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  1. #1
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    The Four Decommissioned U.S. Aircraft Carriers Are

    Recycling, not reefs, in store for old aircraft carriers: Environmental group worried about sea pollutants welcomes choice

    By Miguel Llanos
    msnbc.comupdated 4/7/2011 6:55:24 PM ET2011-04-07T22:55:24

    Jorge Morales -The decommissioned USS Forrestal is towed last June to a Navy site in Philadelphia for aging vessels.

    It's a heave-ho, U.S. Navy style. After several years during which turning old warships into artificial reefs was fashionable, four decommissioned aircraft carriers will instead be dismantled, and recycled, at shipyards.

    An environmental group that's been championing the shift said it makes sense: creating shipyard jobs in the U.S., instead of a potential toxic mess at sea.

    "The Obama administration's new plan to recycle these four aircraft carriers appears to be a signal that the administration may be correcting long-standing misguided policies that not only squander resources, but American jobs as well," stated Colby Self of the Basel Action Network, a group that monitors global toxic issues and that last December issued a report critical of the artificial reefs.

    The four decommissioned carriers are:
    • USS Constellation
    • USS Forrestal
    • USS Independence
    • USS Saratoga
    The Navy would not comment but Navy records show that bids are being accepted to dismantle the veteran ships.

    Self said the Forrestal alone has some 40,000 tons of recyclable steel, copper and aluminum.

    "With a strong metal market, these recoverable metals could bring a return of up to $30 million," Self told "After accounting for the ship purchase price by competitive bid, towing, environmental remediation of toxic materials and labor rates, the recycling of this vessel should be a profitable venture for the domestic ship recycling industry and should give the local economy a great boost."

    Dozens of other warships have previously been dumped at sea or turned into reefs after efforts were made to remove toxic material.

    BAN said that the environmental work on two recent aircraft carriers to meet that fate — the America and the Oriskany — cost more than $20 million each and that not all contaminants were removed.

    The Oriskany was sunk off Pensacola, Fla., in May 2006 at a depth of 210 feet with the purpose of becoming an artificial reef.

    The America was used for live-fire tests and scuttled in May 2005 at a depth of nearly 17,000 feet about 250 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

    BAN estimates that recycling the Forrestal will save millions of taxpayer dollars and sustain about 1,900 jobs for one year.

    BAN said it was still concerned that plans might still be in place to sink the decommissioned destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford next month in waters off Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

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    Presenting The First Chinese Aircraft Carrier

    Submitted by Tyler Durden
    04/07/2011 16:54 -0400

    After reverse engineering virtually every product known to man, the Chinese have now applied the same skill to the only component of their military that was so far missing: an aircraft carrier. Earlier today, Xinhua revealed the first official pictures of what will soon be China's first aircraft carrier, now expected to enter operation by the end of the year. As the NYT reports: "The photos of the carrier, the Varyag, which China bought from the Ukraine in 1998, appeared Wednesday on the Web site of Xinhua, the state news agency. It was the first time that Xinhua had given visual evidence of the carrier project, which is widely seen as a linchpin of China’s military modernization and naval ambitions. The carrier is being rebuilt in the waters of Dalian, a coastal city in eastern China. Xinhua cited a military analysis magazine based in Canada, Kanwa Asian Defense Review, as saying that the ship will be ready to sail this year. The fact that Xinhua used that information in a photo caption appeared to be an official endorsement of that view."

    More photos here and the wiki entry on the Kuznetsov-style Varyag can be found here.
    One thing about the Chinese: they sure can reverse engineer quick:

    Andrei Cheng, the founder of the magazine in Canada said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the photographs published by Xinhua showed the carrier at a much more advanced stage of construction than he had expected. He said his magazine had gotten photos of the carrier taken in February, but that those photos did not show any paint on the ship’s upper structure, while the ones published by Xinhua did.

    “The speed is very, very amazing, he said. “It’s surprised me.”

    As to whether this is a big strategic deal or just military posturing, here is Stratfor's analysis on the implications of China getting its first aircraft carrier.

    China’s state news agency, Xinhua, has published pictures of the Varyag, an aircraft carrier that the Chinese bought from the Ukrainians that they’ve been slowly working to develop and deploy. The pictures are accompanied by a note that suggests that after 70 years of Chinese hopes, this carrier is finally going to float this year.

