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Carrier Alternative Weekly

November 5, 2009
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040712-N-7748K-002

Italian aircraft carrier ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C 551).

Yes, we’ve changed the name.

Killer Drones on Aircraft Carriers

Jason Paur at the Danger Room reports on Navy plans to catch up with the other services in the deployment of unmanned airpower:

The Navy’s top admiral told a think-tank audience yesterday he wants more unmanned aircraft in the sea service, and he wants ‘em in a hurry. In particular, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said he’d like a robotic attack aircraft that can land and take off from a carrier. As it happens, I saw a full-scale mock-up of just such a plane a few weeks ago.

The X-47B is expected to make its first flight by the end of the year and could be making autonomous carrier landings as soon as 2011. In the meantime, drone-maker Northrop Grumman decided the show the thing off to the press at Edwards Air Force Base.

It’s no secret that unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming the preferred eyes in the sky and weapons platform for the military when it comes to combat zones. But so far the drones have been limited to operating from established air bases and flying relatively slow and easy, high above the action. The X-47B has the potential to change all that.

This is encouraging news, but the large deck aircraft carrier is hardly the most efficient way to operate such force multipliers at sea. The supercarrier is built for an era requiring multiple sorties, with the ability to launch many squadrons very quickly. In contrast are the UAVs armed with precision weapons, a solitary and deadly seeker in the air, without need of an extended tanker support either. Such a craft just cries out for smaller carriers and motherships, which won’t break the bank but still allow you to deploy new weapons to sea, effectively and affordably.

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Russian Aircraft Carriers? No Thanks!

According to Strategypage, the Russian government is ordering its admirals to look to defend its own back yard with smaller warships, instead of a Blue Water carrier arm:

While Russian admirals have been talking about building six aircraft carriers in the next decade, the president of Russia has recently ordered them to concentrate on smaller ships for the Black and Baltic Seas. The Black Sea fleet has been continually declining since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991…

So the admirals have been ordered to forget about large aircraft carriers, and take care of business closer to home. Corvettes and patrol boats are needed, not carriers.

One more Navy out the carrier race. Heard anything definite from China lately?

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Speaking of Russians Speaking…

Here is Pravda’s take on the recent downsizing of Britain’s planned attack carrier arm:

The British Royal Navy does not exist independently. It is a part of NATO troops and, therefore, is meant to participate in the actions of this block. After World War II, the British aircraft career fleet was the second in the North-Atlantic alliance after the American fleet. However, it was very different.

The US Navy was the basis of NATO troops, whereas the British Royal Navy was an auxiliary.

Americans had Nimitz supercarriers equipped with a hundred planes each. English carriers, such as Invisible, were not competitive since they were only equipped with 20 Sea Harrier fighter jets with a limited actions radius.

Of course, some people in the British Defense Department counted on getting the new aircraft carrier that would revive the British navy superpower.

Although Prince of Wales was more powerful than the existing aircraft carries owned by London, it was still incapable of performing tasks feasible for similar American carriers.

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Hermes/Viraat Back in Action

Here is another tale of “indispensable warships”, where aging veteran ships are forced to remain on the frontlines long past their prime, because their replacements are too complicated or too expensive. Soon India’s sole aircraft carrier will return to service after a refit, according to the Times of India:

INS Viraat is now on the verge of completing its ‘sea-acceptance trials’ and ‘work-up phase’ off Mumbai after an 18-month-long comprehensive refit in Mumbai and Kochi to increase its longevity as well as upgrade its weapon and sensor packages.

Coincidentally enough, the 28,000-tonne old warhorse will also be completing its 50th year as an operational warship this November. Originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes in November 1959, it was inducted into the Indian Navy in May 1987.

I think they have got their money’s worth from this legendary light carrier! Makes you wonder why we don’t just dust off the original building plans, and go from there rather than designing newer and harder to build technology.

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Nuke Carriers Not Cheap

The Navy is currently obsessed with cutting fuel costs, probably to make itself more politically correct to an administration set on cutting waste in the military. We posted on an article from Army vet John T Reed earlier this week, and here is more:

Carriers may be nuclear powered, but their planes are not. That means the carrier has to stop for gas every day. So what’s the advantage of not needing to get diesel or bunker oil for the carrier’s own propulsion at the same time? I’ll bet that over the long run, using diesel or bunker oil as the fuel for the carrier’s own propulsion would cost less than using nuclear reactors.

Then there is the fact that carriers do not operate alone. They operate in a “battle group.” What’s that? A whole bunch of ships whose function is to protect the damned carrier. The nautical equivalent of a hip-hop star’s entourage. And what fuel propels the swarm of protector ships? Nuclear? Nope. They burn old-time bunker oil. So not only does the carrier have to stop at the gas station daily for aviation fuel, all its protector ships also have to stop for bunker oil.

Once again, if the carrier has to keep stopping for fuel, why bother putting a nuclear reactor in it? I think it’s because you can tell the men from the boys by the size of their toys. Nuclear carriers are more impressive toys to a bunch of admirals who want to play “mine’s more powerful than yours.” They also cost more which means more pork for the districts and states of a bunch of congressmen and senators.

