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British Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Auction Site

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-in-time-for-christmas dept.

The Military 224

Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports that just in time for the holidays, the British Navy has put the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible up for sale on an eBay-like website. The proud 690-foot warship sailed Her Majesty's seas from 1980 to 2005, and took part in the Falklands, Balkans and Iraq campaigns. The ship underwent a major refit in 2004 but was decommissioned in 2005 with the proviso that she could be 'reactivated' at 18 months notice if a crisis beckoned but over the years her engines, pumps and gear boxes were cannibalized for use in other ships. If interested go to the auction site and put her to your 'wish list,' or add her to your 'cart.' Interestingly enough, the Australian government had originally planned to purchase the ship in 1982 but the Falklands war intervened and in July 1982 the British Ministry of Defence announced that it had withdrawn its offer to sell Invincible and that it would maintain a three-carrier force."

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224 comments

Datacenter (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414012)

Cue floating datacenter posts in 3... 2...

Re:Datacenter (0)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414338)

I hate to see people unhappy at this time of year.....So:

Anybody think this would make a cool floating datacenter?

Potential Buyer (1)

mtinsley (1283400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414028)

I'm guessing China will try to get its hands on it. They've acquired four other aircraft carriers in the past.

Re:Potential Buyer (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414162)

she's too small for the PRC. They're going for carriers easily twice this size. I would have expected india to consider purchasing the ship (as they have in the past) but frankly, the invincible class is small, old and not the sort of thing of interest to the future naval powers. Spain has modernish carriers about the size of invincible, and those would be much easier to buy designs for. Though PRC doesn't need to learn to build carrier systems on this size when they have much bigger russian carriers already, and india is in basically the same situation.

The other thing is this isn't exactly a sale to the highest bidder. Basically the MOD is looking for the best value for the money they can get, and will assess from there. She might be broken up for scrap, if someone can throw together a good deal she'll end up a museum ship (though that would be presumably hard), or any number of other schemes.

Re:Potential Buyer (2)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414236)

Canada will buy it and put it in a mall as an amusement ride. Gotta have something to replace the subs in WEM [wikipedia.org].

-A proud Canadian not afraid to take shots at my own country.

Re:Potential Buyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414340)

The last time Canada bought derelict military equipment from the British, it killed one of our sailors.

Re:Potential Buyer (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414508)

Hope your remaining sailor was unhurt.

Re:Potential Buyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414590)

And it was helicopters.

Re:Potential Buyer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414444)

I'm betting the /b/tards buy it. Imagine the lulz to be had driving that baby down I90.

Re:Potential Buyer (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414612)

They don't need to add to their collection of crappy old carriers, they have enough already. If they want to squander resources on building already outdated 20th century ships, more power to them. The carrier is obsolete in the face of modern supersonic antiship missiles. The last time anyone took a shot at a US carrier was kamikazes. If you're ever in Shanghai be sure to visit the carrier theme park [bobhenneman.info].

Re:Potential Buyer (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414760)

It is useless for anyone who does not have VTOL.

This limits it to:

Britain -does not want it

USA - you gotta be kidding

Russia - it has been successfully getting rid of the comparable Kiev class which is actually slightly bigger as a ship, just with the same size flight deck and the "spare" taken up by heavy missile armament.

China already has Kiev and Minsk which are considerably better fit for a 3rd world navy (if it develops VTOL) because while they have the same length flight deck they can also carry some very heavy missile armament (enough by itself to take out a NATO carrier group without using any of its aircraft). Kiev however is an amusement attraction and Minsk is not a part of PLANavy either. In fact the only "bought" aircraft carrier to end up in the hands of the Chinese Army AFAIK is Varyag which should have been at sea by now if the Chinese are serious about reactivating it.

My guess is that the Invincible will either end up as an attraction in Argentina (revenge is a dish best served ice cold) or sold for scrap or both - sold for scrap to an Argentinian company.

HMS Invincible (5, Funny)

mavasplode (1808684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414030)

Not so invincible now.

HMS Invincible on Top Gear (1)

kale77in (703316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414428)

But pretty cool all the same...

Here was the HMS invincible's appearance on Top Gear when they killed off the first Stig...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eiJkQzpzRc [youtube.com] (3 mins)

Re:HMS Invincible on Top Gear (1)

mavasplode (1808684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414596)

Ah I was just thinking about Top Gear before. I say the BBC should buy the carrier for them. Think of the special challenge episode they could come up with that.