    It’s interesting that Chinese state media is finally publishing pictures of the carrier. This has been about the worst-kept secret in the history of military development;

    everyone has seen pictures — either satellite pictures or on-the-ground pictures — of the Varyag throughout its refit by the Chinese. That they’re finally putting imagery in the state media suggests that they may actually be nearing the point of putting this to sea.

    There’s been a lot of concern raised by China’s neighbors — by the United States — of Chinese maritime intent, of the expansion of Chinese activities in the South China Sea, of a seemingly more assertive China in pushing what it considers to be its own naval territory. The deployment of the Varyag finally into this mix will certainly add to those concerns. The Varyag would technically allow the Chinese to move air assets further away from their shore, give them additional capabilities within the narrow constraints of the South China Sea. There’s been a lot of debate as to whether or not the Chinese included the South China Sea as one of their “core national interests” in some documents last year. It’s unclear whether they did or they didn’t, but certainly the Chinese have been acting in a manner that suggests that they are going to be much more aggressive in pushing their claim to the territory, as well as pushing to work bilaterally with some of the countries along the region, in an effort to keep the United States out of the mix.

    Carrier operations are not something that’s easy to do, it’s going to take a very long time for the Chinese to be able to work through the various technicalities of this. It’s also not something they’re going to be able to learn from other people. The Russians haven’t done carrier operations a very long time and United States is certainly not going to be training them. So this is going to be years before the Chinese really have the coordination to be able to move large carrier battle groups anywhere. And that assumes also that China builds more carriers. A single carrier gives you almost no capability. It’s got to be in port, it’s got to be in for refit, it can only go to one location. Until they have about three carriers, they really don’t even have the opportunity to maintain a single carrier on station at any given point in time.

    This is really more about politics rather than about military capabilities at this moment. Certainly, the Chinese will use this to learn, to train, to be able to develop new capabilities. But it’s about giving the sense that China has emerged, that China really is no longer just a second-tier country, but economically, politically and militarily, China is one of the big boys now. ... ft-carrier
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    UK Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Internet

    Another Ship Sold For Scrap Metal

    POSTED: 9:48 am EDT March 28, 2011

    LONDON -- For sale: one aircraft carrier, slightly used.

    Britain put the mothballed carrier Ark Royal up for sale Monday on a military auction website.

    The former flagship of the Royal Navy was decommissioned this month, four years ahead of schedule, as part of defense spending cuts. Bidders have until June 13 to make an offer. No minimum price was set.

    The government sold another carrier, HMS Invincible, which was bought for its metal and towed to a Turkish scrap yard.

    The Ark Royal could be sold for scrap, but there has also been a proposal to park it on the Thames river as a heliport.

    Britain is reducing the army by 7,000 soldiers and slashing billions from its defense budget as part of deficit-reducing cuts.
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    UK aircraft carrier to be sold to raise cash

    British aircraft carrier to be sold to raise money as Royal Navy face military budget cuts

    FILE - This is a Thursday, July 1, 2004 file photo as sailors man the rails on the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Invincible as it gets some help from tugboats for docking at Pier 88 in New York City . The Royal Navy is selling the HMS Invincible aircraft carrier to raise money in the face of impending budget cuts. The decommissioned carrier that played an important role in the Falklands War would make an ideal Christmas gift for the person who has just about everything. The vessel will be auctioned on a military disposal website. No price has been set. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey, File)

    On Tuesday November 30, 2010, 10:57 am EST

    LONDON (AP) -- The Royal Navy is selling a decommissioned aircraft carrier to raise money in the face of impending military budget cuts.

    The HMS Invincible, which played an important role in the 1982 Falklands War, will be auctioned on a military disposal website. No price has been set.

    The military said in a statement Tuesday that all options -- including the sale of equipment -- will be considered during these challenging financial times.

    The Invincible was decommissioned in 2005 after 25 years of active service. Prince Andrew was based on it during the Falklands War when he served as a helicopter pilot. ... l?x=0&.v=1
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    Navy aircraft carrier will be sold after three years - and never carry jets

    One of the Navys new £3 billion aircraft carriers will never carry aircraft and will sail for only three years before being mothballed and possibly sold, ministers will announce on Tuesday.

    By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent9:57PM BST 18 Oct 2010

    The Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review will also confirm that Britain will not have an effective “carrier strike” capability – a working aircraft carrier equipped with fighter jets – until 2020.

