OK, this is a bit of a fun piece, but also hopefully a thought provoker.
Imagine Indy Ref 2 in March 2019, and it returns a YES vote by 60% to 40%. So the negotiators get to work, and for defence, with the UK deciding it can’t afford to keep the Prince of Wales as well as the Queen Elizabeth, they offer her to Scotland as a laugh. Imagine their shock when Scotland says YES, but throw in some F35-Bs and some Merlins / Wildcats, and it’s a deal. But why?
For defence purposes she sends a very clear message “Wha Daur meddle wi’ me”. But imagine also that Scotland decides to go a more peaceful route than the rUK would tread, and is more interested in providing humanitarian aid, both for natural disasters and for war zones. Some defence of the PoW, renamed perhaps the Princess Anne (PA) would be neccessary hence the F35-Bs and Merlins, plus either a small number of our own escorts, or UN supplied ones. But again, why?
It’s the water, and air drop capabilities. STOVL aircraft can be used for supply drops, and rotating wing for landings in the zone. And as for water, the QE can produce 540 tonnes (175,000 litres) of fresh water a day using reverse osmosis, from seawater. Plus of course she could carry portable units as well for leaving on the ground. It’s enough to meet the demands of up to 1,600 crew and air personnel. But it includes showers and cooking – I guess they could go dirty for a time, happens, and carry much less of an additional complement, and most water sent to the disaster zone. That’s a lot of water, maybe 100,000 litres or more. 2 litres per day? 50,000 people.
Clean drinkable water is desperately needed in most disaster scenarios, in its absence victims drink water that’s – well, let’s not go into that.
So could Scotland take the PA (was PoW)? Perhaps …