Rip-off (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414036)

Engines - Removed

Generators and Pumps - Generally unserviceable or not working

And I had my hopes up :(

Re:Rip-off (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414380)

Just swap in a big block Ford and a C6 with a shift kit. That always works.

towing costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414072)

Seeing as it doesn't have an engine the buyer would have to factor in towing costs of some description. I would hate to see how much the towing bill would be to somewhere like Australia.

Re:towing costs (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414614)

If it's bought to be used it would only have to be towed to the nearest shipyard willing and capable of refitting it. It's presumably already in a shipyard capable of refitting it, and they might be willing for the right customer and price.

WOOOOO! (5, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414082)

I have an aircraft carrier in my freakin' shopping cart! I'm only two steps away from owning an aircraft carrier! God! I love the freakin future!

Re:WOOOOO! (5, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414108)

Blame amazon for those 2 steps!

Re:WOOOOO! (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414136)

What do you mean? If it were amazon you could 1-click it!

Re:WOOOOOSH! (1)

Trintech (1137007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414230)

What do you mean? If it were amazon you could 1-click it!

Because Amazon patented 1-click shopping they would have to license it from Amazon to offer a 1 click buying option just like Apple has to for iTunes.

Re:WOOOOO! (5, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414322)

Having it in your shopping cart is one thing. I suggest you refresh your screen. Sorry to spoil all your fun. But, while you were busy posting about buying it on Slashdot, to get +5 funny .... I bought it.

I need to get that Harrier Jet from Pepsi now. I think it will make a nice accessory to my purchase.

Re:WOOOOO! (1)

nonguru (1777998) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414342)

What, Neiman Marcus couldn't squeeze this into their Christmas catalogue? Either missed the print run deadline or their clientele were looking for something - say- more upmarket.

Re:WOOOOO! (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414604)

And now to press that "BUY NOW!" button... Hey wait a minu%@5c~ NO CARRIER .

Re:WOOOOO! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414836)

Why are you still on dial-up? You could had bought it quickly before losing your Internet dial-up modem connection! [grin]

An odd object... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414110)

Obviously, anything made of that much steel, and capable of being tugged where you want it, has a floor value as a substantial amount of quality scrap; but I have to wonder if it has much more than that. Given its age and poor condition, refitting it will be fairly expensive and require some expertise. It also presumably lacks any refinements made in carrier design in the past 20-30 years.

Unlike, say, low end armored vehicles, for which there is always demand because even tinpot dictators have even more tinpot rebels to crush with them, aircraft carriers are sort of a "superpower or nothing" weapon. Unless you have the cash to maintain one, the air force to be worth projecting into blue water, and the support/defense/meat-shield carrier group ships to protect the thing, it is nearly useless to you. I would assume, therefore, that your standard "diamond/oil/cocaine/etc. kingpin who buys weapons because his country is a shithole with no internal industry" is basically off the table, unlike the case of some APCs or crates of RPGs or such. On the other hand, even if the ship is actually a good deal for some developing wannabe power, enough military procurement decisions are made as pork/spoils/makework deals that support for just buying the thing, rather than having some native shipyard build one, would seem doubtful, unless a country simply has no such capabilities.

Can anyone think of a buyer, without invoking Snow Crash?

Re:An odd object... (1)

shoor (33382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414180)

I went on a tour of an American carrier that had been decommissioned, the Hornet. One of the guides said the Chinese had wanted to buy it. Maybe the Chinese would want this one if only to study the technology.

Re:An odd object... (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414186)

The UK was building to a budget and dreaming of US supported Soviet sub hunting. The Falklands showed what the Exocet missiles could to to that 'dream'.
As a big support ship for black ops vs a new medium sized amphibious assault ships?
Brazil, India, South Korea, Thailand do like to buy the bigger navy club toys.

Who says it has to be fixed-wing? (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414436)

Can anyone think of a buyer, without invoking Snow Crash?

Sure, if you don't want to use it as a fixed wing carrier. It would be a cheap way of getting a helicopter assault ship (in the mold of the old USN Iwo Jima class). Considering how India has both cultural and economic ties with the UK, and has a history of buying their old warships... see the Indian carriers Vikrant and Viraat... I wouldn't be shocked to the see the Indians snap this up as a helo-carrying assault ship.

Scientologists? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414460)

The Scientologists can buy it, rehab it, and then their "Sea Org" nutters can have a real warship to tool around in...

Re:Scientologists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414584)

do NOT give them ideas.

Re:An odd object... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414710)

The purpose of this is not to sell a carrier, but to get people to visit the government disposal website to purchase something else.

