WHILE on holiday in Fife’s East Neuk last week I gazed out from the sea wall at the bottom of the garden and spotted what I took to be the latest sections of aircraft carrier making their way up the Firth to their assembly yard at Rosyth. But will there ever be aircraft to be flown off them? Readers from my Herald days may recall a recent piece about how the US F-35 fighter was still considered, to coin the military slang, FUBAR, politely rendered as fouled-up beyond all recognition, a flying turkey which at $400 billion and rising has cost twice the bill to put humans on the moon.
Some aviation experts believe the entire programme could be written off, which is a shame for UK carriers designed to fly only that aircraft.
The slices of the Prince of Wales we watched passing Anstruther, once assembled, will be mothballed and possibly sold off. Sister ship the Queen Elizabeth is now on sea trials and one can only hope these tests are going better than those of the planes destined to accelerate off her decks.
One recent amusing development saw slim pilots banned from flying the plane. That is not actually a joke. The complex helmet that twins with the jet’s avionics is so heavy it is a health hazard for the fine-boned.
And now this: The very first act of Premier-elect Justin Trudeau of Canada has been to cancel his country’s contract to buy a fleet of the simpler, land-based variant of the stealth fighters. Australia is already alarmed by this, fearing it could push up unit costs of the $24 billion contract it is already committed to. Dominoes anyone?
Then what will Britannia do with its prestigious maritime platforms? Immigration detention hulks might be exemplify the age.

5 thoughts on “Prospect of carrier with no aircraft looms larger

    1. I understand we ruled out that option when we decided to opt only for the VSTL (very short take-off and landing) design for the carriers — essentially a “ski jump” rather than a “catapult” which is why we are stuck with the US plane come what may.

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