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UCAV carrier the USS Obama?

July 10, 2009

I’ll say I like the UCAV Carrier idea and leave it at that. Here is Thomas Ricks at Foreign Policy.com:

If the global commons (sea, air, space, cyberspace) really is gonna be contested, why does anyone think conventional aircraft carriers and short-legged fighter aircraft are the answer? I think it is time to commission the UCAV carrier the USS Obama, whose hull and aircraft would both be stealthy. With perhaps a crew of fewer than 500 sailors. (Most controllers of aircraft could fly them from Virginia.)

I’ll discuss this concept myself next week. Hat tip to Kiko’s House!

USS_Bill_Clinton

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. hokie_1997 permalink
    May 21, 2010 3:13 pm

    Mike wrote: The usefulness of makeshift ucavs like Predator in the Middle East seems to cry out for naval use. If a handful can do strategic bombing over Pakistan, then a handful should be able to apply close support for the Marines near to shore. Imagine leaving behind the giant CSG and all its logistical baggage for a couple of aviation ‘vettes or a flight deck equipped auxiliary ship! The air admirals would howl but eventually get used to it.

    ****
    They might howl with laughter at the concept. Because as brown-shoes, they understand a few things about aviation. A few points:

    1. The MQ-9s aren’t doing strategic bombing. Air Force B-52s and B-1s do that mission. At best they are doing time sensitive strikes.

    2. MQ-9s require a 5,000 ft runway. As I’ve said many times before – not all UASs are built the same. You might be able to take the pilot off the aircraft but it’s going to be a bit harder to change the laws of aerodynamics. Large payload = large airframe = long runway.

    3. Close air support (CAS) will likely require a different mission set than an MQ-9. Grunts like to be able to talk to the aircrew that are delivering the weapons. And they’d probably like a bit more payload than the 750 lbs that an MQ-9 can carry.

  2. hokie_1997 permalink
    May 21, 2010 2:49 pm

    USS Obama. Pretty appropriate! I can just imagine:

    1. We’d get all excited about the ship they year before it’s keel was laid. Celebrities would come out of the woodwork to endorse it. We’d somehow convince ourselves that it’s better than more tried and true designs, mainly because it looks so good on camera.

    2. We’d have a huge party when the USS Obama get’s commissioned. We’d all pat ourselves on the back for being so forward thinking & progressive to build such a ship.

    3. About a year into its service we’d realize we made a horribe mistake. The ship wasn’t anywhere near as good as we’d thought it was going to be. In fact, it was probably worse than the ship we’d replaced it with.

    4. We’d scrap it after four years of service and vow never to build another one again. But at least we could console ourselves that it was a good experiment and we weren’t closed minded.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 15, 2009 8:25 am

    Yeah, that wouldn’t have been my first choice either. USS Petraeus anyone?

  4. Anonymous permalink
    July 15, 2009 2:32 am

    the USS Gorege W. Bush is a better name as seeing the drone technology really came into the limelight with him….. plus Obama still needs to earn having a ship named after him and running up the deficit is not worthy of that

  5. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 11, 2009 8:49 pm

    West, I think such problems as EMP could be worked out. More urgently I think such craft would be good enough for sundry close support missions currently performed by our few giant flattops, without putting such priceless assets at risk from a hundred dollar speedboat equipped with home-made explosives!

  6. west_rhino permalink
    July 11, 2009 8:05 pm

    Mayhaps with JATO/RATO the fule consumption on launch is not as much an issue as would be satellites vulnerability to EMP clipping the link from the ping jocks in Virginia… three blind UCAVs see where they prang.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:06 pm

    “I really do not see that much potential for UCAV, they are jammable”

    The usefulness of makeshift ucavs like Predator in the Middle East seems to cry out for naval use. If a handful can do strategic bombing over Pakistan, then a handful should be able to apply close support for the Marines near to shore. Imagine leaving behind the giant CSG and all its logistical baggage for a couple of aviation ‘vettes or a flight deck equipped auxiliary ship! The air admirals would howl but eventually get used to it.

  8. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 2:40 pm

    flying from virginia with 200 ping :( poor operators
    the america class can be used as u(c)av carrier, not sooo stealthy and more than 500 sailors though.
    I really do not see that much potential for ucav, they are jammable (at least I’m not too sure they are not) and i wouldn’t like some warplane to fly fully autonomous. maybe i’m old fashioned.
    With a good payload ucav will need long decks as well, to use their endurance they will need more fuel …

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