HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

Unless they can fly there from London Helipads and land on EAGLE's deck?

Or the Tube gets extended to Chatham?
Well helicopters are for rich people only and not enough of those.

As for underground to Chatham ------- crossrail gets to abbey wood in a few years and that is only half way to Chatham.
CVF-90 Part 2 (Build)
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH the lead ship of the CVF-90 aircraft carrier program was laid down at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead in October of 1987. Though the ceremony marking the event was the official start of the 62,000 ton ships construction it could be argued that construction had been started weeks earlier in a Rolls Royce facility when the production had begun on some of the “long lead” items such as the ships machinery or in the steel works that had been pumping out steel plates destined for the ship.

During the bidding process for the construction of the first ship of the CVF-90 program Cammell Laird had emerged as the obvious front runner and ultimately been awarded the contract for a number of reasons. Namely the shipyard had the required space for the project and the capacity in terms of workforce. The same week that saw HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH being laid down had also seen the launch of the TYPE 22 Batch 3 Frigate HMS CAMPBLETOWN. This meant that the yard was at the time largely empty and thus in a position to be able to devote the necessary industrial capacity and resources to the aircraft carrier building project.
Rather than being built on a slipway the QE (as the ship was often abbreviated to) would instead in a new move for British warship construction be constructed in Cammell Laird’s Number 5 graving dock and would be floated out instead of being launched down a slipway. Despite being one of the biggest graving docks in the country at 290 m long and 42.5m wide space was going to be extremely tight with only meters between the ship and dock walls.

Before construction of the ship could even begin the government had had to agree to finance a multimillion pound program of upgrades to the yard to enable them to build something of the scale of QE. In fact, this was still very much an ongoing program even during the laying down ceremony for the ship with many visiting VIP’s commenting that the yard looked like a building site. Intentional or not the were in fact right on the money with those remarks. The graving dock itself had been extensively surveyed and some maintenance work had been carried out. on the dockside all existing structures had been cleared to make way for large covered storage buildings and workshops and a large open storage space. This area was still under construction at the time of QE’s laying down ceremony. A large 100m tall gantry crane named “Goliath” had been constructed in Germany and shipped over to Birkenhead and erected over the graving dock. The crane had the capability to lift objects weighing up to 1000 tons and enabled entire sections of the ship to be prefabricated elsewhere and then lifted into place. Two smaller cranes had been erected either side of the dock to erect “Goliath”. These cranes would remain in place and be used to move smaller loads. One of Goliaths most important features was its ability to reach out up to 20m into the River Mersey. This meant that large prefabricated sections of the ship such as the Island superstructure and aircraft lifts could be transported on barges which would be positioned at the end of the graving dock where their loads could be lifted straight off by Goliath and lifted onto the ship.

Many on Cammell Laird’s board of directors were already thinking about how to drum up work for after HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH’s completion. Having recently been privatised and with a newly upgraded and now very modern yard capable of building large vessels the future for now looked bright.
One major concern was security. With the troubles in Northern Ireland showing no sign of letting up and now beginning a campaign of bombings and other actions on the British mainland the threat from the IRA was in everyone’s mind. The shipyards security was beefed up as a condition of having been awarded this very lucrative contract. Barbed wire was erected around the yards perimeter wall, floodlighting was erected both along the perimeter and throughout the yard along with a (for the time) extensive CCTV network and extra security staff working closely with the various government and MOD security services. Around Number 5 Graving Dock itself and the areas and buildings associated with the QE build project a separate perimeter fence was erected as an extra layer of security with checkpoints checking people and deliveries coming in as there was considered to be a high risk of dissident Irish Republicans attempting to smuggle a bomb aboard. People were also checked on their way out as it was all but certain that the intelligence services of the Soviet Union would be taking an interest in the ship.

