seaspear wrote:Martin Douglas the chief engineer of Aircraft Carrier Alliance stated that " the carrier was capable of 72 fast jet sorties in 24 hours (night and day) and that this could be increased if needed" (how many jets?)
Naval Technology journal stated a maximum of 110 in surge conditions (how many jets?)
Perhaps questions should be what is the sortie rate required for standard deployments of fast jets for the carrier ?
What is the down time for maintenance checks after for a f35b and does this effect sortie rate ? the U.S.N in its trials may be in a position to know .
This is pretty much correct. The carrier was designed to be capable of an initial 24 hour surge of 108 sorties (36 × 3), with a sustained rate of 72 sorties per day (36 × 2). Everything was designed around these sortie rates and an aircraft load of 36 F35b and 4 Merlin AEW. This set the size of the magazines and weapon prep areas, the resupply rates required for FSS and Tide, the amount of fresh water needed from the reverse osmosis plants, the aircraft refuelling infrastructure, etc. etc. The ship has 4 squadron briefing rooms - 3 for F35 squadrons and 1 for a Merlin squadron. The same goes for the number of maintenance workshops.
Other aircraft load outs were also considered. If 9 Merlin ASW are also required in submarine threat areas, the max number of F35s drops to around 30 and the F35 max sortie rate also drops. So, although this load out has more aircraft (30 F35, 14 Merlin), it is less demanding in most ship requirements than 36 F35 and 4 Merlin (except for number of bunks required).
Now this is where it gets confusing...
Although QE is designed for a max of 36 F35s, the design actually has "parking space" capacity for 46 - 48 F35s. 24 spaces on the flightdeck and 22/24 in the hanger. Why? Becauae the experience of the RN and the USN is that when you load an carrier with more aircraft than 80% capacity, the sortie generation rate actually goes down. Instead of generating sorties, you waste time playing complicated games moving around many aircraft just to get access to the ones you need. So, to maximise the sortie generation rate, at 80% of full load capacity QE can carry 36 F35s.
So there is the physical space for an extra ~12 F35s, but this empty space is needed to maximise the sortie rate.
And while the hanger/flight deck might have space for upto 48 F35s, the ship does not have the extra bunks required, or magazine space, or workshops, or Squadron briefing rooms, etc. to cope with this number of F35s.
Of course, since all these design decisions were made many years ago, it has become very clear that the actual number of F35s on board is now unlikely to get anywhere close to 36 (unless this includes many non-UK jets).