Why did we build a huge Aircraft carrier?

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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 1309
    It’s very important that Great Britain has top notch, expensive weapons because we are an expensive, top notch country. We need to protect these shores from other people who might think where they were born is better than where we were born. And we have The Queen and Shakespeare and Marshall Amps and boiled cabbage. So There!
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 4360
    edited January 12
    @Garthy ;; that's not really a fair comparison. 

    The aircraft carriers do not suddenly stop costing money one they're built. You have to man them, fuel them, do maintenance. 

    Paying a crew of several thousand (who apparently have to stand on deck and wave their willies at Argentina so it's quite a specialised job requiring extensive training investment) plus all the other associated costs is a hell of a lot more than just the build cost. 

    Then divide the nhs costs by the number of people that will benefit from it. 

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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    and the thing about offensive military spending, it's all cost. There are no financial benefits, unless you invade a country and steal all their resources (and ofc, we have no track record of ever doing that). Build a road, you generate trade, upgrade a railway, you generate trade, build a hospital, you make people healthier, which generates trade. Trade is good, war is bad. More trade less war.

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 10900
    cacophony said:
    this carrier highlighted yet again the cancerous nature of our press. when it reported that the carrier was leaking 200 litres of water an hour, and was in real danger of sinking (probably). until it was pointed out that the ship has the capacity to store half a million litres of aviation fuel, half a million litres of deisel, and untold tens of thousands of litres of drinking water, hydraulic oil, cooking fat, and other POL. and that the pumps down in the bowels of the ship can deal with 1000 litres a minute, without even having to switch on the emergency pumping system.


    but. let's not let facts get in the way of a sensational headline eh?, wankers.

    The various forces don't tend to complain of the cancerous press when they're dropping snippets to that press in order to put some pressure on government. That's the problem with dealing the press whether you're a military force or a reality star: one day, they'll bite you in the arse. 
    I make Jeremy Paxman look like Fingermouse. 
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  • GarthyGarthy Frets: 1643
    @Garthy ;; that's not really a fair comparison. 

    The aircraft carriers do not suddenly stop costing money one they're built. You have to man them, fuel them, do maintenance. 

    Paying a crew of several thousand (who apparently have to stand on deck and wave their willies at Argentina so it's quite a specialised job requiring extensive training investment) plus all the other associated costs is a hell of a lot more than just the build cost. 

    Then divide the nhs costs by the number of people that will benefit from it. 
    The running costs for an aircraft carrier are strangely not in the public domain. Even if it's double the build price of £3bn each, it is still far, far less than we spend on other things. Given the £772bn spent last year, the cost of a carrier is of little consequence. Hopefully we can all cross our fingers and hope that the crew will do nothing more than wave their willies and jiggle their tits at the Argies because anything else is quite serious.
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  • Garthy said:
    <snip>
    The running costs for an aircraft carrier are strangely not in the public domain. Even if it's double the build price of £3bn each, it is still far, far less than we spend on other things. Given the £772bn spent last year, the cost of a carrier is of little consequence. Hopefully we can all cross our fingers and hope that the crew will do nothing more than wave their willies and jiggle their tits at the Argies because anything else is quite serious.
    I appreciate the point you're making about relative expenditure and it not really being that expensive to buy two carriers that may even have planes one day, but it would still pay for a few new hospitals, or a better railway, etc. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31170
    VimFuego said:
    and the thing about offensive military spending, it's all cost. There are no financial benefits, unless you invade a country and steal all their resources (and ofc, we have no track record of ever doing that). Build a road, you generate trade, upgrade a railway, you generate trade, build a hospital, you make people healthier, which generates trade. Trade is good, war is bad. More trade less war.
    There is one benefit to military spending - if it's on weapons systems made in this country, it provides jobs, develops expertise etc, which helps industry and also eventually returns much of the money to the government via tax on the workers' incomes and spending.

    But firstly it breaks down entirely if we buy foreign-made systems (eg American) because that money is then permanently lost to this country, and secondly it would always still be possible to spend the money, generate the jobs and tax income etc by making something that is actually useful instead.

