By in Politics

A £3 billion white elephant?

I DON'T NORMALLY comment on politics but this one is too big a target to miss. This is the Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth . Costing in excess of £3 billion and assembled at the Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard in Fife from modular components built in various other places in the UK she is, at 65,000 tonnes, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy.

She was launched just a few days ago and is currently anchored off the Fife coast for final checks before proceeding into the North Sea for sea trials. It is intended that she will 'project naval power worldwide' which is all fine and dandy - every major power has such a policy for its naval forces - but the major snag is that she is not expected to be fully operational until 2026! HMS Queen Elizabeth

OK, I do realise that building, launching and equipping a major warship isn't quite the same as nipping down to your local dealer and buying a new car but isn't a delay of eight years before she can be an effective warship is a bit too long? By that time she will be in need of a major refit which would include upgrading many of her systems and that could put her in dry dock for over a year.

And it gets worse! The Queen Elizabeth has a sister ship currently under construction - the Prince of Wales - which will face the same problems before she becomes fully operational. In fact, there have been whispers that, when her construction is completed, she will immediately be mothballed until such time as she can be fully equipped to become an effective fighting vessel.

Since the Prince of Wales is likely to cost more than the £3 billion+ price tag of the Queen Elizabeth that is an awful lot of money tied up for several years before they become useful.

For the same price the Royal Navy could have had several smaller vessels which could have been commissioned quicker. The navy themselves has admitted that they don't have enough ships to do all that is asked of them so would more smaller ships which would be ready quicker not have been a better option?

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melody23 wrote on June 28, 2017, 6:16 PM

it makes no sense to me, in eight years all the technology on board will be completely obsolete!! this is why we cant afford basic things in this country anymore, they had to give these contracts out to companies so that people didn't crack up about job losses when, as you say, they could have kept those jobs operational by building several smaller ships that would actually be in use before they were obsolete! You wonder what the people in power in this country are thinking sometimes don't you?

MegL wrote on June 29, 2017, 3:02 AM

It does seem to be an awful lot of money for something that won't even be ready for a number of years.

MegL wrote on June 29, 2017, 3:04 AM

Yes, I understand the IT systems are based on Windows XP.

Kasman wrote on June 29, 2017, 1:47 PM

MegL - yes, I've heard that too. I guess we should be grateful it isn't based on the Sinclair Spectrum! emoticon :smile:

MegL wrote on June 30, 2017, 3:24 AM

I enjoyed the spectrum but waiting 5 minutes for a cassette to load or typing out 4 whole magazine pages of machine code would take too long for navigation these days. It would probably be quicker to rely on the stars and a sextant, like Captain Hornblower - used to love those books.

melody23 wrote on July 3, 2017, 4:32 PM

you couldn't make it up could you?