back to article HMS Ark Royal goes under the hammer

We at El Reg have always fancied our own navy, so we're seriously considering making a bid for the recently-decommissioned aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. The MoD is offloading the venerable vessel down at, along with Type-42 destroyers HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham. Anyone interested in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    outline your "intentions regarding the vessel"

    Launch her into space!

    oops I have been reading to many LOHAN articles...

  2. nichomach

    Cue Page-ite apoplectic rage... 3...2...1 - MELTDOWN! Oh wait, not meltdown, something that looks indistinguishable from a meltdown but definitely, 100%, isn't, whatever the Japanese say...

    1. nichomach

      Excellent downvote count...

      ...wonder if I can get more?




      That ought to do it...

  3. Anonymous Coward

    One bid received from a

    Liam Fox.

    Intentions - to relocate vessel to Mediterranean coast of Libya to assist in the enforcement of a no-fly zone in Libyan air space.

    Buyer seeks to purchase squadron of Harriers from same vendor

    1. Russell Long

      No Sea Harriers available.

      Gordon Brown scrapped them five years ago. He kept the carrier, of course, because it was serviced at Rosyth, which is the constituency next door to his.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Too true, but you can fly GR5s / GR7s from it. I think they just scrapped GR7s that flew from this carrier. Big FAIL to We now have the Typhoon fighter/bomber that can't do the bomber bit, the lovely but ageing Tornado and no command and control aircraft. :{)

        1. Paul_Murphy

          If you think the Tornado is lovely.

          Research the Buccaneer or, if you want to really depress yourself, the TSR2.

          Or the SR 53/177, or Black Arrow.

          How (any of them) can claim to have our collective best interests at heart really defeats me.

  4. BorkedAgain


    I half-expected it to go up on eBay...

    Actually, no. I just assumed it'd get dismantled slowly somewhere near Cairnryan. Deja vu...

    1. Turtle

      Actually. . .

      Actually, someone - or, rather, company - *did* put an aircraft carrier on eBay, quite a while back now. I do not recall the name of the vessel or any particulars, - - - scratch all that, here is link to a story on a quite-possibly-reputable site, which will inform you better than I can: .

  5. Alister Silver badge

    novel idea

    Dear sir / madam, I wish to purchase your vessel the HMS Ark Royal, to use for home defence and the projection of force abroad, for a small island off the coast of Europe which currently has no naval air presence.

    I understand that you may also have some suitable VTOL / STOL aircraft going cheap?

    1. Conrad Longmore

      It's a good job..

      It's a good job we didn't sell the thing to the Libyans already then..

  6. Sabine Miehlbradt


    to boldly go where it's 5pm already.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's likely the only intention that the MOD will accept is the intention to break the vessel for scrap.

    The worst thing about this story hitting the news (and it's all over the place today) is that will collapse under the onslaught of all the people wanting to see the auction for themselves. As if seeing it somehow makes the story more real. It's a royal PITA for regular users of edisposals.

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson





    M.K, Col. (retd., really I cannot resign because I have no official title)

  9. dotdavid
    Paris Hilton

    Launch platform

    Seeing as it's an aircraft carrier, maybe it can be incorporated into LOHAN somehow? After all you could sail it down to the equator to let the Earth's rotation aid the launch.

    PARIS for obvious reasons.

  10. It wasnt me
    Thumb Up

    Thank goodness.....

    Are your rockall wounds finally healing ? Hatchet buried now :-)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone know where we can get some retired Harriers?

    I have a cunning plan...

  12. Tom_

    Could use it as...

    Space elevator anchor point.

  13. Wizzy

    I'll buy it.

    Intended use?

    For a reasonable fee, I'll loan it to the MoD. I've heard they need an Aircraft Carrier.

    They can pay for any damage done to it, though.

  14. Leona A

    would make

    an excellent house boat! Do you think I'd be able to moor it in the river Exe? The battleship Grey colour scheme will have to go though. And hey, it might actually be cheaper than buying a house (you seen the prices down here?!).

