British Conservative Government U-Turn on aircraft carriers?
To elaborate further I would like to make note of the current conversion costs for HMS QE being banded about, some 1.8 billions pounds sterling. Which I believe encompasses the costs of carrier re-design, production of materials and the installation of traps and Catapults which will be of the new electromagnetic type; Which I've heard figures of around 500 million pounds for this new technology.
I would also like to draw attention to the fact that the Conservatives wish to or are considering reverting back to the F-35B (a heavier, shorter range, less payload, more expensive) VTOL version of the F-35 Lightening II aircraft (in comparison to the F-35C Carrier Variant) which yes, in the short term will save some 1.something billion which would have been plunged into the CATOBAR carrier alterations as stated above.
But... here's the but.... besides the above mentioned cost factors in the short term, it would appear that in the long term we will ultimately be left with; Two VTOL based aircraft carrier's with more expensive, less effective/capable aircraft and no in-interoperability with "allies" which was a key factor for the Conservatives "re-think" of the Labour government lead plans. Last but not least, the fact that the current progress of the VTOL F-35B is now lagging behind that of the carrier variant F-35C, which a real potential of either being scrapped, severely delayed and or a huge (further) leap in costs to Britain which is the second largest contributor to the JSF project, behind that of the USA.
Another point I would like to raise is relating to Thales, the company who won the design contract and came up with the design plans for the CVF carriers. In several promotional videos for CVF Thales has made an effort to point out that the CVF carrier is easily adaptable from ski jump to angled flight decks, to which one would surely think such solid designs were drawn up during the early stages. So why, why is BAE/UK Government/Thales/Babcock/MOD stating such vast quantities of money will be required for the re-design to an angled flight deck when the designs were/likely included during the earlier design stages.
I understand the argument that if we revert back to the B type aircraft we are likely to have 2 operational carriers sooner than later. But politicians in this case are evidently going about their usual of a 5 year (one parliament term) mentality and saving in the short to cost us more in the future. It could easily be possible to convert P.O.W to angled flight decks as planned. Purchase a small quantity of F-35B's (say 12) to give us some projection at sea to place onto QE and convert QE at a later date when funds are and will be available and to purchase the F-35C to fill up both carriers once in CATOBAR config. Why think short term when in the long term it will be more costly, less value to the tax payer and a lower standard in aircraft and carrier.
So to anyone with some good knowledge or history of the above mentioned would care to put forward some ideas/opinions or answers please feel free. What do you think?
1) Do we or don't we Convert?
2) F-35 B or C
3) Why are re-design's being carried our for angled flight decks with significantly high costs for the project when Thales said it was part of the CVF's future proofing.
If you can take time to answer/discuss or bring light to any of the other above mentioned issues I have raised then please feel free...... And Thank you.