The Navy is not interested in reducing the upfront costs of nuclear supercarriers, only in minimizing their lifetime costs, whatever than means for a ship worth $10 billion each. Which is why they will lose all eventually because they can’t bend a little now, seeing it was costs, not the torpedo bomber which finally sank the all-gun battleship for good.

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The Great Asian Aircraft Carrier Race

Don’t be too focused on the giant ships supposedly appearing in Asian shipyards lately. I’ll explain after I offer details of the future programs via Devindra Sethi at UPI Asia:

  • India-The INS Viraat has recently been refitted in India and should see active service till 2015, while the 45,000-ton INS Vikramaditya is being refitted in Severodvinsk, Russia and should commence trials in 2011. The new Vikrant class aircraft carriers are the Indian Navy’s first to be fully designed and built in India by Cochin Shipyard. Work on the lead vessel commenced in 2008 and is scheduled for launch in 2010.
  • China-Photographs have been taken of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, purchased by China in 1998 and repainted in the colors of the PLA Navy, in a dockyard in the northeast port city of Dalian…Intelligence reports indicate that China also plans to construct two new aircraft carriers in a shipyard in Shanghai. Apparently the ships will be similar to the Varyag, with nuclear propulsion.
  • Japan-is building Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers, which are essentially 18,000-ton amphibious warfare ships that carry only helicopters.
  • Australia-The Australian government has also taken the bold decision to reacquire aircraft carriers and has placed orders for two Canberra-class ships…The Canberra-class ships, which are similar to India’s INS Viraat, are expected to be in service from 2014.
  • South Korea-In 2007 South Korea commissioned an 18,600-ton “air warfare destroyer” equipped with the AEGIS system imported from the United States. This has amphibious capability and presently operates only helicopters. The South Korean Navy will reportedly acquire four of these Dokdo-class ships in the near future, primarily aimed at the North Korean navy. (I think the author mistakenly inserted the new Sejong the Great Aegis missile destroyer into the list, but the rest is correct).
  • Russia-is reportedly purchasing a Mistral-class amphibious ship from France. It has been operating the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov for many years, and has deployed the ship and its fighter wing of SU-33 aircraft in European waters and the Mediterranean Sea. It also successfully tested the naval variant of the supersonic MIG-29 KUB from the Kuznetsov in 2009.

Sadly, we think this current naval race is leading the continent and surrounding countries on the road to ruin. Recalling the equally expensive dreadnought races of the last century, these giant vessels invoke much national pride as well as jealousies. When war does come, these mighty symbols of national wealth generally scurry for cover since they are too precious to lose or place in harms way (otherwise they are taken out early because of battle damage or destruction), leaving the smaller warships, especially destroyers and submarines to fight it out on the high seas. History, then, comes full circle.

Before they take this road to fashion USA Lite navies, here is some helpful advice from William Lind:

It is of course a pity that the U.S. armed forces are the Typhoid Mary of military models. Like that deadly Irish girl, we present an attractive appearance. Our vast resources and fancy gear overawe other countries and lead them to want to copy us. Regrettably, like Typhoid fever, the Second Generation culture embodied in the U.S. military is a fatal disease. It leaves its victims helpless against Third or Fourth Generation opponents.

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2013 12:23 pm

    I want to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly
    enjoyed every bit of it. I’ve got you book marked to check out new stuff you post…

  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 8, 2009 4:02 pm

    Tarl what you are saying here is even if you have only afford one naval aircraft, you would still need a 1000 ft, 100,000 ton platform to launch it from? This is amazing and certainly why we are on a death spiral. Statistic like this is what is making the carrier obsolete, faster than the new weapons.

    But new alternatives are making the fixed wing superfighter you mentioned less essential. Manned jets are still needed, but they are increasingly sidelined by missiles, drones, ect, so our budget should reflect this change accordingly.

    Decades without another carrier adversary should have told us something, that we can manage without Big Decks. Oh, sure, the world is building giant ships NOW, just as technology makes them unnecessary. Its 1939 all over again.

    Also Tarl said “There is no prospect that we’ll have to fight a “real” naval opponent for decades.”

    Famous last words, like the British who once said they would never fight another war without the US. Also, the USA which once vowed never to fight another land war in Asia.

    But you are partly right, there is nothing wrong with a Navy contending with land powers, or building ships for this purpose. This should not be your ONLY strategy, to the detriment of other essential functions of a seapower. It is sad when your shipbuilding budget is geared toward competing with the Air Force and Army (duplicating their roles) just so you have a better piece of the pie when funds are passed out.

  3. Tarl permalink
    November 8, 2009 12:20 pm

    The admirals consistently dust off these tired studies, produced when we only fight against land powers, even land-locked nations, that have no lessons for fighting a real war at sea.

    Um, we’re only fighting against land powers now. There is no prospect that we’ll have to fight a “real” naval opponent for decades.