    David Cameron had wanted to scrap one of the two carriers, the largest and most expensive vessels in British naval history, but the review found that contracts signed by the previous government meant that doing so would end up costing the taxpayer more than going ahead with both. As a result, the two carriers will enter service, but one will be mothballed as soon as possible.

    Presenting the review to MPs, the Prime Minister will blame many of its outcomes on Labour, accusing its ministers of leaving a £38 billion black hole in the defence budget and signing contracts for over-priced and unnecessary military equipment. He will also announce:

    • The replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent will be delayed by a year until after the general election scheduled for 2015. He will insist he remains committed to renewing Trident but will say the delay is needed to save £750 million.

    • The Army will lose 7,000 soldiers, more than 100 tanks and 200 armoured vehicles. One armoured brigade will be lost and the end of Britain’s 65-year presence in Germany will be signalled.

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    • The RAF will keep most of its Tornado fighter-bombers but lose at least 5,000 personnel. Two RAF bases will close and be occupied by soldiers returning from Germany.
    • The Navy’s fleet of warships will drop from 24 to 19 and it will lose 4,000 personnel. Harrier jump-jets will be scrapped next year but no F35 Joint Strike Fighters will be available to replace them until 2020.
    • Special Forces will receive a significant increase in their budget, allowing them to buy sophisticated communications technology and weapons. Recruitment is also likely to rise.
    The decision on the new carriers has been at the heart of tense and prolonged Whitehall negotiations over the future of the Armed Forces.
    Due to cost almost £6 billion, they were demanded by the Navy but strongly opposed by the Army and by General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff.
    The final plan for the carriers was approved by the Cabinet on Monday, at a meeting in which Mr Cameron told ministers that the decisions on the future of the Armed Forces, had been “the hardest thing I have had to deal with” since entering No 10.
    On Tuesday, the Prime Minister will outline a timetable under which Britain’s one fully operational aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, is immediately retired. The Navy’s other carrier, HMS Illustrious, will continue to function as a helicopter platform stripped of jets before retiring in 2014.
    The first of the new carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will enter service in 2016, configured to carry helicopters, not jets. The second new carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will arrive in 2019. At that point, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be put into “extended readiness”, effectively mothballed indefinitely.
    Government sources indicated that the Queen Elizabeth was unlikely to return to service after that, and could well be sold to another country to recoup some of the cost of building it. “There are no plans for it after 2019 and it could well be sold. No one wanted the second carrier but we had no choice,” said one source. “No one is pretending this is an ideal situation, but this is what we were left with.”
    A senior defence source added: “This is not a perfect set of circumstances. There is no political benefit for us but it is the right thing for the country. It would have been more expensive to cancel than build the aircraft carrier.”
    Further angering Navy chiefs, the defence review will confirm that Harrier jump-jets will be abandoned next year but the RAF’s Tornado will be spared to operate in Afghanistan.
    Scrapping the Harriers will create a “capability gap” of nine years, with Britain unable to fly fast jets from an aircraft carrier until 2020, when the new JSF enters service.
    Government sources tried to play down the significance of the gap, insisting that Britain had agreements allowing RAF jets to fly from overseas bases in most strategically sensitive parts of the world. But insiders admitted that the situation was “far from perfect”.
    Until 2020, Britain is likely to rely heavily on allies with a carrier strike capability, most significantly France.
    Mr Cameron will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy next month to discuss expanding Anglo-French military co-operation, with naval collaboration at the top of the agenda.
    As The Daily Telegraph disclosed in August, one of the new carriers will be redesigned with a catapult to launch aircraft.
    That means that Britain will have to pull out of plans to buy a specially-designed short take-off vertical landing model of the JSF.
    Abandoning this model could jeopardise jobs at Rolls-Royce, which was helping build it, and antagonise the US, Britain’s partner in developing the aircraft.
    However, the catapult system will allow the Prince of Wales to carry French and US aircraft. It also means that the new carrier will be equipped with the conventional form of the JSF, which the Royal Navy believes is more powerful and cost-effective than the jump-jet.
    Navy chiefs were said to be extremely unhappy about the decision to axe the Harrier jump-jets, claiming that ministers had “underestimated the risk” from the move.
    Sources raised doubt over the lack of carrier strike capability, questioning whether the RAF would be able to secure airbases for its jets if Britain needed to fight abroad.
    “I can’t see Oman happy to have Tornados flying from its territory to bomb Iran,” said a source.
    Your View: Is David Cameron right to delay the replacement of Trident? ... -jets.html
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  7. #7
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    A British fleet with no aircraft carrier. Unthinkable!

