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November 13, 2007

Egg shells armed with hammers


With the 2014 commissioning of the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales in 2016, the Royal Navy is relearning big deck carrier operations.

As officials in London prepared to approve construction of two 65,000-metric-ton aircraft carriers, one of Britain’s two existing flattops was off the U.S. coast for a refresher course in big-deck carrier operations.

“Although we invented carrier operations, we have lost a lot of the knowledge needed to run big decks, and we are relearning it from countries like America and France,” said Lt. Jon Llewellyn, flight deck officer on the HMS Illustrious.

The Royal Navy last operated a big deck in 1978, when it retired the 54,000-ton HMS Ark Royal and its 50-jet air wing. Since then, the British fleet has flown 20-aircraft groups of Harriers and helicopters from three 22,500-ton Invincible-class ships.

The Flea is a big fan of carriers - the bigger, the better - but an even bigger fan of submarines. HMCS Cornerbrook, for example. That is HMS Illustrious* in her cross-hairs above. A Defense Review article arguing the vulnerability of supercarriers and, by extension, of the might of the United States Navy is worth revisiting. The comments section to this Rantburg aircraft carrier post are also worth a look; from whence the source of my tag-line and for an excellent question: "Does somebody have the link to the invulnerable weapons systems list?"

* NATO’s High Readiness Maritime Strike Carrier, now operating with a United States Marine Corps Harrier wing. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force cannot scrape together enough aircraft between them to do the job. Have we learned nothing from Battlestar Galactica?

Update: Damn the BBC.

Here's an example of the steady stream of bias that pours daily from the BBC. Saturday's From Our Own Correspondent had an article on an American destroyer off Mombasa that was aimed solely at discrediting and mocking America. Unless, of course, the writer intended to praise America when he wrote, "Wicked imperialists like to pick the best spots for themselves."

The BBC: Your license fee supporting twenty-first century pirates. Real pirates not Johnny Depp pirates.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 13, 2007 07:04 AM


Johnny Depp isn't a real pirate?

That would mean that Disney lied to me.

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2007 09:38 AM

Your not supposed to mention the invulnerable-ay eapons-way ist-lay.

Didn't you get the emo-may?

Posted by: OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2007 11:51 AM

My understanding is that it was destroyers (and light cruisers) who earned the "eggshells + hammers" sobriquet. These classes carried no armour to protect themselves from capital ships, but they did have torpedoes, which could seriously damage (and sink) even the hardiest battleship.

But I think the description suits carriers just as well, considering that they are big vulnerable targets full of fuel and munitions.

Clearly the solution is to develop a submarine aircraft carrier

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2007 06:17 PM