Perhaps the most serious security concern was the fact that the graving dock and QUEEN ELIZABETH were very close to the yard’s perimeter wall. Barely 10m at its closest point in fact. Close enough in fact that anyone who for some reason felt the need to do so could stand outside of the yard and throw bricks at the ship with a very good chance of a hit. The obvious solution would have been for the government to issue a compulsory purchase order of the adjacent land and to expand the yard and thus push the perimeter further away from the ship. Unfortunately, the adjacent land was occupied by the Birkenhead Priory, a monastery dating back almost a millennium which rendered this option a bit of a nonstarter. Worse the perimeter wall in this area was only about 2m high meaning that it would not have been that difficult for someone to climb over and potentially gain access to the ship for nefarious reasons. The occupants of the priory were extremely unhappy with it but the solution eventually adopted regarding the northern perimeter was to erect 3m high corrugated iron sheeting with barbed wire, CCTV and lighting atop along the top of the wall extending its height to 5m and blocking the view of anything going on inside the dockyard and of the ship.
Something else the security people were very worried about was the possibility of a long ranged sniper or rocket attack on the ship which would ultimately tower over everything that surrounded it. While it would be impressive and awe inspiring to see it would also be a pretty large target.

With the preparatory work complete and the ship formally laid down construction got underway. Gradually the piles of sheet steel and piping in the open storage area were transformed into decks and bulkheads, entire prefabricated sections were lifted and welded into place. What had started out as an almost pathetically small pile of metal in the bottom of the vast graving dock which had been dwarfed and looked as if it could have been very easily lost in amongst the crowd that had packed into the dock to watch its birth grew and grew and over the weeks, months and years that followed into a ship that dwarfed anything the Royal Navy had ever possessed before. One shipyard worker described it as a growing monster with and insatiable hunger for steel, wire, machinery and men. The ship was said to glow in the dark as during the darkness of early evenings in winter it was lit up by the many hundreds of welders torches at work onboard and floodlights in the scaffolding that enveloped her and was said to roar thanks to the noise of the builders machinery, cranes and the ships own and builder temporary ventilation systems.

Remarkably for a project of this scale there were very few delays or cost overruns caused by technical difficulties or supply chain problems. This was largely due to a very well planned out build plan and efficient project management (now that the managers were having to play by private sector rules).

Nevertheless, there were plenty of delays and attendant cost overruns. While a lot of these were down to government inaction or indecision there were two big causes. Terrorism and militant trade unionism.

While Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast was probably the most capable out of all British shipbuilders of taking on a project of this scale, they had been ruled out due to the unacceptable risk from the ongoing sectarian violence and terrorism.
Instead H&W had been awarded the contract to build the first of a planned 6 32,000 ton FORT VICTORIA class Replenishment Oilers for the Royal Fort Auxiliary which would support the QUEEN ELIZABETH class aircraft carriers and escorting ships.
Nevertheless, even while she was still just a pile of steel being worked into the shape of a warship QE was a potent symbol of British military power and prestige and thus a target for those who wished to inflict harm upon Her Majesty’s Forces. Barely 3 weeks in the first security scare came when various shipyard workers reported having been approached in pubs by an individual asking about the workings and layout of the dockyard. This information was passed onto the security services who naturally took great interest and a proactive approach. If nothing else it served as a warning to everyone to be vigilant. The first serious incident occurred months later when during a routine search of a delivery lorry a sniffer dog located a suspicious object strapped to the underside of the vehicle prompting an evacuation of the area and resultant stoppage of work while the object was investigated and made safe by a bomb disposal team. The object was found to be an improvised explosive device and despite some pretty intensive questioning the vehicle driver was found to have had no knowledge of it and was thus released without charge.
A statement later released by the IRA claimed responsibility and stated that it was a warning and that they would be successful next time.
After this incident security around the shipyard was tightened and drivers and shipyard workers were urged to be extra careful outside of the yard.

