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HMS Illustrious to be preserved?


Ohmisterporter

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According to a report made in Parliament Illustrious may be preserved if some suitable organisation stumps up the cash. ( I read between the lines a little ). Not breaching copyright here it is in the public domain.

 

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)

I can today announce our plans to preserve the legacy of the Royal Navy’s Invincible class aircraft carriers.

The three Invincible class aircraft carriers—HMS Invincible (in service July 1980), HMS Ark Royal (in service November 1985) and HMS Illustrious (in service June 1982)—served this country with great distinction having played key roles in conflicts in the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Bosnia. The last of these, HMS Illustrious, is due to retire from the Royal Navy in 2014. After that date and in recognition of the service given by these ships in protecting the UK over the last 30 years, it is our preference to see HMS Illustrious preserved intact as a lasting tribute to the service personnel who served on all three of the carriers.

In early 2014 we intend to hold an industry day to launch a competition for the innovative reuse of the ship to which interested parties will be encouraged to attend. We will invite a range of organisations, including private sector companies, charities and trusts to put forward viable proposals to ensure that HMS Illustrious remains intact and available for future private use while still offering taxpayers value for money.

HMS Ark Royal was withdrawn from service last year, following the 2010 strategic defence and security review. Retiring the ship five years earlier than planned was a difficult decision but it was the right one that, combined with her sale, has saved over £100 million. That has helped the Ministry of Defence to achieve a sustainable and balanced budget for the first time in decades.

Following a competition, we have awarded a contract to sell HMS Ark Royal to the ship recycling company Leyal for around £3 million. The recycling will be carried out at the company’s site in Turkey, the same location at which HMS Invincible was recycled.

Although a number of proposals to find an alternative use for the ship were tendered, it was decided, after extensive evaluation, that the recycling of HMS Ark Royal was the most viable option and offered the best value for money for the taxpayer. Bids received for further use were either not feasible or appropriate, or carried too much risk.

HMS Illustrious is more suitable for preservation for further non-military use and, as such, is expected to attract interest from organisations who would be able to put forward mature and viable proposals, in keeping with the role and history of the Invincible class of ships.

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The cynics suggest this is but a ploy to offset any retained public anger over the disposal of Ark Royal, especially since the MOD/Govt have shown no interest in assisting the preservation of HMS Plymouth. Preservation of Illustrious would be a horrendously expensive project, both in the immediate and longer term, that's assuming a suitable permanent berth could be found in the first instance.

One thing is for certain, the part of the statement about the Ark not being suitable for anything except scrapping is correct - her internal compartments and structure were wrecked during the stripping out process in the usual manner, just to make doubly sure she could never, ever, be used again for anything.

Whereas the Yanks decommission their ships and then place in long term lay up somewhere 'just in case', we maliciously destroy everything.

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Unfortunately I tend to agree with the No to preservation.

Edit. Classmate scrapped and stripped. funds could be used on more substantive projects. Ongoing maintenance, as stated, would be huge. Start saving up to preserve a, or the, QE class carrier.

If anything, continue to open ships up to the public at royal navy docks' open days to show current ships.

Andy

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HMS Illustrious is not "fully stripped". She is still very much operational and has been working up from Portsmouth for her autumn deployment.

 

Indeed, I believe she is running in the same role as HMS Ocean, which is more modern version of the same design.

 

This is probably a pretext for a sale ... I'm sure she'll be sold to China as a floating casino then turn up 10 years later in their active fleet ;)

 

Maybe they should preserve HMS QE ... they won't have any aircraft for her anyway!!!

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Wouldn't it be brilliant to have her preserved as a floating museum, complete with a display of naval aviation hardware on the flight deck? I'm thinking along the lines of USS Midway in San Diego harbour.

Or the USS Intrepid in New York....

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We saw her last week off Plymouth but she didn't enter the harbour. Some of the bigger USN ships that have been preserved are struggling for funds and visitors. One or two are doing well, it depends where they are sited and how well they are sold to the public. IIRC the US museum ships are mostly in private hands, there is greater reluctance to publicly fund museums over there. That said the USA has some top class museums open to the paying public. I just don't see how a carrier in preservation would be financed in the UK, when the government showed little interest in HMS Plymouth, a fairly small frigate.