  15. Peter Simpson 1


    I understand they (and the transmission) may be missing. Best to check thoroughly before handing over the cash.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Engines are so last century

      I intend to convert Ark Royal into a floating technology demonstrator extolling the virtues of green power. The large deck area means it may be suitable for rigging a very large area of sails and solar panels. Hanger and below deck areas can display the best of British energy saving and other green technology. It may not end up being very fast, or manouverable but given its large size and radar profile, shouldn't present too much of a hazard to navigation. I intend to fund purchase of said aircraft carrier via a loan from the newly established Green Bank.

      Under no circumstances would I sail it to somewhere in international waters, scuttle it and use it as the centrepiece of any new offshore tax haven.. Unless the Admiralty can advise as to suitably shallow locations outside of existing Exclusive Economic Interest zones. If the Admiralty can, then there may be further opportunities to reduce bid costs of future PFI projects.

      Yours faithfully,

      E. Genius

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Richard Branson

    Bearded billionaire funster, Richard Branson, should buy all four ships, paint them bright red and spend his days larking around the Indian Ocean blowing pirates out of the water, should such folly be his wont.

    He could dress like Cap'n Bligh, sail under the Red Ensign with an all-woman crew dressed in red uniforms (apart from the Daily Mail embedded reporter) and shout "Ahoy there me scurvydogs" at the pirates from the deck before giving the order to fire and singing Rule Britannia at them.

    It's just a shame he couldn't have bought Concorde that time. It would have gone perfectly with the Ark Royal.

    1. 42
      Thumb Up


      I have always thought Richard Branson looks like a pirate captian!

      Just might work!

  17. proto-robbie

    Selling the family silver

    I'm surprised Argentina hasn't put in a bid yet.

    On the bright side: there is at least some visibility of this momentously untimely act, unlike Big Gordie selling our gold at bargain basement prices.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Micro Nation

    I would buy it and tow it into international waters and start a micro nation to get away from being slowly buried under the weight of taxes in this country.

    Oh, and I would use the flight hangar as a warehouse for cheap dvd's,cd's etc to compete with Tescos and Amazon :)

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    I'm guessing

    No Argentinians allowed.

  20. pullenuk


    Hang on. Wont that ship be awesome as a paintball arena? Or even for laser tag?

    1. IsJustabloke
      Thumb Up

      I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

      paintball on the flight deck.... lazer quest in the hanger space....

      2 for 1

      Built in guest accomodation.. catering facilities...

      you know.... its got legs!

  21. David 45

    After-life use

    Novel floating hotel? A few rounds shot off in the morning for an alarm call and a convenient way of launching the mother-in-law off to the shops for the day might be just two of the features that could be offered.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    2 words: Floating Cassino.

    Oh come on. Floating Cassino. Of course, in International Waters. With some clever adaptation, some smaller private planes could land on it, WW2 style, against the wind and all. Some down right kludgery could get you private jets landing on that ski-jump-edged runway. Of course, helicopters would still be there for the faint of heart.

    I heard even a Hercules C-130 landed on one carrier, once. But it was a full-size one, USS Forrestal. "At 85,000 pounds, the KC-130F came to a complete stop within 267 feet" . Let's not forget 460 feet for landing roll, fully loaded. Credits to

    I don't know if they had the 40 knot head wind at all times... but it sure helps.

    On the other hand, if Ark Royal had real steam catapults...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      That was great. I don't feel so bad about landing my FighterAce B-17 on the carriers.

    2. Eddy Ito
      Thumb Up


      Just get rid of that "Joke Alert" icon and it would be a lovely floating casino. Why just park it off the coast of Washington D.C., register it in the Cayman Islands, offer to set up tax free bank accounts and have a helicopter service or three to ferry the folks to and fro right under the noses of the prudish pols. I'd say 12.1 miles should do it as you aren't exploring or using any marine resources so the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone shouldn't apply.

