The Policy (or Grand Strategic) decisions of
the New Chapter were that:
HMG should be ready and willing to
deploy significant military forces overseas to act against international
terrorist organisations when non-military tools fail to achieve
HMG can use military force both against
international terrorist organisations and supporting states.
HMG can use military force for any
or all of prevention, deterrence, coercion, disruption and destruction.
Military Strategic Decisions
The Military Strategic decisions were that:
The MoD should adjust the posture
and capabilities of the Armed Forces to make them better able
to conduct counter-terrorist operations.
The MoD should be capable of mounting
military operations further a field than the SDR core regions
of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Gulf, and with only limited
support from local infrastructure.
The MoD should have sufficient critical
enabling capabilities to support the anticipated level of concurrency.
The MoD should aim to achieve knowledge
superiority over international terrorist organisations.
The MoD should be ready to counter
the use of CBRN methods by terrorists.
The Capability decisions flowed from the Policy
and Military Strategic decisions. They identified 10 Areas for
Improvement as follows:
Air defence of the United
Kingdom, to protect against attacks and threats by means of renegade
Maintenance of the maritime integrity
of the United Kingdom, to protect against attacks and threats
by means of renegade shipping.
Availability and quality of military
capability in support of the civil authorities, to respond to
civil contingencies in the United Kingdom.
Resilience of information
infrastructure and high-level military headquarters, to protect
against attacks which would inhibit the effective command and
control of Armed Forces operations.
Precision of control, to improve
and accelerate the process of converting raw data into actionable
intelligence in the hands of decision-makers and theatre commanders.
Precision of application of force,
to strike the right targets hard with a minimum of unintended
casualties and accidental damage.
Rapidity of effect to create
forces capable of more rapid deployment with improved mobility
Force protection to counter
threats which inhibit the freedom of operation of deployed forces.
Critical assets for concurrency.
Overseas infrastructure and support
Under the CVF project, we will procure two large
aircraft carriers to replace the three Invincible-class carriers
from around 2012. These carriers will operate the STOVL variant
of the Joint Strike Fighter, the Maritime Airborne Surveillance
and Control (MASC) capability and other rotary wing aircraft in
a variety of roles.
Competitive contracts for the CVF Assessment
Phase were awarded in November 1999 to BAe Land and Sea Systems
(now BAE SYSTEMS) and Thomson-CSF (now Thales Naval Ltd). As was
announced on 30 January 2003, we now envisage taking the project
through an alliance approach, with BAE SYSTEMS acting as the Prime
Contractor and Thales taking a major role as the Key Supplier.
The Ministry of Defence will also take up a formal role in the
alliance. The MoD is currently negotiating with the two companies
on establishing the alliance structure. A move into the next phase
of the project is expected in May.
The Strategic Defence Review (SDR) concluded
that the ability to deploy offensive air power will be central
to future force projection operations, and that aircraft carriers
can provide valuable flexibility in a range of operational circumstances.
They can also offer a coercive presence, which may forestall the
need for war fighting. There is an increasing likelihood of future
operations being conducted by forces far from their home bases.
In such operations, host-nation support, including access to suitable
air bases, cannot be guaranteed, particularly during an evolving
regional crisis or the early stages of a conflict.
The SDR concluded that the three INVINCIBLE-class
carriers should be replaced with a new class of larger and more
capable carriers, known as the Carrier Vessel Future (CVF) class.
The objective is for these ships to support an increased emphasis
on offensive air operations and force projection as a central
component of joint maritime operations. As such, it is intended
that CVF will operate the STOVL variant of the F35 Joint Strike
Fighter (JSF), the Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control
(MASC) capability and other rotary wing aircraft from all three
services in a variety of roles. The SDR also saw advantage in
future carriers being capable of carrying more fixed-wing aircraft
than the INVINCIBLE class vessels, in order to be able to contribute
more effectively to the support of operations on land and at sea.
Decisions on trade-offs between cost and capability
and time and capability will be finalised during the third and
final stage of CVF Assessment.
We shall procure two large carriers, each capable
of carrying up to about 48 aircraft. The vessels are likely to
be in the region of 60,000 tonnes.
Strategic Defence Review
The SDR assessed the requirement for aircraft
carriers within the overall requirement for an offensive air capability.
It concluded that "there is . . . a continuing need for Britain
to have the capability offered by aircraft carriers" and
the emphasis for replacement carriers should be on "increased
offensive air power, and an ability to operate the largest possible
range of aircraft in the widest possible range of roles"
(The Strategic Defence Review, Supporting Essays, pages 6-6 to
6-8). These conclusions were endorsed by the New Chapter work
The CVF will deploy offensive air power in support
of the full spectrum of future operations, including force projection,
as a central component of the maritime contribution to joint operations.
Equipment to be Replaced and In-Service Date
The planned out of service dates for HMS INVINCIBLE,
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, and HMS ARK ROYAL are 2010, 2012, and 2015 respectively.
