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British Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Auction Site 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-in-time-for-christmas dept.
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ship in 1982 but the Falklands war intervened and in July 1982 the British Ministry of Defence announced that it had withdrawn its offer to sell Invincible and that it would maintain a three-carrier force."

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British Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Auction Site

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  • by santax (1541065) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:05AM (#34414006)
    Fuck.
  • Cue floating datacenter posts in 3... 2...

    • by Lord Kano (13027)

      If the guy at Sealand could "annex" this, that would be something.

    • by Eraesr (1629799) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @04:24AM (#34414730) Homepage
      Does the bid include free shipping?
      Get it? shipping? eh, nevermind...
      • Does the bid include free shipping?

        Get it? shipping? eh, nevermind...

        Yes. It is delivered at your door in 15,000 standard containers.

    • by h4rm0ny (722443)
      To Hell with a floating datacenter. Give us a floating Data Haven, a lá Cryptonomicon. (That one wasn't floating but the principle was the same). A nice defensible storage for our critical data. It could be the World's first floating, private bank. ;)

      Seriously, we can't discuss what options are viable (data centre, offshore pleasure palace, whatever) until we have some idea of the cost of this thing. There's no reserve price so anyone guesstimate what sort of resale value this thing would have? Are
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        To Hell with a floating datacenter. Give us a floating Data Haven, a lá Cryptonomicon. (That one wasn't floating but the principle was the same). A nice defensible storage for our critical data. It could be the World's first floating, private bank. ;)

        This would be an absolutely terrible idea because anyone with a few thousand dollars to rub together can use existing underwater UAV technology to sink it. It would be the least defensible data center in history.

      • by cide1 (126814)
        Scrap steel is purportedly going for $800 US per/ US ton according to http://www.scrapmonster.com/PricesCharts/Metals/Steel.aspx [scrapmonster.com] I think this is for bare clean steel. I know locally in the US midwest the junk yards are buying scrap steel + iron for $200 US per US ton. Based on this, the 10,000 british ton ship at $200 / ton is worth $2.2 million USD to a dealer who will put a lot of labor into tearing it down. Torn down into just scrap, I would say the ship is worth about $8.8 million. I don't think $
  • by mavasplode (1808684) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:13AM (#34414030)
    Not so invincible now.
  • Engines - Removed

    Generators and Pumps - Generally unserviceable or not working

    And I had my hopes up :(

    • by santax (1541065)
      Hey, but you still get an awesome ramp to skate on!
      • by andi75 (84413)

        Mod parent up. I was wondering why this article isn't tagged 'snowcrash'.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        It could make an awesome skate park and general party place.

        They're only after a couple of million, too. I bet Tony Hawk and Bam Margera could get together and buy it for filming Jackass 4...

  • WOOOOO! (Score:5, Funny)

    by shadowrat (1069614) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:23AM (#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!
  • An odd object... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:26AM (#34414110) Journal
    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... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:42AM (#34414186) Homepage Journal
      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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Are Exocets in the Falklands really a great example? The best they did was to cripple HMS Sheffield, it's not like it even sunk it directly- the Sheffield was afloat for 6 days after being hit but it was the rough seas coupled with the damage and the fact the crew was removed and hence couldn't deal with such problems that eventually took it under. The Atlantic Conveyor, a mere merchant navy ship took two exocets and stayed afloat. Other than the Sheffield they were pretty ineffective, certainly didn't prov

        • Re:An odd object... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by khallow (566160) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @07:07AM (#34415310)

          Are Exocets in the Falklands really a great example? The best they did was to cripple HMS Sheffield, it's not like it even sunk it directly- the Sheffield was afloat for 6 days after being hit but it was the rough seas coupled with the damage and the fact the crew was removed and hence couldn't deal with such problems that eventually took it under. The Atlantic Conveyor, a mere merchant navy ship took two exocets and stayed afloat. Other than the Sheffield they were pretty ineffective, certainly didn't prove to be quite the threat that was presumed and of course, the Invincible never took a hit.

