Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS/LPH) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by R686 »

The US is currently doing a study if there is an alternative if any to the current CVN.
http://news.usni.org/2015/03/23/navy-co ... rier-study

Size of the carrier directly relates to the conops and budget of said nation, you don't build 100000t carrier to do ASW ops with a few helicopters and jets, but user the CVF as a multi role platform between ASW and strike, my personal opinion is the CVF should not have an Amphiboius role but should fill the role of escort in the ASW domain for an Amphiboius task group then once in the AO have a dual role of provide CAS and strike a full house of fast jets would soon enough find employment without being in the LPH role.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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R686 wrote:The US is currently doing a study if there is an alternative if any to the current CVN.
http://news.usni.org/2015/03/23/navy-co ... rier-study
I can't help but think that the answer is yes. Given the current and likely future composition of USN carrier air wing's I think they'd would have far more flexibility and capability with about sixteen of something conventionally powered and about 70% the tonnage.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Pseudo wrote: I can't help but think that the answer is yes. Given the current and likely future composition of USN carrier air wing's I think they'd would have far more flexibility and capability with about sixteen of something conventionally powered and about 70% the tonnage.
So a modern version of USS Kitty Hawk?

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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R686 wrote:
Pseudo wrote: I can't help but think that the answer is yes. Given the current and likely future composition of USN carrier air wing's I think they'd would have far more flexibility and capability with about sixteen of something conventionally powered and about 70% the tonnage.
So a modern version of USS Kitty Hawk?
Yeah, something like that, but with half the complement of the original and a maximum of 50-ish aircraft would probably work if they had sixteen or so of them.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Engaging Strategy wrote: (CVS) I'm talking about ammunition and fuel for the embarked aircraft. Ditching the Sea Dart and converting the magazine to carry extra ammunition for the air group helped, as did stacking it in vertical racks, but the space available was always very limited.
Interesting. You mean "ammunition and fuel" for power projection, or for ASW only?

For ASW, you do not need much ammunition while you need a lot for power-projection. Fuel, you need also for ASW, but maybe not as much as for "tens of" Harriers.
The RN could and should have had one US style carrier battle group available at all times with a surge capacity of two with advance notice.
If you are proposing that RN should have had "additional resource" to get 2 CVA, I totally agree. I'm just saying that is not available with the resources UK payed for RN in 1980s.

Task group lead by CVS may not be survivable to USSR air-raids, I agree. But, is was not designed to do so, without aircover from NATO airfoces and USN CV battle groups.

I think it was the requirement what was wrong, and CVS did their best to respond to requirement they are not originally designed for.

Yes, CVS is too much oriented at ASW, I totally agree. But it does not mean CVF is well-balanced. I think it is too much oriented at power-projection. But, CVS and CVF, which is better balanced, I agree CVF is.

I just hope the CVF could have left some resource to build Ocean replacement. With 2x 40,000t (or maybe 50,00 t) CVFs and a "bare born" 25,000t LPH, UK could have been able to provide 1 attack carrier and 1 amphibious helicopter carrier when needed...

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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donald_of_tokyo wrote:If you are proposing that RN should have had "additional resource" to get 2 CVA, I totally agree. I'm just saying that is not available with the resources UK payed for RN in 1980s.
CVA was absolutely affordable, it's just that we apparently preferred to waste money on quite a few ambitious and high cost projects that we'd tend to cancel at the last minute thereby ensuring maximum cost for zero capability.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Pseudo wrote:
donald_of_tokyo wrote:If you are proposing that RN should have had "additional resource" to get 2 CVA, I totally agree. I'm just saying that is not available with the resources UK payed for RN in 1980s.
CVA was absolutely affordable, it's just that we apparently preferred to waste money on quite a few ambitious and high cost projects that we'd tend to cancel at the last minute thereby ensuring maximum cost for zero capability.
Thanks I was not so much familiar with it.
But, here we are talking about 2 (not 1) CVA. Is two of them was affordable?
With only 1, I suspect 3 CVS would be better to have...