Another incident that took place was when a civilian motorboat was spotted trying to approach the shipyards waterfront at night time. As part of the tightening of security the MOD police had taken up a number of security responsibilities within the yard including the basing of a number of security motor launches. The suspicious civilian motorboat was warned off. However, when it was spotted again a few nights later security personnel became extremely concerned. The worry was that this may be some sort of attempt at infiltration. Chase was given but was given but was broken off when the security launch crew became suspicious that this may be an attempt to draw them away to allow a potential second craft to approach the waterfront. While an intensive police manhunt was mounted, they failed to locate the craft or identify any of its occupants. The theory was that it had been abandoned somewhere and then carried out to sea by the strong Mersey currents.
These incidents were the only confirmed attempts at a direct attack upon HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and the shipyard.

From that point on the IRA began to adopt what could be described as asymmetrical tactics. Numerous bomb threats were telephoned into the dockyard over the course of QE’s construction. Each threat would cause major disruption as work would have to be stopped and the yard evacuated for perhaps days while the area and ship were searched for a bomb that wasn’t there because it had never been there. The dockyard management were later quoted as stating that these hoax bomb threats were probably causing more disruption and attendant financial cost than an actual bomb attack would.
Despite considerable effort being expended attempts to identify and locate the caller were fruitless.

Things took a much more sinister turn when the IRA made threats against the shipyard workers and their families in an attempt to cause disruption by making people scared to go into work. However here was where the IRA had miscalculated. In an attempt to prove that they were serious about their threat they had identified the home of one of the workshop foremen in Liverpool and attempted a break in during the night. However, their target was not actually home at the time meaning that the pair of IRA men instead discovered his wife and children who promptly started screaming for help and thus waking up the entire street. Panicking the IRA men ran out of the house and down the street in full view of the various neighbours who had at that moment opened their curtains to see what was going on. The Foreman was at the time not very far away in a pub frequented by many other workers at the yard and other people of what was a fairly tightknit community. Upon hearing what had happened it didn’t take long for the occupants of the pub and nearby streets to work themselves up into an angry lynch mob looking for the two intruders. Nor for the police to begin to arrive.
Unlike Belfast where there was plenty of friendly territory and locals willing to assist them the pair of IRA men found themselves very much on the run in unfriendly territory. A new and very unwelcome experience for them. One of the men was “fortunate” enough to be apprehended by the police. The other man had to be rescued by the police from a group of the foreman’s friends who were initially arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. They were subsequently quietly released without any charges being pressed due to “extraordinary circumstances”.
The police and security services were very surprised at the botched nature and overt method employed by the would-be assassins. They had expected the IRA to do something along the lines of planting a bomb under someone’s car as they had done in the past.
Despite fears that the IRA’s botched attempt may still have the intended effect of scaring the shipyard workers the terrorism threat actually decreased as other IRA operatives were forced to leave the area or go into hiding for fear of having being compromised. Nevertheless, security was once again stepped up in light of this incident. This in turn tied into another ongoing issue. That of industrial relations.

When the Conservative Government had come to power in 1979, they had introduced new union laws to combat industrial unrest which had plagued the previous Labour government. This had resulted in a bitter and long lasting stand off between the government and trade unions. The Prime Minister saw strong unions as an obstacle to economic growth and had sought to impose restrictive legislation upon union activities. This had resulted in what essentially amounted to open warfare with between the unions and the government. Most notably the miners’ strike of 1984-85. However, by the time that construction had begun on the first ship of the CVF-90 programme much to the relief of many it appeared that the government had well and truly won. There had been a real fear that so called “union baron’s” may attempt to effectively use the project as a hostage in order to continue their fight against the government by attempting to bring the yard to a grinding halt through industrial action.
There were various unions represented within the shipyard and the majority of these came under the umbrella of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.
A big part of the problem was the governments privatisation of many previously nationalised industries including Cammell Laird which had previously been a part of the British Shipbuilders Corporation. This had necessitated a massive culture change within these industries as they found themselves no longer subsidised and having to make fundamental changes to the way they functioned in order to survive in a competitive market without the safety net of government support. Within Cammell Laird almost overnight the management attempted to bring in fundamental changes to modernise and deal with inefficient working practises. In particular the attitude towards the workforce changed as the managers were now much less willing to tolerate what they regarded as groundless industrial disputes and actions and were much less willing to tolerate things like absenteeism and inefficiency.
Many of the workers adapted well to this culture shift. Many did not. The union in particular saw these changes as a fundamental attack upon their way of life. Had this happened a few years earlier things got have gotten very ugly. However, by 1988 the power of the unions was in steep decline. The failure of the miner’s strike is often cited as the decisive point in the dispute between the unions and government. Across the country union membership was declining and many held the view that union leaders were either dinosaurs clinging to a time that had passed or more motivated by their own interests than that of their members. Though there were some small scale industrial actions at Cammell Laird there were no general strikes of total stoppages of work (despite attempts by union organisers who merely found themselves outvoted in ballots on proposed action again and again). There was however a “Work to Rule” lasting a few weeks as a result of a dispute over overtime pay. In this case the management decided to agree to the workers rather reasonable requests rather than risk a wider strike. The resulting overtime was largely spent trying to bring the project back on schedule following the disruption that this had caused.
Unfortunately, a number of the older hands within the workforce found that their attitudes towards work were simply not compatible with the new working ethos within the yard and that the modernisation of working practises meant that their skillsets no longer as valuable to the company as they once had been. Some of these men simply drifted away quietly while others went kicking and screaming.