          Apparently, the Exocet would have been more effective earlier in the war, if it had been set up correct. I gather the fuse was set up to penetrate armor while most targets which were hit were unarmored and small. For some period of time, the missiles passed through the target causing little damage.

          By the time, the Exocet was fixed, the UK had air superiority, meaning any (crazy) Argentina pilots had to come in fast and only had one shot at hitting anything.

          • >Apparently, the Exocet would have been more effective earlier in the war, if it had been set up correct.

            I think this is wrong. The Exocet did it's job. The Argentines only had a limited number. (I think 8 or less) by the time the war started. They were also hampered in there ability to search for ships due to equipment maintenance issues. Had they had the missiles en mass and the ability to correctly search for ships, the brits would have been in trouble.

            The bombs going through the ships unexploded

          • by rossdee (243626)

            That wasn't the exocet, that were the dumb bombs.. Quite a few ships were hit in San Carlos Water, and the bombs (dropped at low level and high speed) went straight through the lightweight alloy british frigates.
            The problem with the Sheffield was that she was hit near the control room, and the fire from the remaining fuel set the aluminium structure ablaze.. Even though the missile didn't sink the ship straight away, it did put it completely out of action. Maybe it isn't a smart idea to have the combat cont

        • by NekSnappa (803141)

          A ship doesn't have to be sunk in order for a strike against it to be successful. If it is unmanned and floundering it is still out of the fight.

          The fact that it could be eventually be repaired and refitted only matters in extended conflicts like the world wars.

    • 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.

    • The Scientologists can buy it, rehab it, and then their "Sea Org" nutters can have a real warship to tool around in...
    • by afidel (530433)
      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)
  • First Google earth then second life then this. Neal I salute you.
  • by tumutbound (549414) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:39AM (#34414172)
    I hope it goes cheap, the deck is warped.
  • A romantic gift for her this holiday season...

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

    • Because they don't need it. All USN aircraft either go off via catapult or vertically.

    • Re:Ramp (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:50AM (#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.

      • by GlobalEcho (26240)

        It's pulled along the deck by some very powerful machinery.

        For you cyberpunks out there, note that it is steam machinery.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @02:09AM (#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)

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      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.
      • by afidel (530433)
        That's Paul Allen's yacht not Ballmer's, though I heard that Gates once quipped that he was going to purchase a surplus supertanker and convert it to a yacht just to shut Allen and Elison both up =)
    • 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.
  • If I could afford to have it towed across the atlantic I'd put a bid in :)
  • 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.
  • Apparently a guy named "L. Bob Rife" has put in a bid...

  • 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]

    • by Barny (103770)

      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).

  • It's also the carrier where The Stig was shot off the bow in an earlier series of Top Gear.

  • 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."

  • Will it blend?

  • Maybe Sarah Palin and the tea Party could buy it to launch a strike against any country giving Julian Assange safe harbour [slashdot.org]
  • How else am I supposed to estimate my maximum bid?
  • The thing is basically gutted. Propellers gone, rudder locked, machinery removed or broken, much of the super structure gone, electrics shot to pieces. It's a floating bathtub. I suppose someone could tow it somewhere, a naval museum or whatever and restore it sufficiently for tours. But I expect it's really destined to be scrapped. It's sad in a way. Looking back on WWII it's a shame all the military hardware which ended up just getting scuttled or dumped overboard and the value it would have had if it had
  • Regardless of who the winner is, they will simply be offered 2 to 10 x what they paid to sell it to another bidder. And the ship will end up in China. This is the last thing that the brits need to do. And for the last time that an aircraft carrier was sold this way, it was the Russians and it went to the Chinese for a casino. Never turned up as a casino, but CHina now has several backbones done for an aircraft carrier.
  • Take a good look at her flight deck. This ship is designed for STOL jet aircraft such as Harriers. Conventional jet aircraft such as F14-F16's wouldn't have enough runway to takeoff or land. You could manage a fleet of small Cessnas such as 172/182 aircraft or even aerobatic stuff such as Pit's specials though.

  • It would be a great platform for a Pirate Radio station.

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

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