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Pseudo wrote:CVA was absolutely affordable, it's just that we apparently preferred to waste money on quite a few ambitious and high cost projects that we'd tend to cancel at the last minute thereby ensuring maximum cost for zero capability.
On the issue of cost we also wasted a lot of money running the two Audacious class carriers well beyond their intended lives. The 1964 cost estimates I have for the CVA programme (from Edward Hampshire's Excellent book: from East of Suez to the eastern Atlantic: British naval policy 1964-70 pg.30) are £89mn for construction of two ships. Total capital cost for the whole programme including aircraft, training aircraft, new build carriers, modernisation of old carriers, support ships and shore facilities is £651mn. Operating costs were estimated at£519mn over ten years (~£52mn per annum). Including an additional £108mn of various R&D costs the total programme would have cost an estimated £1278mn over ten years, or around 10% of the defence budget. In comparison, the RAF's East of Suez long range air power concept using TSR-2 was estimated at £1082mn over ten years. Let's not forget that the MoD initially green-lit the latter. The resources were available in the mid-60s to build and operate two CVAs, the economic difficulties of the 70s could have been dealt with by ditching the third older carrier (likely Eagle) and moving to a fleet of two large carriers with one available at all times rather than three carriers with 1.5 available (as the RN wanted).
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by GibMariner »

Just my personal opinion, but I don't think that the claims that the CVA-01 was cancelled purely on cost grounds stand up to scrutiny when we consider the waste of funds and wasted opportunities in that era. It also helped that Lord Mountbatten retired as CDS in 1965 and as such there wasn't such a weighted voice of discontent when the 1966 White Paper called an end to fixed-wing carrier operations and Wilson's government's decision to withdraw from East of Suez.

For one there are claims that HMS Eagle, fresh out of refit, would have required significantly less money to modify to operate Phantoms compared to HMS Ark Royal (I can't remember where I read that but I believe it cost over £30 million to refit Ark Royal, compared to the under £10 million it would take for Eagle) and that Eagle was in much better material condition than Ark Royal (which was only expected to last until around 1972) so might have been able to soldier on for longer alongside the CVA-01 or until replaced by a hypothetical CVA-02.

Then we also have the rather expensive conversions of the obsolete (and manpower hungry - ~900 men each) Tiger-class cruisers to serve as flagships and ASW helicopter cruisers - I think it came to somewhere near £20 million to convert both HMS Tiger and Blake - the latter role being something that they were unsuited for - versus the conversion of Bulwark and Hermes as ASW carriers until replaced by the Invincible-class.

If we go back further, there's also the case of HMS Victorious and her rebuild, which took 8 years and ~£30 million, and her later refit in 1967 which was meant to help her go on until around 1970, which ended with a small fire, giving the government an excuse to decommission her early for political reasons and wasting however many £millions had been spent.

These are just three examples off the top of my head - so I'm sure that people with access to better source materials and a well-rounded view of economics would be able to make a better case, but to me it seems to be the same old story repeating itself of political interference in defence projects which ended up either costing much more than they should have or outright cancellation, as well as things such as inter-service rivalries and raiding the defence budget to avoid cutting from more politically sensitive budgets.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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GibMariner wrote:Just my personal opinion, but I don't think that the claims that the CVA-01 was cancelled purely on cost grounds stand up to scrutiny when we consider the waste of funds and wasted opportunities in that era. It also helped that Lord Mountbatten retired as CDS in 1965 and as such there wasn't such a weighted voice of discontent when the 1966 White Paper called an end to fixed-wing carrier operations and Wilson's government's decision to withdraw from East of Suez.

