John Bean says
In one year from now HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s largest aircraft carrier to have been built, will be fully commissioned. HMS Prince of Wales , built to the same design will follow a year later – and will probably be mothballed. The best that can be said so far for this £6 bn project is that the work has gone to Scottish and English shipyards. The decision is finally made that American F.35 aircraft will be supplied for both carriers. They are certainly good, but again extremely expensive.
The most important issue at present is where is the Admiralty (or the Government) going to find the crew for the first carrier, let alone the two? Thirty or forty year ago the crew grading on a warship was overwhelmingly ‘Seaman’. Today ships’ crews are predominantly technical, but as far as the crew in general are concerned the most important are the ships cooks. Nothing changes there!
In November 2015 the man and woman power of the Royal Navy was just 22,626 plus 7,000 Royal Marines who are men only and should remain that way. The new Queen Elizabeth class carriers will require 700 crew to run the ship as such, plus 900 for air crew and high tech crew to service the air craft. Those responsible for finding the appropriate ship and aircraft support crew have the extra barrier of ensuring that all ‘equality’ regulations are met. I fully accept the role of women on board (except in submarines) but if among those who are not accepted there are more than a handful of women then in many cases the feminist lobby and the Greens will be making accusations of sexual discrimination. The same will apply if it is found that some of the applicants who fail are of immigrant origins, particularly if they are Moslems.
If comrade Corbyn should be Prime Minister by the time of the new carriers being commissioned, then if he is still of the same opinion as in 2012 the discrimination problem will not arise, because he said then that he would like to scrap all our armed forces.
While on the subject of the reduction of our naval strength, it does not seem to apply to the top brass
The Navy still employs 70 Commodores, 250 Captains and no less than 880 Commanders. This does not include the Admirals, Vice Admirals and rear Admirals.
Many years ago I served in the Royal Navy (volunteer, not National Service) as a radar mechanic. I still subscribe to our ship’s Former Crew Association who send me a quarterly bulletin. Here is an extract from the last bulletin.
“The frigate HMS Richmond has been on a routine 9 month deployment to the Middle East. It was diverted in mid October to be deployed off the coast of Libya to support the EU operation to break up ‘people smuggling”.
Back in early spring last year the editor also made a quick comment on the incident in the same area off Libya where Moslem Africans cut the throats of Christian African and threw them overboard.
To return to the latest bulletin:
“When on October 3rd a refugee boat sank off Greece Ahmed Almuhamed, claiming to be a Syrian, was among 69 migrants pulled from the water and saved from drowning. He travelled across Europe to Paris. To show his gratitude for being pulled from the sea, thus saving his life, he was one of those who blew himself up at the Bataclan theatre in the Paris massacre.
The latest ship’s bulletin tells me that at present we only have a total of five destroyers in operation. Four is the usual number that aircraft carriers require for protection, including today’s US, Russian and French navies.