Scotland having to pay millions for another weapon that doesn’t defend you because you have to defend it

By stewartb:

Cost to Scotland of global ‘power projection’ – a blank cheque!

Paying anything is too much for what you don’t need!

The National Audit Office (NAO) has just published (26 June, 2020) a report on the UK Ministry of Defence and its ‘Carrier Strike – Preparing for deployment’ programme.

The NAO states: “In this report, we examine how the Department has managed the programme since 2017 and how it is addressing the risks towards achieving the full capabilities of a carrier strike group.”


The present article follows on from recent TuSC alerts regarding Westminster government cost over-runs and mismanagement that cost Scotland’s tax payers money and for items of spend that Scotland doesn’t need nor want.



The NAO report describes the UK’s ‘Carrier Strike’ in the following terms: it “provides the ability to launch fixed-wing aircraft from a ship to undertake a range of military tasks. It is central to the government’s plans for the country’s armed forces and the first step towards Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP), which is the government’s ambition to be able to respond to conflicts and support humanitarian relief efforts anywhere in the world at short notice. It intends Carrier Strike to be interoperable with NATO allies. The UK has been without such a capability since 2010, when the Ministry of Defence (the Department) retired the Harrier aircraft that had operated from its Invincible Class aircraft carriers.” (with my emphasis)

Carrier Strike is based around two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers – the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy – together with Lightning II jets, which are being bought through the United States (US) Department of Defense’s international programme. The Department is also buying a new airborne radar system, Crowsnest, to help protect a carrier strike group. Depending on the type of deployment, the carriers will be accompanied by at least one destroyer, an anti-submarine warfare frigate, and ships for support and resupply. This all adds up!

Costs according to the NAO

£6.4bn: forecast build costs of two new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, £193 million (3%) above the revised budget.

£6.0bn: expenditure to date on new Lightning II jets, out of an approved project budget of £10.5 billion.

But here’s the ‘good’ bit!

Not forecast: the Ministry of Defence has not estimated the full future costs of Carrier Strike.

More revelations from the NAO

“The Crowsnest airborne radar system will provide a crucial element of protection for a carrier strike group, .… The Department did not oversee its contract with Lockheed Martin effectively and, despite earlier problems on the project, neither was aware of the sub-contractor’s lack of progress until it was too late to meet the target delivery date.”

“The Department has not yet made funding available for enough Lightning II jets to sustain Carrier Strike operations over its life. From 2015, its intention has been to buy 138 Lightning II jets, which will sustain Carrier Strike operations to the 2060s. The Department initially ordered 48 jets but has not yet committed to buying any more.

“.. the Department has only one ship able to resupply a carrier group, which slows the tempo and reach at which this can be done. It has long been aware that this will restrict the operational freedom of Carrier Strike but has not yet developed a solution.”  And then this: “… this will delay the introduction of new ships by between 18 and 36 months, making it uncertain the first new ship will be operational before the existing support ship leaves service in 2028.”

This does seem just bizarre: “The Department has still not provided the necessary funding for logistics projects and munitions. We highlighted the importance of these requirements in our 2017 report, but the Department still does not have funding to develop a long-term capability to move people and goods, including Lightning II parts, to or within a carrier group. Nor has it developed a stockpile strategy capable of supporting CEPP, or identified the consequent funding requirements.

“The aircraft carriers have a 50-year lifespan but many capabilities in a carrier strike group will retire before then. However, the Department has not established a consolidated view of the enhancements that are needed to continue to develop Carrier Strike’s capabilities, or their cost. It will need to make funding decisions in the next 10 years, such as deciding how to replace or extend Merlin helicopters, which are due to go out of service in 2030. These decisions will create added funding pressures at a time when the Equipment Plan is already unaffordable.

“Given the strategic importance of Carrier Strike, we would expect the Department to develop a clear view of support and operating costs. It estimated the additional costs of Carrier Strike in 2017, but this did not include all elements of a carrier strike group.

“The Department may not have made sufficient provision in later years’ budgets to reflect the full costs of operating Carrier Strike. Failure to make realistic cost estimates creates a risk that the Department will face increased financial pressure in the future, perpetuating the cycle of short-term decision-making that we have seen in our reports on the Equipment Plan.”

“ … there is a risk that budget provisions may not cover all of Carrier Strike’s future needs; for instance, there are doubts that budgets for future years will be sufficient to fund routine deployments and keep both carriers ready for use at short notice.”

To sum up

Once again Scottish taxpayers:

  • have already contributed their financial share of a costly project – we could have invested in useful naval defences for Scotland
    • pursued by a Tory government a majority in Scotland didn’t vote for
    • aimed at achieving a military ambition that has no relevance to a country like Scotland
    • the final costs of which to the Scottish taxpayer remains unknown
    • all part of a programme of dubious financial and operational management; and
    • whose military capability at the end of the day remains in doubt even in its own terms

Am I missing something?

