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RN Carriers: Finally, the Denial

November 17, 2009

The news seemed unbelievable, however tantalizing, that the UK would dare suggest selling off one of its two new 65,000 ton Queen Elizabeth class carriers to India. Thanks to another one of our ace readers, we have the the official British Ministry of Defense response to a story which originally appeared in the Guardian on Sunday:

‘Speculation’ of aircraft carrier sale to India 
An article in The Guardian suggests that the MOD is considering selling one of the two future aircraft carriers to India to ease the strain on the Defence Budget. This is unfounded speculation. There has been no approach by the Indian Navy to the MOD about purchasing a future aircraft carrier.

Finally, after a 2 days of much speculation, we have the truth, or do we? Anyway, thanks again to Michael Ridgard for posting the link!

More-Apparently the Press isn’t reading these updates from the MoD, since they are still reporting the imaginary sale as practically a done deal!

19 Comments leave one →
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  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 18, 2009 9:23 am

    “the defence of Britain is now being driven by money and not the needs of the country”

    It is increasingly that way over here. The military might be partly to blame (again, over here) as they have been awash in money for so long, used to the best of the best concerning equipment, but finding these high tech weapons aren’t necessarily adequate or even needed for the threats of today.

    Yeah, I have heard that rumor about the RFA. Great service, who were on the frontlines with the regulars in the Falklands, and died there alongside some of them too.

    But as for aircraft, lets have lots of them, but not at the expense of your operating forces. The Navy is forcing itself out of the shipbuilding industry because of its obsession with manned naval air, when there are so many other choices. The maligned surface escorts are restoring some of the balance with efficient new missiles, and soon the UAV, which will give the warfighter other options than deploying giant decks, with aircraft programs that take decades to procure, and are often “too big to fail”.

  6. m.ridgard permalink
    November 18, 2009 8:18 am

    Perhaps you may like the latest from the rumour squad in the UK re the RFA, to our friends in the U.S.A. this is what I believe is the equivalent of your military sealift command.
    It has been mooted that due to the upcoming cost cutting in the British defence budget that the RFA be privatised and run on a PFI (private finance initiative) much like the RAF’s new A330 (I think) refueling aircraft.
    This entails firms like airbus actualy owning the aircraft and leasing them to the RAF on long term contracts to be manned and run by RAF personel. Bit of a simplification but I’m sure you get the drift.
    As a former member of both the RN and the RFA in my previous life I can assure you that this is a non starter,and what pride both services still retain will be lost.
    To sum up, the defence of Britain is now being driven by money and not the needs of the country.
    Be assured this will carry on whichever party wins the next election.

  7. November 18, 2009 6:32 am

    I have just realised who Mr Ridgard is talking about. I will confess that I do have Mr Page’s book. Some of the stuff he writes about procurement is quite well founded. For example his description of the UK’s purchase of the Apache. But……..

    Most of his writing on naval matters is silly. One of his themes is that the RN should be virtually civilainised and become like the RFA. There is no need for sailors to be servicemen in the same way soldiers are. That is predominantly young, healthy, etc. If the RFA goes where the RN goes surely the RN could be open to all. Sorry if this sounds disjointed I am rushing and you have to read the book.

  8. November 18, 2009 6:24 am

    Escorts are all some of us can afford!!!

    The SSN and MCM navy model reminds me of the proposed Thatcher/Nott reforms of the early (pre Falklands War) eighties.

    If planes were better than ships then the seas would be empty of submarines. If a sonar buoy was that effective a hull mounted sonar would guarantee instant detection of any submarine.

    All good clean fun. :)

  9. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 18, 2009 5:52 am

    You fellows are giving me an education about UK journalism! We have many such news sites where the “grain of salt” principle has to be frequently applied.

    Michael said “His thinking is that ‘escorts are of no use”

    That just amazes me and I think some of our carrier admirals over here and their political supporters would agree with him. Also that the carriers don’t need planes, or just a few mediocre ones to fill their giant decks are sufficient.

    To me the escorts and submarines are the backbone of any Navy, of course with logistics ships. Battleships have their place and importance, as does all naval airpower. But the general purpose warfighting, escorting, policing and patrol, you need the “small boys”, without which you aren’t a Navy, just a status symbol.

  10. m.ridgard permalink
    November 18, 2009 4:58 am

    Sorry to seem so bloody minded but once again I feel the need to clarify a point.
    I saw D.E.Reddicks reference to an article from the ‘register’ so thought I would look it up,then I noticed the author Lewis Page and immediatley took the whole thing with a very large pinch of salt.
    The author of this flight of fancy is an ex middle ranking RN officer (disgruntled?) who seems to have a flair for self promotion and making outlandish statements.
    One of his better ones being that the future RN should consist of ‘super carriers’,SSN’s and MCM vessels. His thinking is that ‘escorts are of no use!!, frigates find it to hard to detect and prosecute submarines and aircraft are of more use than ships.
    So a carrier task group consisting of a CVF and SSN and a Mine countermeasure vessell.
    The only person who takes him seriously in the UK is himself,still I suppose he makes a decent living out of being deliberatly controversial.

  11. November 18, 2009 4:52 am

    As I said when this was originally posted here you have to take into account the paper the story was published in.

    The other left paper in the UK The Independent regularly reports the cost of a Trident replacement as £100bn with no qualification what so ever.

    Considering Trident came in under budget at £14bn, costs £250 million year to run, and the number of specialist jobs and companies within the UK that depend on this work reporting like that is pernicious. Especially when you consider the £54bn the socialist elites spent to prop up the Northern Rock bank. I am not going to moan about other banking costs.

    Total cost on the UK deterrent is £1bn; about 3% of the defence budget. An amazing £750million pounds gets spent on the Aldamaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 18, 2009 4:51 am

    Thanks Total and Gordon.

  13. November 17, 2009 10:05 pm

    Absent a state of national emergency, a general election to elect the new Parliament must be held by no later than Thursday 3 June 2010. The local elections for 2010 have been firmly scheduled for Thursday 6 May 2010, so that is a possible date. In theory, the PM can ask the Queen to dissolve the current Parliament at any time, but the governing Labour party is substantially behind in the opinion polls and has been for months.

  14. Total permalink
    November 17, 2009 9:45 pm

    Before June 2010.

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 17, 2009 8:20 pm

    It may be a while for the real truth comes out. Perhaps after national elections! Does anyone know the date for those?

  16. Total permalink
    November 17, 2009 8:16 pm

    Has there been an approach from the MoD to India? That language is parsed very carefully, indeed.

  17. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 17, 2009 6:57 pm


    That report and editorial commentary from The Register is certainly a different and very interesting read regarding the two projected RN CVs.


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