The first CVF is scheduled to enter operational service in 2012
and the second in 2015.
The CVF procurement strategy is based on competition
and prime contractorship, with clear and unambiguous output requirement
The first stage of the Assessment Phase involved
the examination of carrier design options and helped inform the
UK's decision, in January 2001, to select JSF as the aircraft
with the best potential to meet the JCA requirement. The remainder
of Stage 1 then focused on vessels capable of supporting JSF.
This stage of Assessment was completed in June 2001.
Stage 2 of the Assessment Phase ran from November
2001 to November 2002, during which time the competing consortia
concentrated on refining their designs. For much of this stage,
a twin-track approach was followed looking at designs capable
of supporting the two variants of JSF under consideration for
the JCA role; namely a conventional CV carrier, utilising catapults
and arrestor gear, and a STOVL design, fitted with a ramp and
optimised for STOVL aircraft operations. When the decision was
announced on 30 September 2002 to proceed with the STOVL variant
of JSF, it was concluded that, in the interests of flexibility,
value for money and maximising our investment over the whole of
its service life, the carrier should be built to an innovative
adaptable design. This will be CV based but modified to operate
STOVL aircraft in the short to medium term whilst retaining the
ability to be adapted to operate other aircraft types after the
JSF leaves service.
During Stage 2, the Department continuously
assessed the two consortia's work in order to provide a firm factual
basis for the selection of the preferred prime contractor in early
2003. The evidence from the Continuous Assessment process confirmed
that, in order for the carriers to enter service on time, both
companies would need to augment substantially their available
resources to achieve the necessary maturity before manufacturing
could begin. Our detailed analysis showed that each company has
significant strengths. BAE SYSTEMS displayed a good understanding
of the project's complexities in its project management and prime
contracting, and had developed a good relationship with all the
key shipyards. The company also demonstrated the skills that are
necessary to integrate the different systems into an effective
warship. Thales UK provided an innovative design that is flexible
enough to meet our needs and has strengths in a number of key
areas, including weapon and defence systems and the interface
between the ship, aircraft and flight deck operations.
It was this evidence that led us to the conclusion
that, to deliver value for money, provide the best capability
and significantly reduce risk to the programme, we needed to exploit
all the strengths of both companies. An alliance approach appeared
to offer the best means of bringing together the necessary resources
and expertise to deliver the programme. We envisage that this
alliance will be led by BAE SYSTEMS as the preferred prime contractor,
with responsibility for project and shipbuilding management. Thales
UK will assume a major role as key supplier to produce design
solutions. The Ministry of Defence will also take up a formal
role in the alliance. The precise details of the alliance arrangement
are now being discussed and agreed between the two companies and
the MoD. They will be based on all parties working together, as
a single team to deliver the capability to time and cost. The
MoD's role will include ensuring the availability of other assets
for which we are rightly responsible, such as suitably trained
manpower and the JSF aircraft, during the design and build phase.
It is anticipated that the alliance will formally
start in the third and final stage of assessment in May and that
this will take the programme through to the award of a Demonstration
and Manufacture (D&M) contract early in 2004. In order to
avoid any delays to the programme, both companies are continuing
to progress key elements of assessment phase activity ahead of
the formal commencement of Alliance working.
The Demonstration element of the D&M phase
will initially continue design and risk reduction work from the
Assessment Phase, the intention being to achieve the highest possible
level of design maturity before construction begins. The planned
In-Service Dates of the two carriers remain unchanged at 2012
Alternative Acquisition Options
During the first stage of Assessment, a wide
range of carrier and aircraft options were considered, including
conventional take-off and landing, short take off and vertical
landing, and short take off, but with arrested recovery. The costs
of extending the lives of the three existing carriers by 10 years
was also assessed to provide a baseline against which the cost
effectiveness of all the options could be evaluated.
Co-operation with France and the US
Whole ship collaboration is unlikely to be a
viable option, but opportunities for co-operation are being reviewed
during Assessment, especially for equipment systems and subsystems.
In particular, discussions are continuing with the French and
US to explore areas for possible co-operation in common areas
of aircraft carrier technology at a system or sub-system level.
A two-star steering committee has been set up with France, to
oversee the activities of two working level groupings, looking
at operational and future procurement aspects of aircraft carriers.
There is a mutual understanding between the UK and France, at
Ministerial level, that industry to industry co-operation represents
the best way forward for any UK/France co-operation on aircraft
It is unlikely that this project will lead directly
to whole-ship sales, although the commercial marketing of CVF
design skills and production technology could benefit UK industry.
Much of the ship's equipment could have export potential. Industrial
Participation proposals will be invited, as appropriate, for offshore
content of the proposed solution.
