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Author Topic: Ark Royal scrapping  (Read 17921 times)

Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #75 on: May 26, 2013, 07:16:44 pm »

Trident is not as expensive as people believe when costed over its operational period. While at the moment it is difficult to conceive of a situation where the threat of nuclear retaliation might be necessary, that doesn't mean that 20 years down the line such a situation could not arise. You only need a slight knowledge of history to see how the international situation can deteriorate in a relatively short time. WW1 was supposed to be the 'war to end wars' but it turned out to simply be the prelude to something much worse. There are all sorts of situations that could potentially arise which might drastically tip the political balance from the natural to the man made. If the UK were to unilaterally get rid of its nuclear weapons, nations such as Iran and North Korea wouldn't say 'what an excellent idea, we shall follow suit'. They would regard us as weak and accelerate their own nuclear weapons programmes correspondingly. They could then do what they liked without fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, a nuclear deterrent is the ultimate insurance policy and while there is a likelihood of politically unstable states such as Pakistan, North Korea and Iran posing a threat to world peace then it would be stupid to dispense with it. At the moment Russia and China are relatively stable but in both countries there are forces which could result in control of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of people with less civilised agendas in the foreseeable future. Also, bear in mind the recent reports of Russia flexing its military muscle by incursions into UK and Norwegian airspace - not a very friendly gesture.

I understand that the Trident subs can be armed with a range of options which can be deployed depending on the circumstances. The missiles aren't all city busters.

As far as conventional forces are concerned then you do need your own assets which cannot be compromised by reliance on other 'friendly' countries. The USA does not have a good record of coming to the immediate support of its allies in time of war, it puts its own interests first, 'Special Relationship' or not. It only gave lukewarm political support during the Falklands War and would have been quite happy if we had ceded the islands to Argentina. It probably still feels that way. It wasn't very enthusiastic about getting involved in Libya either.

A common criticism of almost all warship designs is that they are initially built too small so that operational life is compromised by an inability to upgrade ships with new equipment and weaponry. The Darings and the new carriers are intended to avoid this and to get the maximum possible lifespan out of the ships as do the Americans with their big carriers. Once built, the QE class can be adapted during their lifespan to meet the needs of the day. A big deck with a big hangar underneath is capable of all sorts of roles which is why HMS Ocean has been favoured over HMS Illustrious for future service. Ocean is not built to full warship standards but she offers far more space than does Illustrious with her very cramped hangar.

Crystal ball gazing for defence purposes has always been difficult but I think you need a combination of effective conventional assets for tactical purposes backed up by a strategic deterrent as well.

Colin
 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 07:20:09 pm by Colin Bishop »
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Shipmate60

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #76 on: May 26, 2013, 07:50:16 pm »

I do fully agree with Colin.
But I have several additions:
If we lose nuclear capability there is a general consensus that we would lose our chair at the UN Security Council.
A large political cross to bear by the party that enables it.
Ian,
It was the last Govt that ensured that the carriers would be built with such heavy cancellation clauses.
Seems a pretty good idea now when the present Government would have scrapped them too so leaving us without any means of air cover to our naval forces.
As to MoD Contracts, those that expect "Within Price" contracts are not living in the real world.
I can offer for tender a radar set.
This set will be more powerful and clearer than anything presently known.
The technology does not exist for this equipment yet.
Now give me a firm price on this radar set.
This is about the contract for the Type 45 Air Defence Radar.
One of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, ,with atmospheric "bend" to allow far greater range than a straight beam.
It just wasn't available at the time but it is now.


Bob
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pugwash

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #77 on: May 26, 2013, 10:14:06 pm »

I have to agree with you Bob- changes in technology are one of the main reasons contract costs spiral
ever upwards - another reason is the government/Mod changing the specifications. Perfect example on
the carriers, we will have catapults, no we will have a VTOL, and nothing ever seems to cost less than
100m these days.  Don't forget if you want to change or enhance a radar system it isn't just the array
on the mast but the wiring and each radar usually has it's own office where the guts of the system are
fitted. An insignificant looking change to the casual observer can have serious/expensive consequences
within the ship and the MOD budget.
Geoff
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Bob K

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #78 on: May 26, 2013, 10:55:45 pm »

Having spent most of my working life in Design Offices for MoD Contractors I can fully appreciate how complex each system is and how long it takes to design and bring it up to spec.  Thousands of drawings, many stages of prototypes, then every so often the MoD Authority moved to goalposts as technology and expectations develop.  Early thermal imaging, radar and submarine weapon control systems.

It was all Cost Plus in those days, so any change in contract spec meant a renegotiation of terms.  Later they tried COTS (commercial off the shelf) but the required level of MoD documentation demanded realised few cost savings. 

