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In 2012 and 2015, respectively, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) will replace its three Invincible-class aircraft carriers with two Future Aircraft Carriers (CVFs), the largest ships ever constructed for the Royal Navy. In preparation for this project, the MOD asked RAND to look at the economic implications, schedule impact, and technical risks of adopting new technologies and alternative manufacturing options. The research described in this report, based on the design and manning data available at the time, focuses on possible reductions in whole-life costs and manpower requirements of the carriers. Concerning reduced acquisition costs-based on figures from various cost analysis models-the researchers suggest options such as using construction practices from the commercial shipbuilding industry plus commercial systems and equipment in place of military standard equipment wherever there is no adverse impact on operations or safety. Regarding personnel cost savings and complement-reducing initiatives, the researchers look towards the practices of private-sector shipbuilding companies and of navies around the globe. Based on this analysis, they recommend, for example, promoting a cross-trained workforce with broad skills and using civilians to augment the ship’s crew for nonwarfare responsibilities. Options for reducing the complement examine the trade-offs of increased up-front investments in technology with the corresponding manpower reductions. As the CVF Integrated Project Team continues to explore its many options, the researchers remain optimistic that, given several factors indicated, the CVF’s targets can be reached.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence. The research was conducted jointly in RAND Europe and the RAND National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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