When I got in last night I noticed that all the CB02 units are now at the back of the dry dock, none are now down by the LB05 units in front of the shed. There is also a scaffolding tower now next to UB01 and a third of her protective sheeting has been removed. They seem to be really gearing up now, I think we are possibly in for another exciting week folks
Cheers for the update CJ, going to be intersesting to see what gets fitted first, although LB01 looks like it will be dropped into place by the end of the week that doesn't mean they will join it with LB02 at that point - but it would be a nice place to start joining up
It just dawned on me yesterday every other block is in the Red primer paint except for BL01 which is in the Grey i wonder why as they had to join the the two sections of LBO1 in situ so must have repainted it after the welding !.
Its too early to tell how they will compare, a QEC with a proper airgroup will be a potent unit, hopefully the Govt will look to running 18 aircraft carrier squadrons as standard and order sufficeint Aircraft to allow both carriers to be opertaional should the need arise. With two carriers available we have the greater surge than a single CdG, and with one in reserve we at least have one operational at all times, where as the CdG will be down for refits especially refuelling. i don't think the nuclear/conventional fuel issue is that great as its likely the QEC will switch to a sustainable bio-fuel form a fossil fuel, and whilst costly to operate on a day by day basis their is not the residual issue of dealing with the radioactivity (Note the laid up Resolution class in the Rosyth basin still awaiting safe disposal when we are already looking to replace their replacements !).
The key aspect will be if the french ever build thier PA2 and if it will complement CdG or as some have predicited replace it !!!, with 2 conventional carriers with Rafale then the French should be able to counter the availability issues that dog the single CdG.
Im not saying that in a derisory way the CDG did a sterling job whilst in the Libyan theatre, it's sortie rates were the best of all the allies and demonstrated the effectiveness of sea borne aviation very well indeed.
1. Charles de Gaulle is a mini-Nimitz Class CVN - Nuclear powered, Cats/Traps, proper Fleet AEW with E-2Cs, and comprehensive suite of defensive weapons.
2. Queen Elizabeth class will be a supersized-America Class LHA - IEP with GT and DGs, no-Cats/Traps, no fixed-wing AEW, most likely to regularly embark Attack and Support Helicopters (and an EMF) in addition to a dozen or so F-35Bs!
Make of that what you will...
Next big event is LB01 being lowered into the dock. It seems the lift will take place Friday, can't wait!
A fully equipped nuclear carrier with indegenous strike fighters and very effective fleet AEW makes the statement that the nation continues to sees itself as a global power that can lead operations in response to global crisis.
A large and powerful LHA that can field a mix of strike fighters, attack and support helicopters offers precisely the sort of flexility that ensures your navy will always be useful to a US led operation.
I personally lament the fact that we came very close to fielding the former, whilst also accepting that the latter is likely to prove tactically more useful for the types of operation we are mostly likely to be engaged in given the current strategic situation.
When HMS Ocean's time is up I would like to see her replaced with a proper LHD similar to the USS America (even licence built).
2. Likewise the Horizons. The MN originally intended to build four but have now had to convert a couple of FREMMs to the AAW role instead.
3. I never said France intends to take on China or Iran - the US has no intension of taking them on either! But that doesn't make the US any less a global power, either! Howeve, being able to lead an operation such as Odyssey Dawn does make you a major power, and whilst the coalition was dependant on US assistance, there is no question that France took a large chunk of the credit for politically leading the coalition.