Things came to a head following yet another hoax bomb threat which had stopped work for a number of days while the yard and ship were thoroughly searched. The threat had indicated that the bomb was actually aboard the ship hidden in one of the machinery spaces. This had prompted the security services in conjunction with the yards management to carry out a thorough vetting of the workforce. A monumental task to say the least but one that was felt necessary. As a result, a handful of employees had been identified who were felt to be potential security risks for various reasons. The MOD had demanded that these employees be removed from the project. With nowhere else that they could be usefully employed the inevitable result was redundancy. Naturally the union had kicked up one hell of a storm about the affair and what they felt was unfair discrimination against the affected employees simply because of their Irish connections. Unfortunately for the union it was during this time that the IRA made their ham fisted attempt on the life of the workshop foreman.
Literally overnight attitudes dramatically changed and hardened and as a result the union found its credibility and popularity amongst the people it was supposed to represent completely shattered. Many in the workforce now whether justly or unjustly regarded the union as being supportive of the people who had been threatening them. Following that incident, the likelihood of industrial action receded from view.

While there were no running battles between the police and striking workers similar to those seen outside Yorkshire coalmines outside the shipyard gates there were still a few spectacular punch ups between the police and various protest groups. With the ship growing to dominate the skyline for miles the yard became almost a magnet for various anti-war groups such as Greenpeace and the CND (Who for reasons best known to themselves laboured under the misassumption that the ship was nuclear powered). Most of the time these groups confined themselves to protest marches and occasionally graffiti on the shipyard wall. However, some did occasionally choose to resort to attempting “direct action”. The most notable was when incident a large march descended into violence when a large group of locals and shipyard workers fed up with the disruption caused and irritated by the fact that the marchers were in affect trying to put them out of work decided to make their feelings clear. Many were arrested for pubic order offenses in what essentially amounted to mass roundups by the police. This incident is notable partly because amongst those rounded up were two Members of Parliament from the Labour Party. The MP’s whose far left wing and pacifist views were well known soon found themselves brought up in front of a Labour Party disciplinary panel charged with bringing the party into disrepute. Frank Field the Labour MP for Birkenhead was furious about the actions of his colleagues pointing out that they had dealt considerable damage to the parties reputation within his constituency where many of his constituents now felt that the Labour party was endorsing those who wanted to put them out of work and attack their way of life. This perception wasn’t helped by statements given by one of the MP’s and the circulation of photographs in the media of them present at the march. The result was that the party felt that it needed to take decisive action to prevent any further reputational damage. The two MP’s found themselves ejected from the party. The Constituency Labour Parties in Islington and Glasgow found themselves having to look for new candidates to stand in the next general election.

By April 1989 the future HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH had been under construction for 15 months and now had a displacement greater than that of an INVINCIBLE class carrier and was soon to exceed that of an AUDACIOUS class carrier. The time had now come to begin work on the second ship of the CVF-90 programme.

