Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced a range of cuts to Britain’s defence ahead of the main UK budget announcements tomorrow, which are expected to issue a major reduction in spending on all government departments.
Today’s military announcement targets an 8% spending cut and centres on aircraft carriers, if which there are currently three – HMS Invincible (pennant number R05), HMS Illustrious (R06) and HMS Ark Royal (R07) and a further two under construction – HMS Prince of Wales (R08) and HMS Queen Elizabeth (R09). There is also a single dedicated “helicopter carrier”, HMS Ocean, which is classed as an amphibious assault ship and its pennant number is in a separate series – L12.
The first move will see the 1981-launched HMS Ark Royal decommissioned in the near future, bringing forward its demise from 2014 as previously planned, and announces the end of the iconic VTOL Harrier “jump-jet”.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, due in service in 2016, will just carry helicopters (and no fixed wing as previously planned), and may be itself mothballed just three years later when the Prince of Wales begins operations – the costs of cancelling it now being greater than allowing it to be built due to clauses the previous administration put into the contract. Linked to this, HMS Illustrious will carry helicopters until 2014, and will then be decommissioned and its crew transferred to the Queen Elizabeth.
The second new carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is due to enter service in 2019, and will be redesigned with a catapult and arrester-wire system. This will allow it to be dedicated to taking the carrier version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, rather than the more expensive version with short take-off and vertical landing capability. From 2017, the crew of helicopter carrier HMS Ocean will transfer to the Prince of Wales to get it ready for service, and Ocean will then be decommissioned. The Prince of Wales will only have catapult-launching facilities from 2020.
UK military spending cuts – the future of helicopters on carriers
- Shell Australia launches landmark SAR service
- Sikorsky sells Eclipse Aerospace stake – is PZL-Mielec next?
- Rock Around The Copters For Museums At Night 2015
- Mountain Village Town Council Approves Telluride Medical Center helipad
- City of Perth approves floating helipads trial on Swan River
- Uber brings helicopter rental service to Shanghai and Hangzhou
- Bell VP of Military Business becomes K-State Alumni Fellow
- East Anglian Air Ambulance celebrates arrival of their H145T2
- Despite Russian Aggression, US Apache Helicopters To Be Removed From Germany
- Liberty War Birds acquire Huey from California for restoration
- New Indian Government wants AgustaWestland back as a defence supplier
- Russian Helicopters showcase commercial models at Mexico aerospace fair
- Bristow announces FY2015Q4 Earnings Release and Conference Call Schedule
- Erickson Receives Certification as Wyvern Wingman Operator
- New Zealand CAA issue Robinson Helicopter Fleet Consultation Document
- Cuban Government visit Russian Helicopters plant in Kazan
- Russian Helicopters and CSKA Moscow will continue cooperation in 2015
- Bell reports ABACE 2015 sales of four 505s and one 407GXP
- Shimco Set for Growth in Brazil
- Conklin & de Decker Announce Aircraft Cost Evaluator Release 15.1