    I don't dispute that we need to spend money on defence. It's actually the single most basic and important duty of a state - to protect its citizens. But I do completely disagree with the idea that we need to spend money on things which "give us the ability to project power around the world". We no longer have an empire, and poking our noses into other people's countries has caused almost nothing but trouble both for those countries and for ourselves.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3502
    All the stuff about the Argentinians is kind of missing the point a bit. If we had the level of forces there in 1982 that we have now then they would never have invaded.  I think we had 26 Marines on the Islands at the time.  Our gevernment didn't see that coming in 1982, but we had the Hermes and Invincible so we could take them back.

    Rightly or wrongly, you have the carriers because there may be some other need that we haven't yet seen coming.  Given the lead time on building them, you can't build them when the need arises.

    The other side of that, is that a lot of effort was put into battleships in the build up to WW2 that would have been better spent on carriers.  We may be reaching the point where the traditional carrier is going the way of the battleship.  Who knows?
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  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 880
    Britania Rules the Waves LOL
    It says so in our national anthem
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    ICBM said:
    VimFuego said:
    and the thing about offensive military spending, it's all cost. There are no financial benefits, unless you invade a country and steal all their resources (and ofc, we have no track record of ever doing that). Build a road, you generate trade, upgrade a railway, you generate trade, build a hospital, you make people healthier, which generates trade. Trade is good, war is bad. More trade less war.
    There is one benefit to military spending - if it's on weapons systems made in this country, it provides jobs, develops expertise etc, which helps industry and also eventually returns much of the money to the government via tax on the workers' incomes and spending.

    But firstly it breaks down entirely if we buy foreign-made systems (eg American) because that money is then permanently lost to this country, and secondly it would always still be possible to spend the money, generate the jobs and tax income etc by making something that is actually useful instead.

    I don't dispute that we need to spend money on defence. It's actually the single most basic and important duty of a state - to protect its citizens. But I do completely disagree with the idea that we need to spend money on things which "give us the ability to project power around the world". We no longer have an empire, and poking our noses into other people's countries has caused almost nothing but trouble both for those countries and for ourselves.
    while true, it's still a cost, it's just moving money around (from taxation and borrowing to the companies). Now, if we sold those weapons overseas, that would generate wealth, however we oft times are not very discriminating about who we sell those arms to. 
    Perhaps all that expertise could be used to make something that is beneficial and that we would have no qualms about selling t even the most despotic of dictators. 

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    crunchman said:
    All the stuff about the Argentinians is kind of missing the point a bit. If we had the level of forces there in 1982 that we have now then they would never have invaded.  I think we had 26 Marines on the Islands at the time.  Our gevernment didn't see that coming in 1982, but we had the Hermes and Invincible so we could take them back.

    Rightly or wrongly, you have the carriers because there may be some other need that we haven't yet seen coming.  Given the lead time on building them, you can't build them when the need arises.

    The other side of that, is that a lot of effort was put into battleships in the build up to WW2 that would have been better spent on carriers.  We may be reaching the point where the traditional carrier is going the way of the battleship.  Who knows?
    could we not narrow down where we are likely to need to deploy air forces in a defensive capacity that are outside the range of any likely ground air base we could use then see if they justify the cost of 2 aircraft carriers or would it be cheaper and more effective to defend those locations other ways? 

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • GarthyGarthy Frets: 1643
    Garthy said:
    <snip>
    The running costs for an aircraft carrier are strangely not in the public domain. Even if it's double the build price of £3bn each, it is still far, far less than we spend on other things. Given the £772bn spent last year, the cost of a carrier is of little consequence. Hopefully we can all cross our fingers and hope that the crew will do nothing more than wave their willies and jiggle their tits at the Argies because anything else is quite serious.
    I appreciate the point you're making about relative expenditure and it not really being that expensive to buy two carriers that may even have planes one day, but it would still pay for a few new hospitals, or a better railway, etc. 
    The railways are getting £38bn for five years, including £4bn to service interest on their debts, lets say these carries cost £18bn over their lifetimes, what difference is an extra £360m a year over 50 years going to make to the railways?  They spent nearly £900m on Reading's station and tracks. Network Rail would lose that money down the back of the sofa.
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  • usedtobeusedtobe Frets: 2392
    It’s about swaggering around like a big hitter, instead of the joke we are.
     so if you fancy a reissue of a guitar they never made in a colour they never used then it probably isn't too overpriced.

