Aircraft Carriers

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 12th June 2015.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 23 March (HL5737), how many years at sea in aircraft carriers the Head of Carrier Enabled Power Projection has served; and how many years at sea, in aircraft-carrying warships, the Senior Responsible Owners for the Carrier and F35B projects have served.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) is a joint programme, bringing together the Carriers, F-35B aircraft and Merlin Crowsnest helicopters. The Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for CEPP is the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability, who is directly accountable to the Permanent Under Secretary for Defence for the coherent delivery of the overall CEPP capability. The principal skill set required by the SRO is leadership and experience in delivering complex programmes across Defence. Specialist experience of carrier air operations is provided by the individual SROs for the carrier and F35B projects (Royal Navy and RAF respectively), both of whom have significant experience of carrier air operations. The CEPP SRO is also directly supported by a programme director, a Rear Admiral with extensive experience in the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) programme, as well as frigate and air station command, an Air Commodore (Head of CEPP), and a small joint staff with significant maritime, combat air and command experience.

The Head of CEPP is an experienced Air Commodore having served extensively within the joint arena delivering capability. While he has not served at sea in aircraft carriers, his portfolio does not require this. He is responsible for ensuring coherent delivery across the CEPP programme rather than an individual project remit.

The QEC SRO is a Rear Admiral. He has blended his extensive aviation experience with considerable time at sea. He has served at sea extensively in frigates, air defence destroyers, Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and commanded the Royal Navy's largest warship; the helicopter carrier HMS OCEAN. He has also commanded the patrol vessel HMS ANGLESEY conducting fishery protection and the Type 23 frigate HMS SOMERSET. Other maritime commands include the Iraqi maritime Task Group during Operation TELIC and Chief of Staff appointments for two counter piracy missions: operation ATALANTA and CTF 151, which included a deployment in the US Navy Ticonderoga class destroyer USS ANZIO. He spent over two years working for Flag Officer Sea Training as the lead Commander for Warfare and Command. He has recently completed an 18 month appointment as the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander and Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces, based within the USNAVCENT Headquarters in Bahrain. The period spanned operation LUMINOUS from Cyprus, the completion of operation HERRICK and the commencement of operation SHADER in Iraq.

The SRO for the F-35B is an Air Commodore. He is a highly experienced former Harrier pilot whose embarked experience with 3(F) Sqn flying the Harrier GR7 from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS saw him both day and night deck qualified. He also acted as a Landing Signals Officer, responsible for providing critical safety information to both the pilot in the cockpit and the command team during aircraft recovery. This qualification required him to be not only a skilled aviator, but also knowledgeable about broader ship operations. He achieved a total of three months of embarked flying, which was followed by two and a half years as a Joint Harrier Squadron Commander.

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