Royal Navy

Why aren't the new Royal Navy aircraft carriers nuclear powered and if they cost as much as Nimitz class carriers why are they not equally as big?

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2011-09-13 22:18:27

God knows, i doesn't make any sense, the two new CLV future

carriers of the royal navy individually cost more than a typical

nimitz class supercarrier, and yet they have no nuclear power and

carry half as many planes. Maybe things are just more expensive to

build in the U.K. Idea!!, scrap the CLV and buy two nimitz class

carriers new or old.


Designing and building new aircraft carriers is expensive.

That's why few countries build them. The design costs are spread

among two UK carriers but among many Nimitz class carriers making

the UK ones appear more expensive. We could buy a couple of US

carriers instead but then we would lose carrier building

capabilities in our own shipyards. That's a strategically bad idea.

In addition, the Government gets much of the money back anyway via

taxes, both personal and corporate.

The airwing may be a lot smaller, but would the RN have the

money for 200 aircraft anyway? Or even need that many? Not to

mention the additional pilots, crew numbers etc etc.

The new carriers are not nuclear powered because we don't need

them to be. With bases throughout the world fuel supply is not an

issue. The expense is not justified. The existing carriers are

conventionally powered and that's never been an problem. The only

time it would matter is if the bases fall. In those circumstances,

it would be a world war and likely go nuclear rendering the

carriers pointless in any case.

On an additional note, the Royal Navy has suffered in recent

years from cutbacks in funding from the MoD. While the UK's new CLV

carriers will be second in the world only to the US Nimitz class,

the RN's funding shortages make the uneconomical cost of building

these new carriers evenmore unfeasable. Also, since they cost such

a significant amount of government money, why not shell out the

extra money and make the carriers nuclear powered anyway? After

all, the Royal Navy already has other nuclear powered vessels in

its fleet.


Comparing these new carriers with the Nimitz class of carrier is

not a valid comparison. The Nimitz was laid down in 1968 and

commissioned in 1975. Yes they have been upgraded to an extent, as

new ones have been built, but because of the original design there

are limitations to the extent of upgrading possible or practical.

Comparing these two very different classes of carrier is like

comparing a slingshot to a rifle.

A more accurate comparison would be the class of carrier being

developed and built at the moment, like ours, to eventually replace

the Nimitz class, the first of which will enter service in 2015 to

replace the Enterprise. The Gerald R. Ford class of carrier was

estimated in the last report to cost $14 billion. Just over twice

the last estimate for ours.

As for the nuclear question: In addition to that which was

written above about our not needing a nuclear powered surface fleet

there is a great saving involved. The first of the Nimitz class

will be replaced by the 2nd Gerald R. Ford class in 2025. At which

point the Nimitz will be de-commissioned and is estimated to cost

from $750 to $900 million to do so. This compares with an estimate

of $53 million for a conventionally powered carrier.

The value of air supremacy in a defensive or offensive role over

land or at sea, for which these wings would contribute to all four

roles cannot be over-emphasised, and I believe, despite the cost,

represent good value for money. I believe the security these

carriers could provide outweighs for example the comparible money

being spent for the Olympics. For the first time in over half a

century we may have new carriers that could afford to send an

effective flight forward while leaving enough behind for defence,

very unlike how our current class of carrier, along with Hermes

operated in the Falklands conflict.

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