      Now then, shall we set up the poker tables or slot machines on the fantail?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But jet bombers can fly more than 12 miles

        "Just get rid of that "Joke Alert" icon and it would be a lovely floating casino. Why just park it off the coast of Washington D.C., register it in the Cayman Islands, offer to set up tax free bank accounts and have a helicopter service or three to ferry the folks to and fro right under the noses of the prudish pols".

        I'd give it 12 hours before the first air strike.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Don't tempt me...

        of removing the Joke Icon.

        But yes, the Cassino idea is still lovely isn't it? How about 50-50 partnership?

        Oh yes, the poker tables are better in the fantail. The slot machines, either mechanical or electronic , don't agree with salt water.

        Although tempting, what I would really do is to park it smack dab in the Med, write "Bubba Gas 'n 'Grub" (* tm) on the runway and just wait for the Tornado's landing, refueling and rearming, or whatever they must fly all the way from Italy and back.

        ( "Bubba Gas 'n 'Grub" is probably trademark of Blizzard Entertainment.)

  23. Rob


    My wife has just told me no :(

    Guess I'm staying in on the day of the sale then :(

  24. Sean Key

    Top Gear

    Top Gear should buy it, convert an old Ford Escort into a VTOL, thus allowing Jermey Clarkson et al to bomb Libya...

  25. stucs201

    I've been wondering what to do...

    ...with this really big glass bottle I've had lying around. I think I've finally found something to put in it.

  26. Murphy's Lawyer redux

    It is my intention... commandeer this ship, pick up a crew in Tortuga, raid, pillage, plunder and otherwise pilfer my weaselly black guts out.

    1. Guido Esperanto

      leverage says you?

      a change in the wind says I!

  27. Wpgwill

    Perhaps Canada will buy it

    ...After all those leaky British subs were a stellar deal.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Radio Ark!

    The pirate radio scene could make a comeback!

    - Excellent comms equipment and masts

    - Plenty of accommodation

    - Stay at sea for ages

    - Built in runway for supplies and groupies!

  29. Magnus_Pym

    Any engineers answer this?

    Would it be possible to site it in the Bristol channel next to a specially built pier and use the motion relative to the pier due to the tides for power generation? Surely 22,000 tons moving up and down by around 10 metres twice a day must be able to do something.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Nice thinking

      You could probably fit quite a large battery of lead acid cells on the flight deck for power storage too, to smooth the supply/demand.

      Even better, you could store up several days worth and let it go all at once through Weston-Super-Mare. Mwaahahahaha, etc.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Sink it...

    I'd like to sink it off the south coast. Currently the only carrier you can dive on is at Bikini Atol... Wonder how much it is going for...

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Not viewable online

    When visiting the website, it has a link to a Babcock website for ships, which just does a HTTP Basic Auth prompt for username/password.

    No actual site, auction, etc, showing up at all.

    (from Australia anyway)

  32. Adrian Challinor

    On a serious note

    Yes, I know this is el Reg and I am liable to go down in flames, but what the heck.

    How about turning it in to floating data storage hub? Pleanty of below-deck area for racks and racks of disk. Its already hardened against attack, has satellite linkup capability. Then sell space for who ever decides that they don't like the FBI / CIA / NSA / MI5 / MIG/ MOSSAD / FSB (add your favorite list of initials / acronyms here). Keep it in international waters and no-one can touch you. Apply a suitable strong encryption algorithm and they won't be able to read what you are doing with said data.

    Then when plod comes to call with a RIPA warrent for the encryption keys, hand over your pc and ask him to show you wnat part of the PC you want decrypted. Maybe have a small encrypted partition with a really nice random key, which when you give over to forensic investigator and he can find "All your bases are belong to us" in AES1024 !

    Anonymous, because you never know who is reading this.

    Mines the one with Cryptonomicon in the pocket

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least it's portable...

    That's not an aircraft carrier! This is an aircraft carrier:

    1. F111F

      Better Picture to Compare

  34. James Pickett


    HMG could always buy it back under PFI. Since Uncle Gordon kept all the PFI debt off the balance sheet, they still be in notional profit, and think of the fuel they’d save not having to fly to Libya and back all the time...

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