The builder selected to build this second ship was Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd more commonly known as VSEL who would build the ship in their facility in Barrow In Furness.
The choice for the contract for the second ship had been between VSEL and Swan Hunter on the Tyne. VSEL possessed a number of advantages which had brought the decision down in their favour. One of the biggest and most decisive advantages they possessed was the fact that the recently privatised Cammell Laird was now a subsidiary of VSEL. This meant that VSEL were already familiar with the design and build plan and that many of the men currently working on QUEEN ELIZABETH would be able to be temporarily moved to the yard in Barrow to work on the second ship. This would mean that the build process could be sped up as workforce building the ship would include a large number of workers who had done this before and had an in depth understanding of the ideal way to do things and would be able to anticipate and deal with any issues before they became problems. VSEL had successfully argued that they would be able to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale unlike the Swan Hunter workforce who would have to spend much time gaining knowledge that Cammell Laird and by extension VSEL already possessed.
Another reason was the superior facilities that the yard in Barrow possessed compared to the Swan Hunter yard in Wallsend.
Unlike QE which was being built in a graving dock and would be floated out the lack of a second suitable graving dock and the RN’s unwillingness to wait for the one in Birkenhead to become available the second ship would be built on and launched from a slipway in a more traditional approach. The slipway at VSEL’s facility was considerably larger than that possessed by Swan Hunter which had just about been able to accommodate the 22,000 ton INVINCIBLE class ships and would need major expansion to be able to cope with a 62,000 ton vessel.

When Cammell Laird had been awarded the contract for the first CVF-90 programme ship in June of 1987 it also had been announced that VSEL were the preferred choice to build the second ship. The actual order however hadn’t been placed until January of 1988. The timing was necessary as the slipway upon which the ship was to be built was at that time in use by a number of other build projects which would need to be completed and then as with the yard in Birkenhead extensive work would need to be undertaken to enable the yard in Barrow to be able to build such a large and complex ship. This work would include extending the length of the slipway by clearing some buildings (meaning that new buildings to replace the lost facilities would need to be built), the construction of another mammoth “Goliath” gantry crane and the dredging of the channel and at the end of the slipway to increase the depth of the water to prevent the 62,000 ton ship from simply slamming into the seabed of side of the channel upon launch.

Things were complicated by the fact that while all of this work was going on and even when construction of the ship began they would be sharing the slipway with the under construction TRAFALGAR class SSN HMS TRIUMPH which was due to be launched in 1990. This launch date would be pushed back to 1991 after welders working on the boat unfamiliar with new procedures and building methods accidentally welded a part of the boat in an upside down position resulting in a considerable delay while the defect was rectified. Even as far back as 1985 it had been recognised that having both an SSN and supercarrier being built on the same slipway at the same time had the potential to cause significant problems. Serious consideration within the MOD had been given to cancelling the boat and limiting the TRAFALGAR class to just 6 boats. This would have the advantage of freeing up money to cover any major cost overruns on the CVF-90 project. The RN had already made plenty of sacrifices to pay for their new carriers and expected they would have to make more in future. They were however unshakable in their belief that the Submarine Service was the single most important tool for containing the Soviet menace and guaranteeing the security of the country through providing the nuclear deterrent and was thus regarded as untouchable. There was no way that they were going to sacrifice what would be one of the most advanced submarines in the world.

Barrow in Furness has the distinction of being the birthplace of all of the UK’s nuclear submarines being the only such facility in the country capable of building such vessels. With the construction of a 62,000 ton aircraft carrier combined with the various other ongoing project the yard now had the distinction of being the busiest warship building yard in Europe and the biggest employer in North West England as the workforce was expanded greatly to cope with this new megaproject.
A few hundred meters north of the slipway where HMS TRIUMPH would soon be joined by the new carrier was the 25,000 square meter Devonshire Dock Hall. Within this cavernous space was VSEL’s other ongoing megaproject. The construction of the new generation of SSBN’s that would be armed with the Trident SLBM and succeed the RESOLUTION class boats currently in service as the carriers of Britain’s nuclear deterrent and power on the world stage. At the time of the laying down of the aircraft carrier on the slipway to the south the workers in the haul were assembling the first two of a planned 4 boats weighing in at 16,000 tons. These boats were the future HMS VANGUARD and HMS VICTORIOUS.