For one there are claims that HMS Eagle, fresh out of refit, would have required significantly less money to modify to operate Phantoms compared to HMS Ark Royal (I can't remember where I read that but I believe it cost over £30 million to refit Ark Royal, compared to the under £10 million it would take for Eagle) and that Eagle was in much better material condition than Ark Royal (which was only expected to last until around 1972) so might have been able to soldier on for longer alongside the CVA-01 or until replaced by a hypothetical CVA-02.
From what I know the RN's intention was to have a three carrier fleet with one East of Suez at all times and one ready at short notice (likely in or around the UK). The plan was to have two new build CVA carriers (the ones cancelled in 1966) plus a modernised Eagle, you're right by the way she was in much better material condition than Ark, eventually Eagle was to be replaced with a third CVA type carrier in the early-mid 80s.
Then we also have the rather expensive conversions of the obsolete (and manpower hungry - ~900 men each) Tiger-class cruisers to serve as flagships and ASW helicopter cruisers - I think it came to somewhere near £20 million to convert both HMS Tiger and Blake - the latter role being something that they were unsuited for - versus the conversion of Bulwark and Hermes as ASW carriers until replaced by the Invincible-class.
These ships would almost certainly have been binned to help man the new carriers. No great loss though, they were old expensive to run and not very good at carrying ASW helicopters. Their conversion was a pointless waste of money made necessary by the cancellation of the CVAs.
If we go back further, there's also the case of HMS Victorious and her rebuild, which took 8 years and ~£30 million, and her later refit in 1967 which was meant to help her go on until around 1970, which ended with a small fire, giving the government an excuse to decommission her early for political reasons and wasting however many £millions had been spent.
The expensive refits and conversions necessitated by the cancellation of the CVAs would have more than covered the £89mn needed to build the new carriers!
These are just three examples off the top of my head - so I'm sure that people with access to better source materials and a well-rounded view of economics would be able to make a better case, but to me it seems to be the same old story repeating itself of political interference in defence projects which ended up either costing much more than they should have or outright cancellation, as well as things such as inter-service rivalries and raiding the defence budget to avoid cutting from more politically sensitive budgets.
It was a fiasco born of ridiculous inter-service politicking on the part of the RAF, who were in the process of losing the nuclear deterrent to the navy because they couldn't do the job effectively and at a reasonable cost, with their unworkable "island bases" concept and foolish politicians that briefly bought into their nonsense.
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by Pseudo »

donald_of_tokyo wrote:Thanks I was not so much familiar with it.
But, here we are talking about 2 (not 1) CVA. Is two of them was affordable?
With only 1, I suspect 3 CVS would be better to have...
Affording two isn't difficult just by making better choices within the RN, though admittedly some of those choices might only be apparent in hindsight. A third might be more difficult if you want a balanced fleet, but if you can get the RAF to accept the P.150 Buccaneer instead of going for TSR2 a third CVA is probably doable and as a bonus the RAF would actually get a supersonic low-level strike aircraft.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by SKB »

HMS Invincible's launch from Barrow-In-Furness, 3rd May 1977. Note how she has no ski-jump ramp and is described as "an anti-submarine cruiser".


HMS Invincible arrives in Portsmouth for the first time in 1980 under the Red Ensign before official commissioning.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by R686 »

Engaging Strategy wrote:
The RN of the 70s and 80s was large and well manned enough to support a CVA and the two Fearless class amphibs. As I said though I think the UK approach to warfighting vs the USSR in the North Atlantic was probably wrong and likely wouldn't have worked, thus demanding a different approach and a different allocation of resources.
I'm not 100% sure on that whilst reading the RAN replacement carrier paper's in the CVA01 thread their is a section on likley escort numbers and % of being hit by enemy submarine torpedo's.


With a then planned CBG and 6 escorts the CV was assessed as being a 30% chance of being hit over over a 7 day period via a US 1965 Kendrew panel with the RN revising that to assesment to 50% over 10 days, this was set against 5 submarines in a hot war with the USSR

The report also goes on to suggest that the risk was deemed to high for the UK Goverment and would limit there freedom to intervene in certain areas of interst.

It's also interesting to note that it did not recommend an increase in escorts, but should be more reliant on passive sensor's such as sonobuoy and weapons.

