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The advantages and disadvantages of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier


The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy which are the central components of the UK Carrier Strike Group. The lead ship is HMS Queen Elizabeth and The second, HMS Prince of Wales.

Today we will talk to you about few issues about the Queen Elizabeth class. As we all know, the proudest warships of the Royal Navy are the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. The first Elizabeth aircraft carrier has been in service for 3 years, and the other Prince of Wales is still in the process of testing.

The Elizabeth Female Class aircraft carrier has a maximum displacement of 72,000 tons and is currently the largest conventionally powered aircraft carrier in service. Its displacement is second only to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the US Navy. It can be said that the British military industry is still very powerful in building such a huge ship. What is even more weird is that such an aircraft carrier with a displacement of up to 72,000 tons does not use catapults and arresting cables, which is also very rare in the history of aircraft carriers in the world.

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When it comes to aircraft carriers, the main concern is the size. The Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is 280 meters long, 73 meters wide, and has a draft of 11 meters. There are 9 floors below the flight deck. This size is much larger than that of the French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle nuclear aircraft carrier.

The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier uses a hybrid capacity system. The main power is 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternator for Rolls-Royce ships, and there are four 10MW diesel engines. This hybrid system can ensure that the maximum speed of an aircraft carrier reaches 32 knots. What is the concept of 32 knots? Simply put, it is equivalent to 59 km/h on land, which means that the maximum speed is higher than that of a car that everyone usually drives in the city. quick. Faster speed is very important in wartime. The Royal Navy sees this very well.

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The Elizabeth Female class aircraft carrier has a total of 1,600 personnel on board. Compared with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the US Navy, it can be seen that the degree of automation is still very high. There are several reasons why there are so few people, first of all, The displacement of the Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is slightly smaller, and the scale of the carrier aircraft is also much smaller. In addition, the way fighters take off and land is different, and the number of maintenance personnel required is also much smaller. As for now this method of take-off and landing is, to be precise, compared with countries without aircraft carriers, the advantages are very obvious. However, compared with the US Navy’s large nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the gap in combat effectiveness is obvious.

Regarding how many F-35B stealth fighters can be deployed on the British Navy’s Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, from the public pictures of the British Ministry of Defense, it can be seen that there are 17 F-35B stealth fighters on the aircraft carrier’s deck. There are 15 F-35B stealth fighters in the picture below. But recently, 18 F-35B stealth fighters were deployed on the USS Elizabeth aircraft carrier operating on the western side of the Pacific Ocean, including those from the Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps on loan. Because the F-35B stealth fighter of the Royal Navy is shared by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. It is impossible for the British government to deploy all F-35B stealth fighters to aircraft carriers, so the Royal Navy has to rely on stealth fighters from the US Marine Corps.

From this we can see the plight of the Royal Navy. As early as 10 years ago, the British government decided to import 138 F-35B stealth fighters from the United States. However, due to domestic financial reasons, the order for these 138 F-35Bs may be reduced. The British government plans to use the money saved to develop its own sixth-generation machine.

F-35B fighter aircraft on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth
F-35B fighter aircraft on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth

From the above picture, you can see that even after 20 aircraft loaded there is so much space left on the Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, which shows that the Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier can also accommodate more F-35B stealth fighters. It is said that the standard configuration of the Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is to deploy 24 F-35B stealth fighter aircraft, and up to 36 F-35B stealth fighter aircraft can be deployed, Plus AW101 early warning helicopters, AH-64 Apache gunships, CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters, and some anti-submarine helicopters.

So what is the main problem of the British Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier? there are two main points. First, due to the different take-off and landing methods, the F-35B stealth fighter has an average dispatch rate and combat radius; and the lack of ships Carrying fixed-wing early warning aircraft, when far away from the mainland, the battlefield perception ability of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is also average. This point cannot be solved for the Royal Navy and the British military industry. The ideal state can only turn to the maritime combat system of another superpower.

It can be said that the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier has its good points, but it also has its fatal shortcomings. Finally, talk to you about an interesting place. As we all know, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier has two elevators, and some details of the elevators can be seen in the picture.

The carrier-based fighter of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is the F-35B stealth fighter produced by Lockheed Martin. The wingspan of this fighter is only 10.7 meters, which is the same as the wingspan of the F-35A stealth fighter of the U.S. Air Force. The wingspan of this size has a very big advantage, that is, there is no need to fold the wings when working on an aircraft carrier. In contrast, many heavy carrier-based fighters require folding wings.

Elevator of Queen elizabeth class aircraft carrier
Elevator of Queen elizabeth class aircraft carrier

It can be seen from the picture that the elevator of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier can carry two F-35B stealth fighters at the same time during operation. The design of this point is still very good. It can be seen that although the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier has only two elevators, the overall combat effectiveness is still quite good.

In contrast, the Indian Navy’s current aircraft carrier Chaoriwang and the first domestic aircraft carrier that has just begun trial voyages mainly consider the Russian-made MiG-29K fighter jets in the elevator design, and can only carry one at a time. Such a design pitted the Indian Navy. At present, the Indian Navy wants to introduce more advanced fixed-wing fighters TEDBF for these two aircraft carriers, which is currently under development. Because of this elevator, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jet, Rafale M, F-35C, Su-33 and other advanced models may not be shipped. But if you compared the size and tonnage then INS Vikrant is impressive and can carry equal amount of aircraft as Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier.

INS Vikrant aircraft carrier
INS Vikrant aircraft carrier

In contrast, the British military industry still has a set of design and manufacturing. In the design of the lift, the British military industry is much stronger than the Indian military industry.

The knowledge about the British Royal Navy’s Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is shared here. You can see the overall design of this aircraft carrier, especially the number of carrier aircraft, and some details are handled very well. But compared to traditional aircraft carriers, its shortcomings are also obvious.


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