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An interesting statistic is that if all the preserved ex US Navy warships were combined into an active navy of their own, then that fleet would be large enough to be the worlds 2nd largest navy, 1st being the modern US Navy of course.

Food for thought in comparison to our own pathetic efforts, especially in regard to the unmatched seafaring history the UK can claim as its own.

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IRC the US museum ships are mostly in private hands, there is greater reluctance to publicly fund museums over there. That said the USA has some top class museums open to the paying public.

 

Well, quite: http://www.si.edu/About/History :this:

 

But closer to home, for anyone interested, worth checking out: http://www.airsciences.org.uk/

 

All the best, Andy

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Sorry, my comment should have been Invincible. Too many long shifts!

I saw it before went to Turkey and it was stripped. With Ark Royal mothballed and Ocean, Albion, Bulwark and the RFA Bay class providing coverage it raises interesting questions over a carrier. Better funding keeping a harrier flying?.

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Sorry, my comment should have been Invincible. Too many long shifts!

I saw it before went to Turkey and it was stripped. With Ark Royal mothballed and Ocean, Albion, Bulwark and the RFA Bay class providing coverage it raises interesting questions over a carrier. Better funding keeping a harrier flying?.

The big problem was keeping up with spares - they stripped Invincible then the Ark to keep one ship going. Albion is also mothballed on standby till 2016. Ocean is a peculiarity with a civil hull and a warship top so to speak - designed for helicopter use or Harrier "ferry" as it doesn't have the ski jump.

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  • 1 year later...

Hopefully now a realistic prospect

 

I'd have thought on the Thames right next to HMS Belfast would be the ideal spot to gain maximum tourist coverage and upkeep - some remote dockyard is the last place she should go...........................

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Always thought that if we were to preserve a carrier HMS Hermes (should be available around 2020 by which time we might have the spare cash)would make a much better choice than an invincible

At least Hermes was once a proper angled deck fleet carrier flying conventional plane as well as her time with Harriers so would be more fitting to have a selection of planes like Buccaneers, sea vixens, Gannets and harriers etc on display Planes she actually carried in service

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I'd love to see the Illustrious preserved but it wouldn't be cheap. The one that should really have been preserved if one of the class was to become a museum was Invincible given her role in 1982 and also as lead ship of the class and pioneer of the STOVL carrier. These ships were genuinely important in their innovation as STOVL (short take off, vertical landing) carriers. This is still a controversial idea as many still dismiss it as a cut price cheapo alternative to real carriers, in a sense this is very true but it is also true that if you can't afford 40,000T+ of cat and trap carrier (or a 65,000T STOVL carrier....) then a ship like Illustrious gives you some carrier capability where the alternative is probably no capability. In 1982 the Falklands showed up both the positives and negatives of the type. Fleet air cover and air support for ground forces was painfully thin and this contributed to heavy losses, if the RN still had the old Ark Royal with Phantom's and Bucaneer's losses would have been much lower I think and I'd go further and think she could have avoided the war altogether. On the other hand it was the air cover provided by the handful of Sea Harrier's carried by Hermes and Invincible that allowed the UK to fight the war and were absolutely critical to success, so that whilst the air capability was painfully limited it was enough to make the difference between success and failure. I really would like to see Illustrius preserved if the money is found.

 

On Ocean, she is very different from the Invincible class, she is an LPH (landing platform helicopter) and her internal arrangements are set up for an amphibious support role. She is diesel powered rather than GT's, hull built to semi-commercial standards etc.

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Wouldn't it be brilliant to have her preserved as a floating museum, complete with a display of naval aviation hardware on the flight deck? I'm thinking along the lines of USS Midway in San Diego harbour.

Also the Intrepid in New York. Could be used as a wider Fleet Air Arm museum with aircraft parked on deck and in hanger. I think there is a lot of tourist potential. Got to find the right place though. Somewhere on South Coast I would think.

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Honestly, don't see the point?

 

Doesn't really represent a great period in our history, it's rather a shame that a dreadnought or full battleship wasn't preserved. It would be hugely expensive and I doubt it would ever be anything but a drain on the public purse in up-keep.

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