Bgile wrote:The French are also building new carriers (the same ones as the British except the French carriers are CATOBAR). It is a joint French/British design.
The French have E2s, which provide them with tremendously better AWACS coverage than the British Searchwater.
I thought Rafale was multi role and it's performance leaves the Harrier wanting.
AAW is not solely dependent on shipboard missiles. In fact, quite the contrary is true. Aircraft are capable of attacking incoming aircraft at a much greater range, particularly with AWACS coverage.
Correct me if I'm mistaken here, but I believe the op tempo of the current RN carrier isn't nearly as great as implied and not as many harriers, and until this exercise they were based ashore. They made a big deal of them actually showing up on the carrier. There are people in the RN forum on navweaps who are much better informed than I am, though.
France is not building any new Aircraft Carriers. Where did you get that info from? According to the French Parliament (Senate) the decision to build a second Aircraft Carrier to join CDG will be made in 2012. Also it is NOT "a joint French/British design"! The carrier is pure British design and a pure British project.
The British just presented the design to the French Navy and French Government who were looking to build a second carrier.
Its highly doubtful the French government will agree to a new carrier now as the costs are too much for a large Aircraft carrier, nuclear power and more Rafale. That’s why France had suggested to the UK to share the two new Super carriers with France and France to share CDG with the UK. UK declined the idea.
French AEW+AC is good thanks to the E-2, but it isn’t a necessity in naval warfare. Limited AEW can be performed in other means, such as helicopters.
Yes Rafale M is multi role, but only when armed for multi role ops! A typical Rafale M armed for naval combat is armed with Exocet anti ship missiles as its primary weapons, leaving room for only aprox 2 (fire and forget) MICA infrared short range air to air missiles for self defence. Much the same for the Harrier. And yes AD IS primarily given by ship launched anti air missiles at sea. Rafale M would mainly utilize its air-to-air capabilities when tackling enemy air forces in shore.
I will have to correct you there, because I have never heard of a case when the Royal Navy’s carriers have had no Naval combat Harrier squadron embarked! The only time the Carriers had no combat Harriers embarked was during the war on terror, when the Navy’s Harriers were on operations in afghan leaving Britain’s carriers embarked with only a small unit of Harriers for pilot training. When the Harriers returned from the war they resumed normal peacetime tempo aboard the Royal Navy’s Carriers.
Royal navy peacetime tempo calls for aprox 1 naval squadron of 9 Harriers and 4 helicopters (AEW etc). Rising to 16-18 Harriers and 4-6 helicopters during wartime.
(1 NS consists 9 x Harriers)
French navy peacetime tempo calls for 8 Rafale M, 5 Super Etendards, 1 E-2 (AEW+AC) and 4 helicopters. Rising to 12 Rafale*, 20 Super Etendards, 2 E-2 and 4 helicopters during wartime.
(1 squadron of Rafale consists 12 x Rafale, 1 squadron of Super Etendards consists 10 x Super Etendards)
* As of 2010 The French Navy operates only 1 Frontline rafale squadron and 1 Training (reserve) squadron. In future when the Super Etendards are fully replaced by Rafale CDG will have a wartime load of 26 rafale.