A reader writes. From The Daily Telegraph
1) The UK’s ‘big deck’ aircraft carrier project’s costs have risen by nearly 100% since formal commencement in January-2003: £2.9bn – £4.9bn (or £2.6bn- £5.2bn according to other references):
>> 14_07-2003- “Carrier costs ‘could escalate (above £2.9bn)” :
>> 03_07-2008″ £3.2bn giant carrier deals signed” :
>> 29_06-2009″Aircraft carriers’ costs soar £1bn”, (to £4.9bn)
£4.9bn equals roughly $7.6bn: half what the US spends for just 1 carrier (without aircraft):
– http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10388sp.pdf (page 53);
– http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS20643_20100610.pdf (pg 2)-
2) And the UK is getting crappy vessels- IE: no armour, no armoured bulkheads; no catapults- dangerously limiting the types of aircraft that can be deployed; no missile-based anti-airborne threat defenses; no proper radars; no ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC)*** sensors and communications equipment making the new carriers useless- floating targets- if deployed as part of a multi-national squadron/fleet made up of current-technology vessels…
*** Amplifying an already horrendous situation, the UK’s planned new aircraft carriers are currently planned to not be equipped with ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC) sensors and communications kit…
“… The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will decide in 2010 whether to acquire the US Navy’s ‘Cooperative Engagement Capability’ (CEC) for integration into selected Royal Navy (RN) surface ships after concluding a third tranche of Assessment Phase (AP3) studies.
“This comes five years after initial plans to integrate the UK CEC system into Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers were brought to a sudden halt as a result of budget pressure….”
Because they are being built without aircraft launch-catapults , the RN’s (planned) new, ‘big deck’ aircraft carriers will be restricted to embarking and deploying Harrier type (short/vertical take off & land) fixed-wing aircraft & helicopters- that can not duplicate even remotely the functions of modern, fixed-wing Airborne Warning And Control (AWACS) aircraft…
“… In 1982 the Falklands conflict provided a stark reminder of the vulnerability of surface forces operating in a hostile air environment without (AWACS) AEW support…
“The absence of such a capability in the face of sustained air attack gave the UK Royal Navy (RN) insufficient warning to counter threats at long range, & directly contributed to the loss of several ships….”
E-2D Hawkeye: The (U.S.) Navy’s New AWACS-
Without CEC, and without the ability to deploy CEC-equipped AWACS the planned big deck aircraft carriers are in effect restricted to a less-than-8-mile radius ship self-defence/fleet-defence protection capability-envelope:
…. and are unable to react to the most likely to be encountered- and most capable- types of airborne anti-ship threats, IE supersonic sea skimming anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs****)- until ASCM’s are less than 40 seconds from potential impact and about 18 miles out…
… which might not make much of a difference to the planned vessels’ outrageous and unessessary extreme vulnerabilities to airborne (and other) threats- considering that, as a cost-cutting measure- apparently dictated by the previous Labour govt- the planned carriers are to NOT be equipped with industry-standard ship self-defence systems (SSDS), such as missile-based anti airborne threat warfare (AAW) weapons and NOT equipped with the advanced technology radar systems required to operate SSDS systems…
Defense Industry Daily, The US’s Dual Band Radar programmes:
APAR PDF ‘fact sheet':
http://www.thalesgroup.com/Workarea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10204&LangType=2057 (opens in new window…)
“… This class of radar will track the incoming missiles, provide midcourse guidance for outbound SAMs, and terminal illumination to SAM impact…”
**** such as the Russian SS-N-27 ‘sizzler’ and clones:
“Soviet/Russian Cruise Missiles”:
Continuing with the big deck aircraft carrier project without a substantial redesign is foolish and would be highly dangerous for the UK’s future foreign policy interests and UK armed service’s service personnel
What would be worse for the UK- continuing with the dangerously badly planned and deficiently designed aircraft carriers- or cancelling the project- and temporarily- putting people involved with project out of work, until work availabilities in other parts of the defence sector present themselves??
Roderick V. Louis
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Why was Nelson Mandela having dinner with Charles Taylor and Naomi Campbell?
Where are the missing pebbles?