Thank goodness for the advent of CAD.  At least significant changes could be made on virtual assemblies, which could also be stress and thermal tested on screen.  Often the first actual units made were of the production model.  After CAD the design process should have been speeded up considerably, but the MoD still kept moving the goalposts when we were two thirds of the way through.  Interesting and demanding work.  I enjoyed it
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 10:57:41 pm by Bob K »
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Circlip

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #79 on: May 27, 2013, 10:30:09 am »

Basic problem that escalates costs is the British inability to get the show on the road in the allocated timescale due to "Mods" to an as designed item. Too many design requirements are formulated by desk drivers without consultation of those that operate the systems and don't forget, at quotation stage, profits are built into the costing's. These are not cancelled in the event of a "Design mod" but added to.
 
   Defence hardware/software needs? We don't have an empire to protect/enforce anymore so you cut your cloth etc. At the end of the day, where does the money come from?
 
  Regards Ian
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #80 on: May 27, 2013, 11:01:51 am »

Quote
Defence hardware/software needs? We don't have an empire to protect/enforce anymore so you cut your cloth etc. At the end of the day, where does the money come from?
Well, I believe that 60% of our food and most imported goods still arrive by sea.... As you will have been reminded this week, it was the Battle of the Atlantic that was the most crucial conflict in WW2 (and pretty much the same in WW1 as well). Trade protection is still necessary, empire or not.
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Brian_C

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #81 on: May 27, 2013, 11:25:54 am »


 
   Defence hardware/software needs? We don't have an empire to protect/enforce anymore so you cut your cloth etc. At the end of the day, where does the money come from?
 
  Regards Ian


[/quotWell, I believe that 60% of our food and most imported goods still arrive by sea.... As you will have been reminded this week, it was the Battle of the Atlantic that was the most crucial conflict in WW2 (and pretty much the same in WW1 as well). Trade protection is still necessary, empire or not.e]


well said colin,,,,,, i think the words are     LEAST WE FORGET
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Circlip

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #82 on: May 27, 2013, 11:41:58 am »

Not advocating "We forget", but we have this ranting and wailing every time a boat is scrapped. Basic economics are a reality. Not only has the USSR and America had to realise that Defence has to be paid for and is not funded by a forest of money trees, should we follow the examples of Greece and Spain? Even stockpiling "Just in case" costs.
 
   Let us not also forget, Britain is only a "World power" cos we have a big bomb.
 
  Regards  Ian. 
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #83 on: May 27, 2013, 12:17:18 pm »

Quote
Let us not also forget, Britain is only a "World power" cos we have a big bomb.
Or it might be something to do with us being the World's 6th largest economy....
Not sure what you mean by 'ranting & wailing every time a boat is scrapped'. Which other vessels did you have in mind? Ark Royal was an unusual case in that a lot of money had just been spent on her and the ship was still clearly needed as Libya proved with expensive RAF redeployments of relatively unsuitable aircraft to Italy.
Unfortunately a lot of Government thinking relating to 'savings' is half baked and poorly thought through as evidenced by the insistence on reducing tax and customs staff to 'save money' and then wondering why non payers were not being chased up. If you have a tax inspector bringing in more than he costs then the last thing you should be doing is making him redundant! Same thing with border security, get rid of a significant proportion of the staff and then wonder why the airports grind to a halt with immigration queues and lots of undesirables slip through the net. Allow GPs to opt out of out of hours cover and then wonder why patients turn up at A&E instead.
Before taking these sorts of decisions you need to look at all the consequences, not just those at the end of your nose and then, as is happening all too often, complain that 'we never meant that to happen'. It's called the 'Law of Unintended Consequences'. The problem we have is that the people making the decisions simply do not know enough to make them competently and won't listen to those with experience who sound the warnings.
Colin
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dreadnought72

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #84 on: May 27, 2013, 01:35:20 pm »

Time for a tree-hugging hippy-socialist to chime in.  :-))

As this country's economy is reliant on international (and mainly sea-borne) trade, I would argue that an effective fleet is important to counter potential threats.

I would also argue that 100 billion spent on a nuclear system which is immoral, indiscriminate, potentially illegal, unusable (in any practical foreseeable event) and which raises the spectre of continuing nuclear proliferation among other non-nuclear states, is not the best way to spend that cash.

The 1500 from every tax payer, over the life of Trident, would be much better spent elsewhere: hospitals, education, employment and research in high-tech industries that would serve us well for the next few decades of the 21st century.

Andy

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Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #85 on: May 27, 2013, 02:31:16 pm »

So all the peace loving democratic nuclear armed states should scrap their deterrents and leave states like Iran (Sworn to wipe Israel off the map), North Korea (swearing to wipe anybody within range off the map) and Pakistan (unstable state full of jihadists) to develop theirs?
Yes, we all would like to see the abolition of nuclear weapons but the genie is out of the bottle and you have to take the world as it is, not what you would personally like it to be, full of fluffy bunnies.
The reality is that the world is a dangerous place and the weakest will go to the wall as they always have. Complaining that the country that has just dropped a few megatons on yours to satisfy some distorted religious belief has acted illegally just isn't going to cut it!
Colin
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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #86 on: May 27, 2013, 02:39:56 pm »