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  • sinbaadisinbaadi Frets: 807
    We really should have built a huge aircraft bag for life.
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  • Moe_ZambeekMoe_Zambeek Frets: 2193
    edited January 12
    Very negative thread personally I'm happy to see these commissioned, I think we need a strong naval presence and carriers appear to be the most useful multi purpose ships we can build, being flexible enough to answer many needs, military, humanitarian and diplomatic.

    In fact I'd go further and say we need to more fully fund the armed services and specifically reverse the decline in naval funding over the last few decades.

    Ideally we'd back that up with improvements in military procurement and purchase more from UK manufacturers and suppliers.

    I think there might have been some better planning around the delivery of these, but with Gordon Brown involved that was pretty much a given!

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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 918
    It would be much cooler if it was a Helicarrier.
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1755
    Britania Rules the Waves LOL
    It says so in our national anthem
    @Jez6345789 Err, no it doesn't. Wrong song, Jez.
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  • They're floating air bases...
    They're pretty cool considering they can be deployed in waters the world over.
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 1713
    There are two roles the British military plays, one not very often and one probably far too often.

    The first, is as the guardians of Britain and it's territories.  The force in being capable of defending or re-taking land belonging to us which has been taken by someone else.  The most obvious example of us doing this in our recent past was the Falklands War, which depended on Aircraft Carriers for the win.  Also crucial were other uncommon military capabilities we maintain, at some significant cost.

    The second, complementary objective is what we bring to the table as (lets face it) a junior partner in the Pax Americana.  This is the role we have played in Kosovo, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Syria etc.  Britain to pull it's weight (and indeed exceed it) in this role, has certain exceptional capabilities for a country of our size.  One of these has always been to take on a role otherwise requiring the deployment of a US Carrier Battle Group.  Before, this has been heavily restricted by the capabilities of our old baby Invincible class carriers, but their success in deployment for years was always admired and respected by the USN.  We now are building a capability with the QE class and F-35 that we could genuinely deploy a CBG of our own with comparable capability to the US CBGs.  Only France currently maintains this ability some of the time, we will have it all the time, with better planes.

    We also, FWIW, maintain a deployable ready-reaction force of troops and air lift capability which can be deployed pretty much anywhere in the world.  This is something really only the US, France and the UK can do (with China soon to join the club, no doubt).  Britain also has a large capable fleet of transport aircraft and tankers which would be relied upon by our European allies if there was a major conflict.

    Britain maintains a respectable fleet of nuclear attack submarines, in fact we are generally regarded as one of the world's most deadly employers of same, with only the USA and Russia in the same club.  We have the ability to land a battalion of troops on an opposed amphibious operation, and support and supply them.  We also have a significant capability at anti-submarine warfare, and an anti-air warfare capability from the Type 45 Destroyers regarded as world leading.

    Unfortunately...

    We also have a massive budget deficit, a government struggling to balance the books and terrified of tax rises, an NHS at full stretch, a pending massive unknown with Brexit and a productivity crisis.  

    As a result globally what military force really depends on, economic and industrial capability and cold hard cash, are in extremely short supply.  Therefore the QE class carriers, an expensive military luxury when we are struggling to keep even the most basic capabilities paid for, can easily be made out to be a massive white elephant.

    But we do have them now, so we may as well stick the planes on them, get them operational and try to pay for them, keep them crewed and keep the escort and sub fleets to a sensible capability to protect them.  With the current MOD budget situation this is challenging, and leads to such terrifying thoughts leaked to the press of essentially getting rid of the Royal Marines aforementioned landing capabilities.

    We aren't alone, we are part of NATO and if the current stand-off with Russia gets worse, or if god forbid there was a war in the Far East, we might be glad of being able to send a big well-defended warship with stealth aircraft to take part in the USA's next conflict, rather than having to deploy some troops on the ground.
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    fuck that, let america fight america's corporate wars. I'm sick and tired of our young men coming back with lumps missing (or not at all) just to enhance someone's profit margin. Shit, I wouldn't mind so much, but we never even get to see the money, all that shit gets offshored.

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 1713
    VimFuego said:
    fuck that, let america fight america's corporate wars. I'm sick and tired of our young men coming back with lumps missing (or not at all) just to enhance someone's profit margin. Shit, I wouldn't mind so much, but we never even get to see the money, all that shit gets offshored.
    It's a little more complex than that, but your basic point is hard to argue with.

