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davecov

Conversion of RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 to Harrier Carrier

4 posts in this topic

It has been a couple of years or more since I last did a "What-If" but here is one I have just finished for a "What-If" GB. It is a conversion of the Airfix 1/600 RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 to a "Harrier Carrier".

 

The background story is that the Falklands Conflict did not end with the surrender of the Argentine forces on the Falklands but it became a much longer war with Argentina. The Royal Navy found itself in need of more amphibious ships and aircraft carriers. HMS Bulwark was to be brought out of mothballs and recomissioned as a stop-gap but due to her age and poor condition of her hull it was necessary to find another way to fill the gap. It was decided that the QE2 would be dropped from it's role as troopship and converted to a "Harrier Carrier" but with an amphibious dock at the stern.

 

The conversion entails removing all decks above the weather deck, building an island to starboard, building sponsons either side, with davits on the starboard side for landing craft, cutting out a stern dock and fitting a flight deck with lifts.

 

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White metal Harriers and helicopters came from Tumbling Dice. Landing craft were made from plastic card and apart from the Airfix QE2 there are parts from another six Airfix kits.

 

Dave

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Mental, tasty, but still mental

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Cool build!

 

How about this for an alternative history...

 

Designed as a Cunard Passenger liner amid a period of generally falling Atlantic revenues, Project 'Q4' was supposed to be a light 55,000t liner capable of maintaining a 28.5 knot crossing but with half the operating and crew costs of the previous generation ships. It was intended that costs could be recouped by winter cruising, but the yacht-like design for the proposed Q4 limited cabin space (and therefore revenue). The project was heavily backed by the UK government who loaned all the funds for the Q4 project (in 1963 Cunard convinced the government that a 'Q3' project for a conventional 75,000t replacement for RMS Queen Mary was not viable). The keel was laid at troubled British shipbuilder John Browns yard in 1965. As the ship was raised on John Brown's stocks in 1966, Cunard decided that 2-class Atlantic travel was no longer profitable and therefore a slower, much larger single-class cruise liner would be a much more economical proposition. This reality was a disaster for John Browns who in 1964 had just launched its final Naval contract HMS Intrepid and was desperate for the passenger liner to sustain the company. Since then the company had been surviving on cost-even contracts. Clearly, the UK government would not come out of the collapse of the QE2 project well and made sure the project went ahead. However, despite all the consequences, Cunard pulled out of the QE2 project in 1966, leaving QE2's almost completed hull on the stocks. In the turmoil surrounding the cancelling of the project John Brown collapsed leaving the UK government to step in. The same year (1967) the soon-to-be withdrawn carrier HMS Victorious had been unexpectedly withdrawn from service due to a small fire. Coupled with the cancellation in 1966 defence review of the Victorious-replacing Fleet Carrier (CVA-1), the Navy had decided to  abandon fixed-wing carrier aviation and pursue a smaller design. The existing QE2, sitting forlornly on the stocks, and now (to great embarrassment and scandal) re-possessed by the government, would not lend itself well to conversion to a 'proper' aircraft carrier, and coupled with the decision to abandon fixed-wing carrier aviation, the government decided that the ready-made QE2 hull would be an opportunity to sidestep their 'through deck cruiser' programme (estimated delivery 1972), and design a ship to operate a combination of Helicopter and a the future VTOL "sea" Harriers. The commodious hull of the former passenger liner also allowed a degree of assault ship conversion on the model of the Fearless-class ships, allowing a 'task force' deployment of Marines, helicopters and VTOL aircraft. Conversion was extensive and after a long hiatus too place between 1969 and 1972, aluminium superstructure being used  to reduce top-hamper weight. The Q4 hull was launched in 1972 and after testing which sought to correct the rather poor seakeeping associated with the passenger liner hull under combat conditions, was commissioned in 1976 as HMS Queen Elizabeth...

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A wonderful whatif.:goodjob:

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