    Britain is about to become a different country - the loss of the Ark Royal is the least of it

    Ian Jack The Guardian, Friday 22 October 2010
    Comments 78

    The Ark Royal departs for sea trials from Rosyth dockyard under the Forth rail bridge. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

    One of my presents for the Christmas of 1956 was a fat little book called All About Ships and Shipping, edited by EP Harnack and very nicely got up by Faber & Faber with semaphore flags and rolling waves impressed on its blue cloth binding. Its prettiness helps explain its survival in boxes and cupboards for more than half a century, its original tuition (example: how to tell a barque from a brigantine) long forgotten. This week I took it out to look at the Royal Navy's fleet list in that long-ago era. Classes were lined up below their different silhouettes: cruisers, minelayers, destroyers, frigates, monitors, minesweepers, torpedo boats. There was still one battleship in service, the Vanguard, a turreted shape I can just remember seeing through a North Sea mist, but the biggest surprise was the number of aircraft carriers: Ark Royal, Eagle, Indomitable, Illustrious, Implacable, Indefatigable, Formidable … their bulldog names went on over two pages. There were 22 in all, and even if only half of them were actually sailing the high seas, the rest would have been mothballed with engines and guns greased and ready for war.
    Very soon, when the Ark Royal and its Harrier jets are scrapped, the Navy will be left for the next 10 years without a ship capable of flying aircraft, until the first of the two carriers now under construction is commissioned. The entire surface fleet will amount to no more than 19 warships; my little book tells me that one class of destroyers alone, the C class (Cavalier, Cossack, Crispin), had more. My point isn't to contest the wisdom of shrinking the fleet – I'm not a military strategist – but to suggest how much can change in a lifetime and not be registered as change until an incredible event occurs (incredible, that is, to people of a certain age, background and disposition). It comes as a kind of assault on the memory. A fleet without an aircraft carrier! My short-trousered, ship-watching self would have boggled at the impossibility. But all the while since the navy has been losing dockyards, ships and crew – like a long, lulling sentence punctuated with commas and waking up finally with an exclamation mark.
    But the end of the Ark Royal is the least of it. Britain is about to become a different country. Everybody agrees about this, with varying degrees of exultation or foreboding depending on their reading of government policy: a pulling back from the brink or a tip forward into the abyss, a leaner, fitter and more dynamic country or a smaller, meaner, more divided one. This kind of political rupture to the drift of national life is rare in peacetime history. It happened under the governments formed in 1945 and 1979, but the other big postwar date (1956, the year of Suez and my nautical Christmas gift) affected Britain's idea of itself more than the texture of ordinary lives. Never again could the state pretend to imperial power, but the people who lived in it trickled around this fissure like ants, and grew slowly but steadily richer.
    Next month the British Film Institute launches a retrospective of documentaries that were made during that 30-year era known as the postwar settlement. Boom Britain, the season's overall title, strikes a deliberately historic note that wouldn't have worked four or five years ago, when it could just as easily have labelled a season by current filmmakers rather than those working between 1951 and 1977. But the title turns out to be not entirely accurate: some films shine with the classic boom qualities of confidence and optimism, but others don't. They reflect concerns that are still current – the environment, women's rights, mental illness, lonely old age, abused children – and that perhaps offers the first lesson about any study of the past: that its division into tight little periods, each different to the next, can never be more than a crude and sometimes misleading generalisation.
    This thought, in fact, inspired the BFI's retrospective. According to Patrick Russell, its curator, the project is an act of revisionism designed to correct and enlarge the conventional history of the British documentary movement. Roughly, this story goes as follows. In the beginning was a 1929 film about herring drifters directed by John Grierson, who coined the noun "documentary" to describe films that dealt in "the creative treatment of actuality". Under Grierson's influence, several young filmmakers emerged in the 1930s who were passionately committed to social change. The brilliant wartime propaganda of Humphrey Jennings made him the most famous of them. And then after 1945 came a "black hole", in Russell's words; Lindsay Anderson and his "Free Cinema" school made a few memorable films in the late 1950s, but by then television has staked ownership to the documentary technique. The phrase "British cinema documentary" came to mean a black and white collage of steam locomotives, slag heaps, women in grubby kitchens and men in flat caps, searchlights and bomb damage. Certainly, that's what it meant to me.
    Of course, I should have known better. Anyone who grew up in the 1950s and 60s usually sat through a short, British-made non-fiction film at the cinema. We watched them impatiently – why were we learning about artificial fibre production when we'd paid to see Kirk Douglas? Later, we also watched them dubiously – what were the funders of these films, Shell or BP or the National Coal Board, trying in some insidious way to sell us? As it turns out, nothing very terrible. The BFI has made a four-DVD set (titled Shadows of Progress and soon to be released) and most films on it wear their sponsorship lightly; sometimes, as with a BP film on the world's finite resources, they're even antagonistic to its interests. There is just as much lyricism and sympathy to be found in them as in the prewar school, and their directors, photographers and scriptwriters deserve to be rescued from the charge that their backing by government agencies or big business necessarily compromised their art.
    Sometimes, of course, it may have done. One of my favourites is Britain Today, made in 1964 for the Foreign Office to show abroad. James Cameron, whose last work as a great liberal journalist was a weekly column in the Guardian, wrote and narrated the script. The film marches us around the United Kingdom and, goodness, what a promising place it looks. One wishes one lived there. New car plants, schools and universities, new nuclear power stations, Trident jets and blue Pullman trains. "Nothing can stand still," says Cameron as wrecking balls tear down Glasgow tenements. "The useless old must go." There are some unexpected moments. The crowd singing Jerusalem at the Proms is remarkably decorous, standing still as they sing and waving no flags, but these scenes follow a sequence of young people jiving: "Britain is very old – and very young."
    This is the film's trope. Britain is a country "sustained by its past … confident of overcoming the challenges in the long years to come". A different and unrelated Cameron could have spoken the same script yesterday. The facts may be different, count them as you will in naval fleets, public debt or balances of trade. But the rhetoric used to address Britain's problematic future never changes – it takes us forward or backwards to the new age. ... nthinkable
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    UK 'to lose carrier strike until 2020'