Re:An odd object... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414824)

Plus it's a bit cursed being the last lead of a carrier battle group to lose a ship (HMS Sheffield, HMS Ardent, HMS Antelope, HMS Coventry and MV Atlantic Conveyor)

fallout 3 (1)

Mordie (1943326) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414122)

anyone else make that connection, also floating data centre would be awesome. hell, who wouldn't want to turn one of those into a city, put photovoltic cells all over the tarmac, or floating car show ..... THE POSSIBLITIES ARE ENDLESS

Re:fallout 3 (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414690)

What are you talking about, we do not have floating cars yet.

But anyway, I guess the problem with converting this into a city is that there are no windows, this is a war vessel. Staying below the deck for any length of time would probably not be fun. And it would just be too expensive to run. I think it will come though, floating cities.

The future I always wanted is coming true. (2)

Jookey (604878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414150)

First Google earth then second life then this. Neal I salute you.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414158)

I think I would go with the plane [edisposals.com].

Hubris (0)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414174)

Nothing quite as arrogant as naming a ship "Invincible".

That's like the kids in grade school that come up with "Team Winner" as their team name.

Re:Hubris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414228)

You're an idiot.

Re:Hubris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414650)

No... he belongs to Team Douche.

Re:Hubris (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414270)

Became a traditional name in the Royal Navy after the capture of the French 74 L'Invincible in 1747

Re:Hubris (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414336)

The HMS Pretty-Good-All-Things-Considered was already in service with the Canadian Navy.

Now I see why formalin sensitivity is so common... a little exposure to you and I'm already irritated.

Sad Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414212)

I watched them build Invincible - I was 5 years old when she was commissioned. She left a big gap in the skyline when she sailed.

I can just hear the radio adverts.... (1)

libkarl2 (1010619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414224)

A romantic gift for her this holiday season...

Re:I can just hear the radio adverts.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414284)

but honey, it is so romantic in the Malvinas^H^H^H^H^H^HFalklands this time of year...

Re:I can just hear the radio adverts.... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414290)

Don't be fooled by the boat I got, I'm still Jenny from the block.

Ramp (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414306)

The ramp is kinda neat. How come US aircraft carriers don't have one?

Re:Ramp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414376)

Because our carriers carry real jets, not just Harriers...

Re:Ramp (3, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414432)

What's funny (in a non-humorous way) is that the US attempt to build a jump jet, that the UK plans on purchasing, is way behind schedule, over budget and having all kinds of issues [warisboring.com]. Which makes the Harrier, for all its warts, maybe not look quite as bad.

Re:Ramp (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414448)

The ramp is kinda neat. How come US aircraft carriers don't have one?

The Invincible class is designed to basically fly only one jet aircraft, the Harrier, plus helicopters. Harriers have a very useful quality for aircraft carrier operations: STOVL, or short takeoff/vertical landing. (They can technically take off vertically, but a fully loaded Harrier burns fuel so fast doing so that it's essentially an airshow stunt, not something practical to do for real missions. For the same reason, they tend to do slow landings rather than vertical, though it's not as bad by landing time since the airplane has expended most of its fuel and/or ordnance and is a lot lighter.) By doing a takeoff roll with the thrust nozzles directed partially downward to add some lift, the Harrier can take off at a much lower airspeed (and therefore a much shorter takeoff roll) than conventional jet aircraft of similar weight and engine performance.

It turns out you can shorten the takeoff roll even further if you add the ramp. This is nice if you're making small aircraft carriers on a budget, as the British were.

There are some carriers out there which use ramps for non-STOVL aircraft, but they're restricted to lighter planes with a high thrust-to-weight ratio.

The big US carriers are designed to operate a wide variety of aircraft, ranging from small and light to large and heavy. Not many of them are STOVL. Even with the long deck, the big ones can't possibly accelerate fast enough to be above stall speed before running out of deck. So US carriers use catapult-assisted takeoff instead. If you look at the launch area of the deck, you can see the catapult slots. There's a mating thingy which sticks up through the slot and pushes on the nose gear of an aircraft during takeoff. It's pulled along the deck by some very powerful machinery.

Re:Ramp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414466)

The Invincible only carries helicopters and Harriers. Helicopters take off vertically and Harriers take off vertically or with a short roll, so they can get away with a ramp instead of all the steam catpult and arrestor gear. Heavier or slower planes need catapult assist. Since US ships generally don't have many planes that are small and light enough to take off from a ramp, they all need catapults instead.

dom

not worth much as scrap (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414308)

The article says the ship weighs 10,000 tons. Scrap steel is worth around 15 cents a pound, so the whole ship is only worth around $3M as scrap. They said that they are hoping to get $1.5M for it, but I'm not sure that's realistic after the towing, drydock and labor costs are added in (though I guess if they tow it to some third world country for scrapping, the docking and labor fees would be minimal)

Sergey Brin? (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414490)

Heck, at that price Sergey could refit it so that he could have a "my yacht is bigger than your yacht" game with Steve Ballmer. Steve's yacht is only 126m. This is 210m. That's a lot of m's.

