Everyone here agrees that the personnel issues need to be addressed as a matter of the highest priority, but we do still need to look at what kit we are going to need to bring our Armed Forces up to scratch in order to fight peer level conflicts. We need to bring new kit into service faster or we risk being left behind.
I do not have any issue with the QEs only having a single squadron embarked most of the time, but the F-35 Squadrons are smaller than the already small Typhoon units. So to embark say twelve aircraft you a drawing from a pol rather than tasking a single squadron. The issue I do have though is how are we gong to ensure we have sufficient carrier qualified pilots available so that we can increase the number of aircraft embarked on the carrier at short notice. For a pilot to maintain is carrier qualification he or she needs to carry out a certain number of real take offs and landings over a given period, the same a helicopter pilots. Yes it is easier with a STOVL platform than a CATOBAR platform, but it is still required. Ok if the balloon goes up we could throw the rule book out of the window, have pilots do X number of landings and take offs on the simulator and then send them out to the carrier, but that is far from ideal.
The only way I can see us maintaining a sufficient pool of carrier qualified pilots is to allocate the first two frontline F-35 squadrons to carrier duty first and foremost, with all pilots rotating through the force embarked when the carrier is at sea, and always have those F-35s on the carrier. All pilots coming out of the OCU should already have received their initial Carrier qualification as part of the conversion course.
Once the F-35 fleet grows, and I cannot see it growing much beyond three front line squadrons things may be a little easier, but the RAF is going to have to be persuaded that the F-35s are for carrier use as the priority, and everything else comes second.