–the ex KGB Lt Col.Putin hates the US and though they are trying to rebuild their military he is doing everything in his power to start another cold war [imho].Putin moved their newest and best radars to their western borders because of the proposed missile defense shield, he will not compromise at all on the European missile defense shield ie. thay want all info including technical specs on the missile system–the US and EUROPE said Russia could help them man the systems but that wasn't acceptable–Putin said the recent missile treaty would be null and void if the defense shield was put in place.They just got through test firing their new naval ICBM w/10 MIRVs and they just delivered several 1900mph anti-ship missiles to Syria.I just don't think Putin can be trusted.

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bill January 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Add–The PLAAF-Navy supposedly is in the process of building a new 65000 ton carrier that is projected to be finished by 2016 or so,also the Chinese are known for their patience and sooner rather than later they will have subs as quiet and deadly as those in the Western Navies.They have already bullied most of their neighbors in their quest for oil and other minerals and when they get their military-naval- act together it's going to get much worse.

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Fluoro Ninja January 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

We Australians are very bothered by the delays. We retired our excellent F-111 strike aircraft based on the promise that the F-35 would be tested, ready and flying by now. Where is it?

There are US allies who are at great risk of being left seriously in the lurch by the constant delays and downgrading of performance of this particular aircraft.

Particularly when 80% of Asia seems to be scrimping and saving to buy every advanced Russian airframe they can get their hands on.

We would very much like it it LM would stop screwing the best allies of the USA.

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rokuth January 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

It will be a while, but India will be hoping to rival China in the Naval arena. Provided the Indian Government and Defense Ministry can get their act together whe nit comes to ordering & building their military hardware… They're a good 15 years behind China in rivaling their Forces.

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Restore Palestine June 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

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