    War is horror and young people dying screaming for their mothers, innocent children burning alive, babies suffocating in rubble, whole villages murdered.

    We can't ever forget that when talking about the toys.
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    if, since the end of WW2, we'd engaged in what, for want of a better term, we could call honourable wars, then I'd be all in favour of sending our forces out to instill law and justice on the world. But, with the exception of the Balkan campaigns, all of which could be resourced from land bases, we haven't. Even Korea was just a pissing contest between 2 ideologies, at huge cost to the civilians and young conscripts we sent out there. 
    Our politicians seem to have an enormous inability to wield these deadly forces responsibly, so I feel it is our duty to ensure they don't have the means to wage war. Or at the very least, to judge them harshly when they ignore us.

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 1713
    VimFuego said:

    Our politicians seem to have an enormous inability to wield these deadly forces responsibly, so I feel it is our duty to ensure they don't have the means to wage war. Or at the very least, to judge them harshly when they ignore us.
    Well as a citizen of a democracy you have a right and arguably a duty to be heard and participate in the debate, I'd say you are doing pretty well at that. :)
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 869
    The problem with an aircraft carrier is that it needs a supporting fleet.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 869
    VimFuego said:
    if, since the end of WW2, we'd engaged in what, for want of a better term, we could call honourable wars, then I'd be all in favour of sending our forces out to instill law and justice on the world. But, with the exception of the Balkan campaigns, all of which could be resourced from land bases, we haven't. Even Korea was just a pissing contest between 2 ideologies, at huge cost to the civilians and young conscripts we sent out there. 
    Our politicians seem to have an enormous inability to wield these deadly forces responsibly, so I feel it is our duty to ensure they don't have the means to wage war. Or at the very least, to judge them harshly when they ignore us.
    The Falklands was an honourable war, or was it just a conflict?
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6046
    well, the falklands were the result of  series of failures by thatcher. It was well known that the junta had been making sabre rattling threats in the year leading up to the invasion, yet the govt went out of it's way to send signals that some could read (and the junta did read) that we weren't serious about defending the falklands. It would have been much simpler to forestall the invasion, but intelligence was misinterpreted or ignored. The result was 250 odd dead young men. 

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12867
    Sorry Vim, the result was 904 dead young men.  The Argentinian conscripts were still young men.
    98% shouting at clouds and 2% laminate flooring
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9049
    Getting away from the utter horror that is war for a minute...

    I think the badger suggestion is good, but maybe a more "Home Alone" approach could be employed.  I suggest drones full of toy cars, deployable via remote, so the enemy troops all stand on them and fall over. Would that work?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31170

    The second, complementary objective is what we bring to the table as (lets face it) a junior partner in the Pax Americana.  This is the role we have played in Kosovo, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Syria etc.  Britain to pull it's weight (and indeed exceed it) in this role, has certain exceptional capabilities for a country of our size.  One of these has always been to take on a role otherwise requiring the deployment of a US Carrier Battle Group.

    ...

    We aren't alone, we are part of NATO and if the current stand-off with Russia gets worse, or if god forbid there was a war in the Far East, we might be glad of being able to send a big well-defended warship with stealth aircraft to take part in the USA's next conflict, rather than having to deploy some troops on the ground.
    Edited your quote for clarity.

    This in a nutshell is everything that we *don’t* need or want in our “defence” capability - the ability to act as America’s  stooge in ill-advised military interference around the world.

    It has caused immense damage to our national interest, international reputation, security and economy, not to mention destabilising whole regions and leading to millions of deaths and a refugee crisis, and wasting the lives and health of British service personnel.

    The sooner we stop doing this the better, and losing the capability would be the most effective way of ensuring it.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • DeadmanDeadman Frets: 2528
    axisus said: 
    Considering that the main threats these days seem likely to be Terrorism and cyber stuff, why have we built the world's biggest and most hittable target? Seems like some kind of ludicrously expensive vanity project. By all means correct me on my naive view, I'm perfectly happy to be educationalized.

    Modernisation. Future proofing. Readiness. Call it what you will. 
    JSF on its decks with Poseidon P8 also in support will mean we're a force to be reckoned with once again. That might not be important to some people but that's because we haven't needed it yet. Hopefully we never will.
    My trading feedback is here 
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