Re:not worth much as scrap (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414504)

Ship breakers in India and Pakistan prefer the ship to have a working engine so it can be sailed [youtube.com] right up to the scrap yard door. It's then broken up with blowtorches and carried to shore by hand.

Cruise Ship! (2)

magister (9423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414324)

A cruise ship company needs to pick this up and add free flyovers of the port cities they visit. I might actually consider going on one of those trips if they launched the flights from the deck.

Not even useful as a Carrier (0)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414326)

The problem with Carriers this small is that they can keep up just about enough birds to protect themselves, but no more. So it has barely any threat projection capability. Obviously this one won't even come with any aircraft, you would have to supply your own.

I guess we could fantasize about some billionaire grabbing this, fixing it up, and flying his personal jet off of it when he needs to dash off to a meeting somewhere, but it seems a lot more likely that it will just be broken up for scrap instead.

Re:Not even useful as a Carrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414424)

I doubt your average Citation has the structural integrity to handle a carrier deck landing.... Nor the thrust to ever get off the deck, even if it did...

But neat idea. :-)

Re:Not even useful as a Carrier (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414450)

Pretty much - especially one this small.

And aircraft on ships are insanely expensive to maintain due to the additional corrosion issues on top of what you mention.

Not that Unusual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414354)

Believe it or not, this isn't that uncommon, I've been involved in the purchase of ex-airforce aircraft, Dry-bulk Carriers and Tankers using crappy shopping cart software. It's not as if you can do it solely online, they're just re-purposing the cart for appointments and the like.

690 foot? (1)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414390)

Come on, how am I supposed to impress my neighbors with a small aircraft carrier like that? I heard they were getting an 1,100 foot supercarrier for Christmas this year.

Private Yacht (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414402)

I work for a company that does work on private yachts and we joke occasionally about their owners continually trying to out-do each other. The first one to buy an aircraft carrier and refit it for private accommodations will win that battle. Though the stuff their building custom is getting close to the length of HMS Invincible!

http://www.yachteclipse.com/ [yachteclipse.com]

Re:Private Yacht (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414456)

Nah, forget private use. I foresee a company fitting it out as a floating shopping mall, towing it around the world but keeping just outside a nations water, that way you can avoid sales tax.

Yeah, a pirate shopping centre, those pirate radio guys told me it would never work, but would would listen to those do gooders (ies).

Oracle should buy it for America's Cup (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414516)

Larry Ellison is an avid sailor and seems to have plenty of money. He'd dump a lot of junk from the ship, and then charge folks a fee for just looking at the ship. A Premium fee will allow folks to actually board the ship. Steering the ship, is right out: Larry is always at the helm.

How can an aircraft carrier not win the America's Cup race?

First mate: "Um, Captain, that Norwegian catamaran is getting ahead of us."

Captain: "Launch an assault team. Fire at will."

Sea Shepherds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414562)

Could you imagine the look on the Japanese whaling fleet if the Sea Shepherds turned up in this next whaling ... sorry "scientific research" season.

If I had the money (1)

eltora49 (1926704) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414582)

If i had the money.. I would buy that baby and turn it into floating nite club.. PS : wonder how many drunk people would fall off and drown annually ...... interesting statistics

1.5million... Floating estate, anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34414806)

Consider this: don't even bother refitting the damn thing for sailing. Just use it as a giant floating estate! These things are designed to carry food and supplies for a couple thousand people for several months at a time- just imagine a couple of families living on it. Half the deck could be covered in dirt to grow food in, the other half used as a runway for a plane to go back and forth to land for supplies (though you could store enough food and water on the thing for like.. a hundred years). A ship that big wouldn't have to worry about much... and you could just drop anchor out in the middle of some ocean and sit there. Utopia, anyone?

Costa Rican Navy (1)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34414822)

Costa Rica is rather famous in Central America for not having a military of any sort. What better gift for a country with no military than an aircraft carrier with no engines, gear boxes, or pumps!

Well, at least the next time they declare war, the enemy will have something to sink.

You see, Costa Rica jumped into WWI by declaring war against Germany and Japan - still, with no army, navy, or air force, mind you - and Germany sent a U Boat to go sink some of Costa Ricas navy. The German U Boat commanders tried to be sneaky and went down and around the cape of good hope and attacked from the Atlantic side - thinking that is where the navy was hiding. Imagine the disgust in that German officers heart when all he found were fishing boats.

Now do you get it?

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