In accordance with government policy for the
construction of Royal Navy warships, the CVF will be built in
UK shipyards. Industrial factors were taken into account in the
decision to adopt the alliance approach for CVF. In terms of shipbuilding,
analysis has concluded that the optimum solution appears to revolve
around the involvement of four main yards: BAE SYSTEMS Marine
at Govan; Swan Hunter in the North East; Vosper Thornycroft in
Portsmouth; and Babcock BES at Rosyth. The participation of other
yards has not yet been ruled out. It is estimated that CVF will
sustain or create some 10,000 jobs across the UK during the course
of its design and manufacture.
The CVF programme is adopting and further developing
a range of Smart Acquisition techniques. These include a greater
emphasis on identifying, evaluating, and implementing effective
trade-offs between system performance, whole-life costs and time;
the adoption of incremental acquisition for areas such as the
combat systems; and the use of off-the-shelf equipment and commercial
standards, where appropriate. An Integrated Project Team (IPT)
is managing the project under the leadership of an industrialist
recruited in an open competition. In accordance with Smart Acquisition,
what would previously have been Feasibility and Project Definition
stages have been combined into a single Assessment phase, with
increased investment and innovation through the use of SMART project
management processes to achieve early risk reduction. The two
consortia have been encouraged to be innovative throughout the
The alliance proposal for CVF emerged from the
findings of the CA process. This has provided a new and faster
means of determining the relative strengths and weaknesses of
competing contractors. The process also broke new ground by addressing
significant but less tangible issuessuch as the contractors'
ability to work with the MoD, which is important when the MoD
could be working with the selected prime and key supplier for
many years. The CA process ran throughout Stage 2 and provided
the MoD with a robust and transparent method of determining the
way ahead for the programme. It was a move away from the traditional
tender assessment approach and enabled the MoD to make its decision
more quickly than would otherwise have been possible.
This innovative alliance approach also builds
on the principles of the Defence Industrial Policy document published
in October 2002. It will enable us to make the most of the resources
and strengths of both companies and the skills and expertise of
the IPT. We will continue to maximise the advantages offered by
competition (at the sub-contractor level) during the remainder
of the Assessment Phase, thus ensuring that we achieve best value
for money. The alliance approach is intended to allow a seamless
transition from Assessment through to Demonstration and Manufacture
and will directly address the concerns of industry and the MoD
about the level of risk reduction required on major programmes.
Both BAE SYSTEMS and Thales have welcomed the alliance approach.
A number of small-scale pre-feasibility studies
were completed prior to the award of the assessment contracts.
A risk register will be maintained throughout the life of the
project as the core of an integrated risk management system. This
contains both MoD and contractor inputs and is the focus for risk
reduction work during the Assessment phase. The risk reduction
work will help to provide confidence in the data that will support
the Main Gate submission to proceed with Demonstration and Manufacture.
Milestones and Costs
Recent and planned CVF milestones are shown
in the table below.
|Announcement of Joint Strike Fighter Short Take Off Vertical Landing
||30 September 2002|
|Announcement of preferred prime contractor and alliancing strategy
||30 January 2003|
|Start Stage 3 of Assessment||May 2003
|Main Gate Approval||February 2004
|Design and Manufacture Contract Award||Early 2004
|In Service Dates||2012 and 2015
Total acquisition costs for the two carriers are currently
being revised by the CVF Alliance and will take account of the
adaptable design. We envisage that the costs will be in the region
of £3.2 billion to £3.4 billion (resource costs, outturn
prices), excluding the aircraft. Costs incurred to the end of
FY02/03, including pre-feasibility studies, total around £101
We plan to investigate the let of a contract for design,
build and an initial support period as one package. Collaborative
support arrangements are unlikely.
Contractor Logistic Support (CLS) will be considered for
maintenance and logistics where value for money and coherence
with wider Royal Navy support systems can be demonstrated. The
benefits of CLS include a strong focus on reliability for initial
designs; better standards of availability, reliability, and maintenance;
and an incentive to the contractor to design and build systems
that minimise support costs. One option to be considered is the
adoption of best practice in supply chain techniques, to minimise
MoD ownership of spares, by contracting for agreed spares availability
The upkeep cycle of the CVF will reflect the vessels' modern
design, and developments in upkeep practice such as "reliability
centred maintenance" rather than lengthy and expensive refits.
This will enable availability requirements to be met by only two
Front Line Numbers
Both CVF will be assigned to the front line.
The aim is to maximise the interoperability of the CVF with
the greatest possible range of UK and allied aircraft and with
other carriers, to the extent that this can be achieved cost-effectively.
This is being explored further during the Assessment Phase.
Disposal of Equipment Replaced
Prospects for the sale of the INVINCIBLE class will be explored
in due course.
Each CVF is planned to have an in-service life of 30 years
with a stretch target of up to 50 years.
The CVF programme is closely linked with the JCA and MASC
programmes (the latter managed by a dedicated team within the
CVF Integrated Project Team). The carriers' innovative adaptable
design means it could be adapted in future to operate other aircraft
types after the JSF leaves service.