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MPs warn Royal Navy's carriers will be costly, late, and of limited use

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oldironside Donating Member (835 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 07:05 AM
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MPs warn Royal Navy's carriers will be costly, late, and of limited use
The aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy will be less useful, take longer to finish, and likely cost more than claimed, a parliamentary watchdog warns.

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will be mothballed immediately it is launched in 2016, according to the existing plan. However, the second, HMS Prince of Wales, is not now expected to be fully operational until 2031. Moreover, it will only be able to stay at sea for up to 200 days a year, significantly fewer than envisaged, says the Commons public accounts committee.

The MPs' report, out on Tuesday, makes clear the quick decision to adapt the carriers to fly US-made Joint Strike Fighters, taking off by catapult and landing by arrester wires, will increase the planes' cost as well as that of the carriers, but by how much will not be known until December 2012.

The cost of the US JSFs or F35s as they are now called is spiralling, and the Ministry of Defence has already cut substantially the number it plans to buy; development is also threatened by pressures on the American defence budget.

As I've said before, an absolute waste of money with no possible benefit in terms of national security. We cannot afford them and they won't be able to do anything that smaller carriers could do, unless we are planning to fight a new Battle of the Midway. The decision to put the F-35 on the deck is also insane (or, totally driven by politics). This is the ulitmate military white elephant. It's nowhere near as invisible as they promised, it is a hangar queen that makes the Eurofighter look reliable, and it only has a single engine, which means that if that fails you lose the aircraft. And I could go on and on about it's problems.

It's a shame that no-one ever thought of building a fleet of combat aircraft that could take off and land from an area the size of a tennis court. Oh, actually we had one but the Tories scrapped it. And maybe we should accept that, since we are now a second rate naval power (with more admirals than ships) we should be happy with 20,000 ton carriers like Invincible.
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