This is not the actual report in question as so far I have not found the actual working title just a name of the panel, and this as clowe I found so far.

https://history.state.gov/historicaldoc ... 68v10/d124

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Engaging Strategy wrote: the economic difficulties [of the 70s] could have been dealt with by [ditching the third older carrier (likely Eagle) and] moving to a fleet of two large carriers with one available at all times rather than three carriers with 1.5 available (as the RN wanted).
Sounds familiar... just that this time we will do (?) the 1.5 with two
- a very explicit assumption; I hope all assumptions hold (they are for every 7 year period from the commissioning of the second one to the mid-life refit for the first one
- if we are literal about MLU, that would be for 3.5 of such 7 year periods. Well, not quite as each of the two would be docked every seven years and for those periods with one only... we will have one only
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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ArmChairCivvy wrote:Sounds familiar... just that this time we will do (?) the 1.5 with two
- a very explicit assumption; I hope all assumptions hold (they are for every 7 year period from the commissioning of the second one to the mid-life refit for the first one
- if we are literal about MLU, that would be for 3.5 of such 7 year periods. Well, not quite as each of the two would be docked every seven years and for those periods with one only... we will have one only
In the 60s the RN's proposed "single stance" East of Suez structure would've required 3 carriers, with 2 available: one forward deployed East of Suez and one able to be worked up at short notice in the UK. In addition there were two amphibious ships (these were the Fearless class LPDs). These would be supported by forward bases in Bahrain and Singapore.

Notice any similarities with today? ;)

It's essentially the single stance structure with fewer escorts. We even have the bases in Bahrain and Singapore!

Personally I liked the "double stance" concept, 6 CVA and 4 amphibious ships supported by a single large base on the West coast of Australia. Unfortunately dismissed on "cost" grounds :lol:
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by Foxbat »

SKB wrote:HMS Invincible arrives in Portsmouth for the first time in 1980 under the Red Ensign before official commissioning.
Interesting. I thought RN ships, prior to commissioning, sailed under a version of the Blue Ensign?

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

@ES

Minor correction: it was announced in 1963 that only one CVA01 would be built. So only one was cancelled in 1966.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Ron5 wrote:@ES

Minor correction: it was announced in 1963 that only one CVA01 would be built. So only one was cancelled in 1966.
I was under the impression that the ship ordered in '63 was the first of a planned class of three ships, intended to replace Victorious, while the other two would've been ordered at a later date to replace Ark and Eagle in that order (as they could be run into the mid-1970s/early 1980s in the case of Eagle).
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by GibMariner »

No idea about 1963 being the date, but by the time of the cancellation it was indeed for one carrier (plus associated Type 82 escorts minus HMS Bristol).

I've got the following reference from Hansard (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/writ ... 131_CWA_86) - there's plenty of transcripts that reference CVA-01 on there.
Aircraft Carrier CVA-01 (Contracts)
HC Deb 31 January 1966 vol 723 cc162-3W

Captain Kerby asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the value of the long lead items for which contracts have been placed for the new aircraft carrier CVA-01; and whether similar equipment has beer ordered for a second new carrier.

Mr. Mayhew Contracts valued at just over £3½ million have been placed in aid of CVA-01. No commitments have been undertaken in respect of a second new carrier.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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GibMariner wrote:No idea about 1963 being the date, but by the time of the cancellation it was indeed for one carrier (plus associated Type 82 escorts minus HMS Bristol).
As I said, only the first carrier was ordered so early compared to the rest of the class because she was intended to replace Victorious, whose decommissioning date was ~1969. HMG wouldn't have needed to order CVA-02 until 1968/9 to replace Ark by ~1975. CVA-03 could have replaced Eagle (If the UK remained committed to a 3 carrier fleet) as late as ~1982. With a major refit under her belt, and being in much better material condition than Ark she could've been run on for quite a while more.