In the basin immediately outside of Devonshire Dock Hall the first example of another new class of RN submarines was fitting out. HMS UPHOLDER the first of a new class of 2,400 ton SSK’s designed to replace the OBERON class boats currently in service was undertaking first of class trials and was very near to completion. A total of 12 of these boats were planned with UPHOLDER as the first boat being effectively the prototype with another planned 3 batches of the class to follow. Given the lack of capacity within their Barrow yard VSEL had decided to allocate all future SSK building work to their subsidiary Cammell Laird to be carried out at in Birkenhead. Cammell Laird was felt to be capable of building SSK’s as the design work would still be done in Barrow and there would be no need for nuclear skills or facilities. Plus if Birkenhead could build something as vast and complicated as HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH then an SSK barely a 30th of the size shouldn’t be too difficult. A smaller submarine building facility which was essentially a smaller version of Devonshire Dock Hall had been built in the southern part of the Birkenhead Yard and was currently working on the next 3 of the “Batch 1” boats HMS UNSEEN, HMS URSULA and HMS UNICORN. With the upcoming completion of the final TRAFALGAR class SSN the RN was keen to maintain force levels by being in a position to replace the aging OBERON’s as they reached the end of their service lives. Therefore the next batch of 4 boats had already been pencilled in with construction to start as soon as space in the submarine building facility became available with the launch of the boats currently under construction. The MOD, VSEL and Cammell Laird had high hopes of some export orders and were aggressively marketing the class.

One of the unavoidable knock on effects of the decision to build the second aircraft carrier in Barrow was that with the Devonshire Dock Hall capacity completely taken up by the VANGUARD class program there was now no available capacity for the building of nuclear powered submarines for the next 10 years at least. This meant that the planned follow on SSN to the TRAFALGAR class (known as the SSN20 project) which would be have replaced the older VALIANT and CHURCHILL class SSN’s would now have to be postponed indefinitely. At that time it had been envisaged that the SSN20 design would be an improved TRAFALGAR (also known as Trafalgar Batch 2) which caused the RN to briefly look at the possibility of constructing an 8th TRAFALGAR class boat in HMS TRIUMPH’s space on the slipway when she launched. However it was quickly determined that this would be unfeasible for both practical and financial reasons.

Though they were understandably disappointed at missing out on such a lucrative contract as building a supercarrier Swan Hunter were not losing out. With VSEL and Cammell Laird now working at peak capacity on the new carriers and submarines Swan Hunter and Yarrow (who not possessing facilities big enough had not been considered for the CVF-90) in Glasgow were to handle the RN’s frigate construction. In 1989 Swan Hunter as a busy yard building not only TYPE 22 Frigates but one of the first of the new TYPE 23’s. The final 3 ships of the 6 strong TYPE 22 Batch 3’s which had been ordered to replace those ships lost as a result of the Falklands conflict were in various stages of build. HMS CHATHAM had launched in 1988 and was now fitting out. HMS CHIEFTAIN was due to launch in August and HMS CAMBRIAN in March of 1990. Alongside these ships was the future HMS MARLBOROUGH which would be the second ship of the new TYPE 23 general purpose Frigates (The first HMS NORFOLK being built in Glasgow by Yarrow). With 3 TYPE 23’s already in Swan Hunters orders book and the Defence Whitepaper calling for up to 25 examples of the class the future for Swan Hunter looked secure. The possibility of export orders for the TYPE 23 was also very tantalising.