14 thoughts on “Scotland having to pay millions for another weapon that doesn’t defend you because you have to defend it

  1. I believe it was Broon who initiated this program based on the fact that an election was in the offing and he needed something to keep the restless natives in Fife voting Labour.
    Apart from the enormous costs of these two ships,there is the question of future warfare.
    The days of sending gun boats to support Westminster’s theft of resources from other countries is long over.
    The trend in military thinking is to use drones,aerial and aquatic which are cheaper to produce and less easy to defend against.
    These two ships probably wouldn’t survive very long in a future conflict against drone swarms etc.
    So,all in all,just another disaster from the incompetent London regime that we have become accustomed to who seem to specialise in spending more bucks for your bang than just about anyone else on the planet.
    Might they come in handy as hospital ships for say,coping with a pandemic?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In 2014, the thuggish Mr Ian Davidson, at the time MP for the Govan area, with the connivance of his cronies in the Joint Shop Stewards Committee at the shipyard, demanded that HM Government make the placing of the order for the type of frigates mentioned be conditional on Scotland voting NO.

    If Scotland voted YES, then, because the Government of the UK – of which Scotland is a part – does not place such construction contracts with “foreign” yards, such contracts would cease to be placed in Scotland. This ignored the fact that an independent Scotland would have a right to a proper share of naval resources after independence. Secondly, Govan and Scotstoun are the only yards in the UK, which are capable of building such vessels, so, where would rUK place future orders?

    After voting NO, there was the ‘union dividend’ of the placing of a substantial order, but, with ‘austerity’, this has substantially been reduced.

    No wonder the people of Govan gave this arsehole his jitters in 2015.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh the final cost is far from over yet
      If these 2 carriers are ever to become fully functional as intended ( but such is impossible see my other post on China )
      But in order to complete the task
      At least 1 new supply vessel reqd
      At least 1 new Hunter killer nuke sub
      At least 1 new anti surface warship
      At least 1 new anti submarine warship
      Along with the relentless ever spiralling costs of the F35 stealth fighter/bomber
      At least a squadron of mine sweepers
      So costs to come at least £ 18 billion
      So lets put these 2 white elephants into
      Some context
      Harold Wilson labour government and after the keel being laid and 2 new carriers (half the size of these 2 ) were ordered
      And he was presented upon request the Final costs he cancelled immediately
      And as a result The MOD asking whitehall
      For monies for such future projects the use of the words Aircraft Carrier was banned from use in all MOD documents in fwd.planning
      Then a clever chappie came up with calling the new R22 class for design and order we ended up with HMS Invinvible &
      How you might ask did they ever convince Whitehall to approve
      Simple they were never ever referred to As Carriers until launch
      And were actually classified as R22 Through Deck Cruisers so they could outwit the fiscal mandarins in Whitehall
      Till it was fait accompli
      So what has the 2 carriers led to today in defence terms
      1.Mod in talks with Germany for procuring upgrade of Leopard 2 tanks
      Britain can no longer manufacture such
      Our current Challenger 2 tanks completely outdated and useless today
      The And i kid you not The Swiss Army not only has the most up to date German Leopards but has more of such than we have of our old 1970,s designed Challengers
      So every time you hear Westminster,s
      Clarion call of having in their precious Union the Best defence forces in the World
      That it is pure Coital Bovine Scatology
      Dont believe me
      Not my words but those of The recently retired Admiral of the Fleet
      Britain has only 5 surface ships currently fit for purpose due to budget mis management,key highly skilled crew shortages and that of vital equipment and parts
      So much so we can no longer protect our shores and maritime borders far less take them to wars in foreign waters
      And if i was still in my post i would refuse point blank to order such ships to war as it would be suicidal and i would never ever condemn men under my command to a certain death
      Now how is that for the Broad Shoulder of the Precious Union
      Me thinks those shoulders could not carry a sack of feathers
      Ah but such are the delusions of a collapsing Empire well into its death throes
      Know thy Foe
      They are paper tigers


  3. The only bit that’s missing is that this is not being shouted from the roof tops by Scottish politicians, who, while they have a mass of information like this to use, they seem strangely reluctant to deploy it.
    That in part explains why the Scottish population aren’t scrambling to be free of the Westminster buffoons.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You ask if you missing something and i believe I posted what follows a month or so ago
    Firstly the MOD were aware of what follows as work began on the 2 carriers