    19 October 2010

    The UK is set to lose its carrier strike capability until 2020 under measures to be announced as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), it has been reported.

    The Royal Navy will lose HMS Ark Royal almost immediately and the HMS Queen Elizabeth will be used for helicopters only until it is put into "extended readiness", effectively mothballed, after around three years in service. The government is then likely to sell the carrier.

    The Harrier jump jets from HMS Ark Royal will be decommissioned immediately and HMS Illustrious will be used as a helicopter carrier until 2014 when it is retired.

    HMS Prince of Wales will launch in 2019, carrying conventional Joint Strike Fighters rather than the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing variant that had initially been planned. The conventional JSF may not be available until 2020. The move to 'cat and trap' is reportedly intended to make the carrier more interoperable with the French and US navies.

    The changes were said to be some of the hardest decisions faced by Prime Minister David Cameron during the SDSR process

    The decision on the Trident successor submarine programme is to be delayed until after the next general election in 2015, but the UK will get a seventh Astute class attack submarine to maintain the country's submarine skills base.

    The lifespan of the Vanguard class submarines which currently operate the deterrent will be extended until the late 2020s.

    Latest reports suggest the Army is set to lose 7,000 soldiers, more than 100 tanks, 200 of its armoured vehicles and one armoured brigade.

    Troops will also begin to be withdrawn from Germany, with returning troops occupying one of two RAF bases which are set to close.

    The RAF will lose at least 5,000 personnel, where previously it had been reported up to 9,000 could go. The Royal Navy is set to lose five warships and 4,000 personnel.

    Britain's Special Forces are set to benefit from an increase in their budget and recruitment.

    The full results of the SDSR are set to be outlined by the Prime Minister in Parliament. ... p?id=14469
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    Aircraft carrier and Harriers face 'immediate' axe in defence cuts ...

    Hero Harrier pilot confronts David Cameron as 40,000 defence jobs go

    Joe Murphy and Nicholas Cecil
    19 Oct 2010

    A HERO pilot facing unemployment today confronted David Cameron over defence cuts.

    The Afghanistan veteran challenged the Prime Minister as he defended savings of 7.5 per cent. Royal Navy lieutenant commander Kris Ward said: “I am a Harrier pilot and I have flown 140-odd missions in Afghanistan, and I am now potentially facing unemployment. How am I supposed to feel about that, please, sir?”