While three carriers were planned only one was ever ordered, and then subsequently cancelled.
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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Engaging Strategy wrote:
GibMariner wrote:No idea about 1963 being the date, but by the time of the cancellation it was indeed for one carrier (plus associated Type 82 escorts minus HMS Bristol).
As I said, only the first carrier was ordered so early compared to the rest of the class because she was intended to replace Victorious, whose decommissioning date was ~1969. HMG wouldn't have needed to order CVA-02 until 1968/9 to replace Ark by ~1975. CVA-03 could have replaced Eagle (If the UK remained committed to a 3 carrier fleet) as late as ~1982. With a major refit under her belt, and being in much better material condition than Ark she could've been run on for quite a while more.

While three carriers were planned only one was ever ordered, and then subsequently cancelled.

Yep that would be about right, UK was planning to replace 4 carriers between 1971 and 1976 and was envisaged that a RAN carrier would not be avalible till around 1974 with a drumbeat of 4.5-5 years construction.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by GibMariner »

Engaging Strategy wrote:While three carriers were planned only one was ever ordered, and then subsequently cancelled.
I do agree with you that the RN would have had planning assumptions for at least 3 CVA as a minimum requirement for the East of Suez policy - from what I've read, I believe this was part of the "rod" the RAF lobby used to beat the RN with as a single modern carrier would not have been a credible force and would have required building another two or three to support the EoS policy, which would be an added cost and would threaten their TSR-2 project.

However, as you can see in the transcript of the Q&A I posted, there wasn't a commitment from the government for a CVA-02 - and if memory serves me, the 1966 review which cancelled the CVA-01 project was published in February 1966, meaning this statement from the government that there was no commitment for a second carrier was only a month before the project was cancelled.

Moreover, CVA-01 was never actually ordered and was cancelled a few months before the order would have been made.
LORD CARRINGTON

My Lords, I know the noble Lord does not want to misrepresent facts. That really is not true. There was a perfectly good plan laid down, which would have meant the carrier being ordered this spring.
Taken from:
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lord ... 308_HOL_64

I suggest you read the preceding and following statements, they're quite interesting and enlightening - and are also a reflection that while some things have changed or improved, others have stayed the same.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

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GibMariner wrote: Taken from:
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lord ... 308_HOL_64

I suggest you read the preceding and following statements, they're quite interesting and enlightening - and are also a reflection that while some things have changed or improved, others have stayed the same.
Reading the comments from that Lords debate simply confirms the fact that the government seriously underestimated the capability a 2-3 carrier fleet could provide and seriously overestimated the capabilities of a fleet of TSR-2/F111 (while also neglecting the RAF's unrealistic projected costs and the political difficulties inherent the island bases concept).
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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

On July 30, 1963, Defence Secretary Peter Thornycroft informed parliament that the governments decision was that one CVA carrier would be ordered. Previously the Navy had wanted 4 but that was reduced to 2 by the MoD and then to 1 by the Treasury. Estimated cost 56 million. Speculation was that the Treasury didn't trust the 56 million price tag, hence the restriction to one.

In early 1966, boxes of drawings and specifications were about to be mailed to interested companies in order for them to tender their bids, when the ax fell. The plan was for a successful bidder to be chosen and a firm order placed later that same year.

*Culled from several sources, the most interesting, from a technical POV, being Ian Sturton's article in Warship 2014 with accompanying drawings.

My own view is that a well organized and persistent attack from the RAF did it in. Most shameful and to that services lasting disgrace. Aided and abetted by the turd Healey. I see the new CDS is RAF. Wonderful.

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Re: Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers (CVS) (1980-2014) (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Ron5 wrote:the Navy had wanted 4 but that was reduced to 2 by the MoD and then to 1 by the Treasury. Estimated cost 56 million. Speculation was that the Treasury didn't trust the 56 million price tag, hence the restriction to one.
Interesting. If 3 gave the availability of 1.5, one would have given the availability of ??
- i.e the military utility would have been restricted to offensive campaigns, planned well in advance
- how many did we have in the top drawer, at the time?

Hence ordering one would have been rational only for the purpose of nurturing the capability and ordering more later.
- perhaps the Gvmnt saw 1967 coming
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