The late 1980’s were a high point for UK warship building with recently modernised yards and full order books. However, it was recognised by those in government and those on the director’s boards of the various shipbuilders that once the CVF-90 and VANGUARD programs were complete the industry would find itself dealing with the issue of overcapacity. Beyond the current programs there wasn’t currently anything envisaged at all let alone something that would require even half of the currently existing build capacity.
As one shipbuilding industry analyst put it “right now they are growing fat on a feast. In a decade they will start to wither through starvation”.
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I do say the 90s would be a good time to start exporting warships. For example try to sell India a smaller variant( ideally 2 hulls since the Indian navy didn't get Hermes in this timeline)of the CVF-90 in place of the piece of junk they will end up buying from the Russians. Also I really do hope that the UK can maintain a submarine force of substantially greater size than otl, maybe 14 Astutes are built as a 1 for 1 replacements of the Swiftsures and Trafalgars with some of the money freed up by building carriers two decades earlier than otl and also a political need to keep the shipyards afloat, this also applies to the Type 45s and Type 26s as well
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1. I must say that all of this sounds *highly* plausible, and shows proper awareness of all the political and economic dynamics of late 80's England. Well done.

2. I second James's plea to learn the name of the second carrier.
Very nice update there @flasheart - your knowledge of British shipbuilding and the navy continue to impress me. This is all very plausible.

Certainly this level of shipbuilding and empolyment changes the nature of Merseyside, Cumbria, and the NE as money stays in the area. Hopefully the councils are planning for the 'crash years' after the Big projects are done. I can certainly see Maggie T making poltical capital out of 'bringing jobs in' - even in N. Ireland. Probably won't save her in the 90's though if Poll Tax still happens.

Perhaps the improved British years might see some of the 80-90's Cruise Liner shipbuilding contracts once the Naval work is complete? The '...of the Seas' line of ships for example?
MP for Glasgow ? So the "Gorgeous One ' strikes again. Hopefully in this TL he won't be able to worm his way back into Parliament .
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Nick P

The ending looks not too bright for the British naval industry...
Let's be honest, the end of the Cold War in 1990 will mean major cutbacks and these new ships will be doing the jobs of two or three soon to be retired RN ships.
The real hope is that they develop ship designs that other countries want to buy. Offshore Patrol Vessels, Destroyers and Frigates etc.
Like shaking a steak above a gang of sharks! :D

Would these CVs look like the current QE, or have a more conventional layout?
I believe it was mentioned earlier in story that the FAA has purchased Hornets to replace their F-4s and Buccaneers. So I believe a CATOBAR layout was chosen
As one shipbuilding industry analyst put it “right now they are growing fat on a feast. In a decade they will start to wither through starvation”.

it looks like we are pushing back the decline of British ship building by about a decade. In order to avert that decline the focus needs to be on designing ships foreign naval types want to buy.

Good to see Swan Hunter busy but a mistake not to build the carriers ( both ) there. Nothing to do with family connections there you understand......................
Good update but do you have to tease us about hull #2's name?
Yes I do.

All will become clear in the next update.

Would these CVs look like the current QE, or have a more conventional layout?
These ships are CATOBAR carriers with angled flight decks. In terms of appearance they are much closer to the CVA-01 design than the OTL QE's with a single large island and incorporating some recognisable influences from the Invincible class having been designed only a decade or so apart.

MP for Glasgow ? So the "Gorgeous One ' strikes again. Hopefully in this TL he won't be able to worm his way back into Parliament .
It would be rather unfortunate if the individual in question tried to stage a protest by attempting to blockade hull #2s journey down the slipway on launch day.
It seems a bit mad tbh.

Now I know little to nothing about British shipbuilding politics of the 1980s but would they really sacrifice a decade of submarine construction in Barrow like this?

I am aware British industrial planning doesn't always make sense or indeed military procurement.
It seems a bit mad tbh.

Now I know little to nothing about British shipbuilding politics of the 1980s but would they really sacrifice a decade of submarine construction in Barrow like this?

I am aware British industrial planning doesn't always make sense or indeed military procurement.
Well, the war just proved how big carriers are still a major part of national defence. Plus... Britain’s got sufficient nuclear deterrent at this point, but they need the carriers - there’s now a hole, one that the war showed up.