    The 80-strong fleet of Harrier jets will be decommissioned from early next year.

    Speaking after a question and answer session at Permanent Joint Headquarters in north-west London, Lt-Cdr Ward, 37, added: “I understand that cuts have to be made, but I am not sure that these are the right cuts.”

    The cutbacks will mean the loss of more than 40,000 defence jobs. Mr Cameron said: “We do have to make decisions for the future and there have been long discussions about this in the National Security Council.”

    He thanked Lt-Cdr Ward for “everything”, but added: “I have listened to all the military advice, and the military advice is pretty clear that when we have to make difficult decisions, it is right to keep the Typhoon as our principal ground attack aircraft, working in Afghanistan at the moment, and it is right to retire the Harrier.”

    The Prime Minister admitted that “difficult” decisions had been made in the strategic defence and security review as he addressed staff at the operations headquarters. But he insisted Britain would remain a “front rank military power”.

    Lt Cdr Ward's father, retired Commander Nigel “Sharkey” Ward defended the Harrier jet today on which he has written a book.

    He told the BBC: “The Navy Harrier ensured success in the Falkands.

    “Our troops on the ground of course achieved that final success but without the Harrier it could not have happened.”

    In today's landmark reshaping of the armed forces, civilian workers will bear the brunt with 25,000 posts to go out of a total of 40,000, including hundreds at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

    The Army will lose 7,000 military posts, the Royal Navy and RAF around 5,000 each. The grim figures on the human cost of the cuts emerged as Defence Secretary Liam Fox took to the airwaves to defend the extraordinary situation of Britain's aircraft carriers not having any UK planes on them for 10 years.

    French and US aircraft may even be the first to operate off one of two new British aircraft carriers being built at a cost of £6 billion.

    The replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent is also being delayed, averting a major showdown between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives over its future. On Trident, Mr Fox said: “I do not believe that any of the measures that we take will in any way affect the effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent, nor our ability to have a continuous at-sea deterrent.”

    Britain's special forces are due to get extra funding and there will be a £20 million boost to medical services.

    Mr Cameron was today announcing that the Navy's flagship HMS Ark Royal will be scrapped early and the 80-strong fleet of Harrier jets will be decommissioned from early next year.

    Britain's remaining aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious will be used as a platform for helicopters but is due to go out of service in 2014, leaving the UK with a maritime “capability gap”.

    The new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to enter service in 2016 but this date may be delayed. The second carrier being built, HMS Prince of Wales, is due to be ready in 2019.

    But one of them may be then mothballed and could then be sold off, possibly to India. The remaining aircraft carrier will be fitted with an electromagnetic system of catapults to launch planes and drag wires for landings.

    Mr Fox insisted today it was not unprecedented for Britain to have aircraft carriers without jets. Tornado and Typhoon jets would allow Britain to project “air power”.

    Asked about the situation where French rather than British planes may fly from one of the new carriers, he added: “You need to be looking not to the end of the decade but to the 35 to 40 years of life of the carriers, and to have inter-operability with our allies seems to me to be a priority in that period if we are to have effective alliances.”

    Experts have criticised the military overhaul as “indecision-led” and “eccentric”.

    The Lib-Con coalition is blaming the shake-up on £38 billion of military over-commitments inherited from Labour.

    The £37 billion defence budget is being cut by 7.5 per cent but MoD insiders stress that this equates to around 16 per cent once the nine per cent because of the overspend from the previous government is taken into account.

    An order for 25 Chinook helicopters is to be cut to 12. Britain's 20,000 troops in Germany will be withdrawn by 2020, with 10,000 out by 2015.

    Mr Cameron was set to announce that Britain's military spending will not fall below two per cent of Gross Domestic Product, the minimum expected of Nato members.

    Unions reacted angrily to the looming job cuts. Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer for the MoD, said: “MoD civilian staff in London play a vital logistical role in maintaining national security at a time of heightened alert.”

    Mr Cameron spoke to President Obama last night before unveiling the strategic defence and security review. Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “worried” by the scale of UK defence cuts.

    But a Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister had promised President Obama that the UK would “remain a first-rate military power and a robust ally of the United States”.

    It would “continue to work closely with the US on the full range of current security priorities,” he added.