    China is NOT a aggressive Nation.Read their history and you will soon find out that they will defend themselves to the hilt
    And mainly in the form of deterrence
    Look at the Great Wall to make sure the Mongol hordes would never again over run them
    When Obama reconfigured completely US defence strategy it was to deal with what they perceived as the main threat to their hegemony and China was the big future threat
    So and as their own carrier fleet reqd.renewal but a severe lack of
    Funds to do so a backdoor deal was done with UK for us to build 2 new carriers, and a very bad deal it has turned out to be
    However the deal was at least 1 of the carriers would be deployed
    Upon call to the Sth. China sea by US
    responses to China as they continue to
    Build military bases on the Islands in S.China seas
    Initially China had plans for 22 carriers of their own
    But then had a brain wave,which was after a comprehensive study
    Of WW2 they came to realize that it was not about building carriers
    But was sinking them
    How because Japan before and during WW2 had 28 carriers
    But finished with only 1 no.
    And as a result converted ICBM missiles to conventional warheads to carry
    9 tonnes of high explosives instead of nuclear and vastly improved their accuracy
    To less than 1metre
    But as far as US & UK carriers concerned the Chinese missiles have
    A impact speed of 4800 mph and we have no defence against such
    So our carriers are utterly useless in conflict with China and that is so
    Any where upon the Globe
    Furthermore China now has a very advanced radar that renders the F35 stealth fighter for our carriers
    Useless because their radar can now see them despite their stealth
    And they have now ready to deploy their own stealth fighter bomber
    And produced in large a fraction of the very troubled hideiously expensive F35
    Not only all that but creating a rapid response amphibious assault group
    In less than 6 months from concept
    To commission they designed built launched sea trialled and equipped a 48 k
    Tonne assault carrier
    Along with 12 stealth fighters,advanced radar as prev..described,12 attack helicopters,24 main Battle Tanks and
    1880 special forces
    What does that represent
    Well if the US overnight and by suprise
    Takes over 1 of China,s military Islands in S.China sea then they require to do so with massive resources as this Amphibious assault ship can dislodge 60000 occupying forces
    A excellent example of Chinese deterence
    Their message just like the Great Wall
    Is one of Come on thenTry it
    Their us no doubt whatsoever that China is now and for once and all and all Humanity bringing to a end of US
    Military Hegemony along with a economic war that will also end the power of the $
    Europe is the only sensible ally now in exercising some form of sense and control
    As the tectonic plates of Geo Political forces rapidly re align
    All proving the Utter stupidity of Little England with their delusional exceptional ism with their Brexit
    They have put what little money they have well and truly on the wrong horse
    And that is another massive reason and need for Scottish Independence
    I could go on and on all day
    But as far as UK & US
    And just as M.Caine sung in the film Little Voice

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes i agree
        Putin openly invites any to attack
        Warning them that The Nazis thought they could and get away with it
        And you all know how their plan ended up for them do you not
        But The west always makes out that we are in dire danger from them
        Just like China Russia has been ultra smart in defence matters
        E.G.Their latest Main Battle Tank
        Has infra red targeting, computer controlled from a squadron lead tank.
        Auto load and fire Repeat to another target in millie second
        Super hypersonic missiles in lieu of conventional shells
        Quote From head of Nato command
        We cannot possibly engage with this formidable piece of hardware with our current and new generation of main battle tanks
        It would be slaughter
        Once More a fine example of Deterrence
        And remember when BOJO as foreign secretary invited us to demo outside Russian Embassy after Novichok
        Quote from Senior Russian defence planner in response
        Brittania rules the waves
        Quite the reverse the waves rule Brittania
        And I assure you that in matters of defence planning you now are a irrelevance and no longer figure in our strategic procurement and planning
        But did any MSM report upon the Russian response
        No coconut prize for correct answer


    1. Premieroneuk

      We don’t / can’t make battle tanks, or equip the carriers with planes. . . . . We cant even make bullets since Bishopton was closed down. As I remember the UK was going to get their ammo from Sweden?


  5. I believe when Gavin Williamson was Defence Minister he proposed sending a carrier off to the Yellow sea to “show who is boss”.
    Of course, being a fireplace salesman, he never thought this nonsense up on his ownsome. When you have many more Admirals than ships, they fight like rats to show they are still relevant. I expect one of them, egged on by Captain Elmer J Chickenshack111 of Pensacola, thought this up.
    A really good idea, if you want a steel reef to breed fish.
    The Chinese have hypersonic missiles, from which there is no defence, even if our carriers HAD a defence flotilla. Which they don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When you look at England alone and see its limitations it beggars belief how arrogant England is , they are like the wee boy in the playground going around hitting people and annoying people just hoping that nobody decides to call their bluff and fight back.
    Once scotland is independent it will be the end of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines and the end of warring around the globe.
    Im sick of all this nonsense.
    Come on people vote for scottish independence bring england down to size and save the world from their idiotic attitudes

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tis England that needs saving from itself now
      I fear when we depart there is a excellent chance of open civil war there
      That is how bad things are and such problems will become untenable for the powerful elite to control
      any longer
      History tells you collapsing Empires are not pretty things always one helluva mess
      And when their leaders start spouting words like Empire 2 Make us great again
      World class we shall defeat etc etc
      Then the end indeed is nigh and ominously upon them now


  7. It’s difficult to argue against the UK being world class in one aspect of military development- the spending. They may be rubbish at planning and project management, but they are very good at spending what money they have and what they can borrow.

    In fact, they are so good at spending that you could not be blamed for thinking that spending is their main objective, especially when the money is going to their mates and to those they want to impress. Perhaps cost overruns are seen as a good thing?

    No doubt they can scrape money together by cutting some other aspect of social care. Is this a government concerned for its people, or for anything other than self-enrichment?


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