I have read some of the recent posts with interest, to USA, China, Russia we are a flea bite, even the Yanks are very worried about China's recent meteoric rise in military power and the USA is the worlds biggest debtor, who if they default on their debt payments in 3 months will put into place a world depression which will make the present insignificant. The N bomb was of no use and did not prevent the last Falklands war and talk of world trade in shipping means little as we have no merchant navy which can be controlled by this country and foreign powers will decide if their ships can trade to our ports if there is a war. All the time tax payers want social services etc. there is little money to pay for the luxury of Defence requirements, plus a fleet will not stop religious fanatics from decapitating our soldiers on our streets.   
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sparkey

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #87 on: May 27, 2013, 02:45:21 pm »

 <*< If big companies and rich people paid the taxes they should there would be money enough for defence and social needs,Ray <*< <*< <*<
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #88 on: May 27, 2013, 02:57:53 pm »

Quote
plus a fleet will not stop religious fanatics from decapitating our soldiers on our streets.
I didn't suggest that it would!

Nobody would have expected the Falkland's conflict to go nuclear although a nuclear powered sub did pretty much single handedly drive the Argentinian navy back to port and made it impossible for them to reinforce the islands.

As far as keeping sea lanes open is concerned, you only need to look at the joint efforts to keep the Straits of Hormuz open during the Gulf wars and the subsequent constant patrolling to ward off the very real current threats from Iran to close them. That is where your carriers and other conventional forces come in useful.
I agree that the world financial situation is in a bad way but the state capitalist system in China doesn't want to lose the benefits of their recent growth. If countries depend on their trade with each other then they are much less likely to go to war - that was the original intention behind setting up what is now the EU. America is certainly a huge debtor but their exploitation of shale gas has led to a halving of domestic prices and less dependence on the Middle east for their energy supplies and that is likely to have some unpredictable consequences too. Of course the Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt at any time as well.....

Colin
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dreadnought72

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #89 on: May 27, 2013, 03:41:18 pm »

So all the peace loving democratic nuclear armed states should scrap their deterrents ... ?

I wrote about the situation here, Colin.

I live in a small country which continues to bask in its delusions of grandeur based on an old (and very dead) world-spanning Empire. A country that today attempts to punch above its weight and influence on the world stage.

You may have noticed it, the UK is broke. Here's a graph of the UK's National Debt.

Two world wars wrecked our economy in the last century.

Paying for the weapons (we'd hope to never use) for another world war is not the way forward. Incidentally - and you talked of future unknown threats - the recent dip in National Debt is due to oil and gas revenue. Fuels that have now gone. If we were to prioritise a list of future threats to this country (if not to technological western civilisation in general) I would suggest a good hard look at the risks associated with Peak Oil, and how we could mitigate the impact of those diminishing resources over the next ten/twenty years. That would be a much better spend for the 100 billion than some WMDs.

Andy
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mikearace

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #90 on: May 27, 2013, 04:21:18 pm »

I agree that the world financial situation is in a bad way but the state capitalist system in China doesn't want to lose the benefits of their recent growth. Colin

100 billion spent on a nuclear system which is immoral, indiscriminate, potentially illegal, unusable (in any practical foreseeable event) and which raises the spectre of continuing nuclear proliferation among other non-nuclear states, is not the best way to spend that cash.

The 1500 from every tax payer, over the life of Trident, would be much better spent elsewhere: hospitals, education, employment and research in high-tech industries that would serve us well for the next few decades of the 21st century.

Andy

Started off as a good thread about the scrapping of Ark but isn't this thread now getting far too deep into the realms of political debate which I thought was taboo on here?
 
Just a thought.........
 
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #91 on: May 27, 2013, 04:27:28 pm »

Quote
Started off as a good thread about the scrapping of Ark but isn't this thread now getting far too deep into the realms of political debate which I thought was taboo on here?
 
Just a thought.........
Good point Mike, gone a bit too far really - everyone has different views but you can see how it happened!
Colin
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dreadnought72

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #92 on: May 27, 2013, 04:47:20 pm »

Sorry Mike. Good point. I'll zip up now.

Incidentally, whilst driving delivery vans for my local Sainsbury's, I've been wowed by this when near Rosyth:



It's huge!

Andy
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #93 on: May 28, 2013, 11:05:19 am »

Not sure which is more impressive, the crane or the lack of an Aircraft Carrier under it!
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spearfish99

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #94 on: May 28, 2013, 04:27:49 pm »

It is the stealth technology that makes them so expensive to build!
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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #95 on: May 28, 2013, 04:37:56 pm »

Should be OK as an aircraft carrier.
They can hang below and be carried up and down the yard

Ned
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Bob K

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #96 on: May 28, 2013, 04:37:56 pm »

It is the stealth technology that makes them so expensive to build!

Judging by Andys photo below, whatever the 'stealth' technology cost it certainly works  {-)
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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #97 on: May 28, 2013, 04:47:49 pm »

Perhaps the  carrier is a Queen Mary
Bedford Motors made them
Long long ago
Anyone else remember them?

Ned
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F4TCT

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Re: Ark Royal scrapping
« Reply #98 on: May 29, 2013, 07:15:45 pm »

Theres been a u-turn. Did the same off portugal aswell.



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