    The last strategic defence review in 1998 took more than a year, while this one has been carried out in five months, leading to accusations that the government has rushed the process.

    It has been undertaken at the same time as the comprehensive spending review to be published tomorrow which is expected to see huge cuts to departmental spending across Whitehall.

    Rear Admiral Terry Loughran, who was at the helm from 1993 to 1994 during the Bosnian conflict, said the decision to have no flight capability on aircraft carriers for up to 10 years would lead to a massive loss of skills.

    He said the decision to adapt the new ships to host conventional aircraft rather than those with hover capabilities would lead to greater long-term costs. He added: “It is the scrapping of the Harriers that gives me the greatest concern and highlights that the review is far from strategic.”

    Two new aircraft carriers will be built at a cost of £6 billion but about 5,000 jobs will go. HMS Ark Royal will be retired early and the fleet of Harrier aircraft decommissioned. The second carrier, HMS Illustrious, will be used as a helicopter platform but is due to be retired in 2014. One of the two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, is expected to be mothballed in 2019 and possibly sold off. The other would be able to take conventional jets rather than vertical take-off aircraft. Four frigates will be axed as the surface fleet is cut from 24 to 19. An order for seven Astute Class hunter-killer submarines will go ahead and Trident is delayed.

    The air force will lose some 5,000 military posts and at least two bases. RAF Kinloss in Scotland is seen as the most vulnerable. The new Nimrod MRA4 fleet is expected to be scrapped. The Tornado fleet will escape the immediate axe but be phased out with the introduction of new Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter jets. But the number of Joint Strike Fighter planes is due to be cut from about 130 to 40. RAF bases could be used for soldiers returning from Germany.

    The Army is due to lose some 7,000 soldiers, more than 100 tanks and 200 armoured vehicles. The job losses are far lower than the 20,000 originally feared. Twenty thousand troops in Germany will be brought home by 2020. David Cameron has guaranteed that operations in Afghanistan will not be hit by the cuts. General Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, intervened at the 11th hour to oppose changes to training which he felt would affect the Afghan campaign. Special forces will get extra funding to buy cutting-edge communications technology and weapons. ...
    Last edited by AirborneSapper7; 02-15-2012 at 02:09 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Cameron to discuss carrier sharing deal

    Cameron to discuss carrier sharing deal

    28 October 2010

    Prime Minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are to discuss the detail of plans to share military equipment, including aircraft carriers, between France and the UK at a November summit in London.

    Cameron and Sarkozy were originally set to meet in Portsmouth to discuss the plans, but that meeting will now be held in London on 2 November.

    President Sarkozy is set to announce that the French navy will look to reconfigure the Charles de Gaulle so it is able to launch the UK's Joint Strike Fighters when they come into service.

    French defence minister Hervé Morin, speaking at the Euronaval 2010 conference, confirmed that greater cooperation concerning the two nations' carriers was being investigated.

    "Beyond joint exercises, we are in favour of sharing the accompanying of aircraft carriers," said Morin. "A British frigate could perfectly well participate in the protection of the Charles de Gaulle and vice versa.

    "I've asked our military command to consider the feasibility of stationing British aircraft on our aircraft carrier and vice versa," he added. "We're looking into other areas such as refuelling planes."

    Earlier this month it was suggested that French nuclear facilities could be used to maintain the warheads on the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent. The French are also said to be offering the UK use of their Bréguet Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft following the announcement that the Nimrod MRA4 would be scrapped.

    Morin said restrictions on sharing carriers "in the case of a conflict or crisis where our respective interests diverged" were likely, and any treaty agreed during Cameron and Sarkozy's meeting must cover the difficult issue of how and when the UK and France might deploy shared carriers.

    The UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) determined that one of Britain's carriers would be converted to use a catapult and arrestor system to launch the conventional variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Previously both carriers had been due to take the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant.

    In Parliament on 26 October, defence minister Peter Luff said it had not yet been decided whether one or both carriers would be converted to use catapult and arrestor equipment. The carrier strike capability based around the conventional JSF and Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier is not due to be available until "around 2020", he said.

    "We are investigating the optimum means of achieving this outcome, working with industry and our international partners," said Luff.

    "No decisions have been taken as to the type of system, delivery dates or procurement route, or whether both carriers will be converted." ... p?id=14573
    Last edited by AirborneSapper7; 02-15-2012 at 02:10 PM.
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