You're the one that listed the 2 billion pounds cost for the EM catapults -- my point is that those 2 billion pounds are far from attributable to merely the catapults and arresting gear themselves.Your attempt in explaining the high cost attribution of EMAL solely to the QE acquisition process is not factually supported by public facts as they are well documented. The various UK National Audit reports pertaining to the QE acquisition process issued in 2011 and 2013 and in particular the latter report highlighted the cost blow out with the EMAL option and the subsequent decision to revert to a STVOL based design. Up to that point of time, the UK was in a design phase and the sunk cost identified by the decision was 74 million sterling. It is not a case of EMAL cost blow out to accommodate a design change but rather catapults are expensive by nature especially the EMAL type.
Cats and traps are unique to carriers and these are the capabilities that distinguish it from non-cat design. It is therefore unsurprising they would constitute a significant portion of overall cost. No economies of scale would somehow remove such a high but necessary component cost. IMO, China wants to mirror the capability of the USN with its LHA America class and its STOVL aviation. Lacking such an option, an alternate approach in the form of EMAL being mated to a LHA design is being considered. I think such an approach is fundamentally flawed because the payback on a high investment cost with the EMAL is constrained by a compromised design in the form of a LHA. Said differently, if you want to go for EMAL then go for a mini carrier optimised design to fully leverage the capability arising from your EMAL investment. LHA by design is for amphibious assault with a more aviation centric approach. It is not a carrier centric design.
We know the LHA America gave up a well deck to gain additional aviation storage space. Even with that, the maximum number it can operate with is about 20 F-35Bs. In contrast, the French carrier of around the same tonnage can operate with 30 plus aviation assets.
The full record can be found here:
With the most relevant parts being:
and18) Minister Peter Luff was a bit more honest. He said:
I want to make it quite clear ... there was some increase in the cost of the equipment, but that is not actually the total picture of the cost. The cost is also a reflection of various other issues ... the cost of the conversion itself was the real issue ...
19) In other words the huge bulk of the cost increase didn't come from General Atomics and EMALS. Instead it came from the British shipyards who would have to put the US equipment into the ships. Luff went on to explain that in fact the carriers had not been designed to accept catapults and arrester gear at all.
A more succinct summary of the relevant parts can be found here:20) The fundamental misunderstanding that many of us had was that these carriers would be relatively easy to convert and had been designed for conversion and for adaptability. That is what we were told. It was not true. They were not .
21) Mr Arbuthnot, reasonably enough, asked:
Having been "designed for conversion", and conversion having proved far more expensive than we expected, do we have any comeback against those companies that did the design?
22) Mr Gray answered:
Because the decision to go STOVL [that is the initial decision for jumpjets] was taken in, from memory, 2002, no serious work had been done. It had been noodled in 2005, but no serious work had been done on it. It was not a contract-quality offer; it was a simple assertion that that could be done, but nobody said, "It can be done at this price", and certainly nobody put that in a contract.
.... So no, I reject your assertion that the cost of the QE class's costs for integrating EM catapults was a result of the EM catapults themselves rather than a combination of factors including the cost of integration into a ship that wasn't properly designed for cat and traps to begin with.
There obviously are additional costs to having catapults and arresting gear compared to a ship without that equipment, but using the QE class's experience with EMALS is a poor example.
If you really want to look at the cost of EM catapults and arrestor gear for a ship designed from the outset for them, the Ford class may be a better example,
March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. For EMALS and AAG, unit costs are listed as FY08$ 762.9 million (614.7 + 148.2) for CVN 78, and FY13$ 883.1 million (713.7 + 169.4) for CVN 79.
As for wanting to "emulate" the America class, the EM catapults are meant to provide the ability for 076 to have enhanced fixed wing capability which 075 does not have.
However there's still quite substantial debate over the exact nature with which 076 is meant to be a carrier.
Before you write anything else, let's quickly review the details that are agreed upon:
- 076 as a project exists
- It is widely accepted that it will be an LHD design but featuring EM catapults in some form and arresting gear
- It is expected to field UCAVs as part of its primary fixed wing complement
- It is expected to feature MVDC IPS with gas turbine and diesel powerplants
- It is expected to have a well deck as well
Issues that are remaining topics of debate and contention:
- We don't know exactly what the balance between the amphibious assault role and the carrier role will be. (I personally think it will tend more towards the amphibious assault role, but some others also disagree)
- We don't know what exact rating the EM catapult(s) and arresting gear will be -- e.g. we don't know what kind of weight rating it will be, and the size and type of the aircraft it can accommodate
- We don't know whether it will be capable of accommodating or let alone regularly deploying manned fighter aircraft
- We don't know how much it will displace