Britain’s CVF Future Carriers: the Queen Elizabeth Class
November 21/17: Milestone The British Royal Navy will formally accept the first Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier into its fleet on December 7, following the completion of contractors’ sea trials on the vessel. The announcement was made by new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, during his first visit to the carrier on November 16. The commissioning will take place at the vessel’s home at Portsmouth, and will be inducted into service by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
Britain’s 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR) announced a big leap forward for the Royal Navy: plans to replace the current set of 3 Invincible Class 22,000t escort carriers with 2 larger, more capable Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) ships that could operate a more powerful force. These new carriers would be joint-service platforms, operating F-35B aircraft, plus helicopters and UAVs from all 3 services. Roles could include ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance), force projection and logistics support, close air support, anti-submarine/ anti-surface naval warfare, and land attack.
The scale of the CVF effort relative to Britain’s past experiences means that the program structure is rather complex. It has passed through several stages already, and is being run and conducted within an industrial alliance framework. There is also a parallel international framework, involving cooperation with France on its PA2 carrier as a derivative of the CVF design. This DID FOCUS article covers that structure and framework, ongoing developments, and the ships themselves as they move slowly through construction, and eventual fielding.
Salve, Regina: The Queen Elizabeth Class
The Future Air Wing
The CVF Carrier Program
Program Team: The Aircraft Carrier Alliance
On To Production
The CVF Program: Contracts and Key Events
2014 – 2017
2005 – 2007
CVF: Ancillary Contracts and Events
2013 – 2014
2010 – 2012
2006 – 2009
Appendix A: CVF Program Management
The Initial Roadmap
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: CVF Program
Background: Ancillary Technologies
Background: Air Wing
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