    But, if you did want to fight a “naval” opponent, the “lesson” of these studies would be exactly the same: aircraft size and speed determines flight deck length determines carrier size. A navy with smaller carriers and VTOL aircraft will get its clock cleaned by a navy with larger carriers with catapult takeoff / arrested landing aircraft every time.

    Once again, the purpose of fighting a “real war at sea” is to secure command of the sea so that you can influence the land.

    There is nothing wrong or illegitimate in having a Navy that can fight land powers.

  4. Tarl permalink
    November 8, 2009 12:15 pm

    Pre-JDAM, pre-uav, a year after the Falklands and the combat debut of V/STOL.

    Sigh. What the aircraft carries (JDAMs or dumb bombs) does not alter the fact that the size of the aircraft and the speed of takeoff and landing determines the size of the flight deck and thus the size of the carrier.

    Nor does whether or not the aircraft is manned or unmanned affect the equation: a large, jet powered UAV like UCAS requires exactly the same sized flight deck as a large, jet-powered manned aircraft like a Hornet.

    VTOL allows you to have a smaller carrier, but the tradeoff is that the carrier carries a smaller number of inferior aircraft. In some situations and for some countries that is acceptable. If the concern is enemies armed with ASCMs, then you want aircraft with longer range so that the ship can stand off out of the enemy threat envelope – and that longer-range aircraft will not be VTOL.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 7, 2009 5:30 am

    Tarl said “Even though it was written in 1983”

    Pre-JDAM, pre-uav, a year after the Falklands and the combat debut of V/STOL. Before the combat debut of Tomahawk cruisers missiles in the 1990s. The Navy must get with the times or we end up with a fleet of only one 200,000 ton supercarrier and an LCS the size of a battleship.

    The admirals consistently dust off these tired studies, produced when we only fight against land powers, even land-locked nations, that have no lessons for fighting a real war at sea. Meanwhile the fleet gets smaller, the sailors work harder, while the ships get pricier and harder to build . It makes no sense. It is a death spiral we can’t win.

  6. Tarl permalink
    November 6, 2009 10:00 pm

    Then we are in trouble. If only 100,000 ton decks can launch the handful of UCAS planes we need at any one time, then the whole concept of naval airpower is obsolete. But I disagree with both assumptions. the navy has hoodwinked everyone into thinking light carriers are an inefficient way to launch airpower but I disagree and have said so. Large deck carriers are a terribly inneficent way to perform such missions, especially in the precision age when giant airwings not required to destroy a target from the sea.

    You really, really, really need to read Friedman’s history of carrier design before you talk about this subject. Even though it was written in 1983 it has abundant information why carriers are the size they are, and, not to put too fine a point on it, why you’re consistently wrong on this subject. Of particular interest is Chapter 15, Return to the Small Carrier: CVV 1972-78. The Carter administration studied “smaller, cheaper” carriers and didn’t like the answer it got, and the laws of physics haven’t changed a lot since then. The short answer is (see p. 271) that aircraft launching and landing speeds determine catapult length, which determines flight deck length, which determines hull length. After that, how big the carrier is depends on how much speed, cruising radius, protection, and ordnance / fuel load you want to carry. So, the Navy isn’t “hoodwinking” anybody – the basic facts of engineering will get you to the same place every time.

    Where does your assumption that we “only need a handful of UCAS” come from, anyway? And who says “large air wings are not required”? Basically you are assuming what you’re setting out to prove, and it’s wrong anyway.

    I think the UAV’s own persistence negates this need,

    Persistence does not increase bomb load. If the need is to deliver a lot of bombs, persistence does nothing for you.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 6, 2009 11:48 am

    “we still need to put large numbers of aircraft over targets for long periods to drop lots of bombs.”

    I think the UAV’s own persistence negates this need, and the Navy isn’t there yet. When they get there, barring complete bankruptcy first, they will see the light.

    But you mentioning Iraq, and there’s also Afghanistan. What an awful waste of resources on such poor, backward countries. If we are stretched to the limit fighting the Third World, what will fighting a peer threat be like?

  8. B.Smitty permalink
    November 6, 2009 10:56 am

    Mike, I won’t entirely disagree with you, however big carriers still win in terms of generating sorties.

    I know you discount the need to generate large numbers of sorties, but recent conflicts have shown that even in the age of precision weapons, we still need to put large numbers of aircraft over targets for long periods to drop lots of bombs. Carrier air flew 4,900 strike sorties during OEF, dropping some 4,600 munitions. And this wasn’t even against a 3rd rate power like Iraq.

    Numbers still matter.

    Btw, de Gaulle participated in OEF with a whopping 16 Super Étendards (vs ~48 fighters on a Nimitz class).

  9. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 6, 2009 10:13 am

    38,000 tons versus 100,000 tons?

    I would say, definitely light! Leave off the nuclear power which is too expensive, and probably buy 2 for the price of one. I know the USN likes to say 1 nuke carrier is more cost efficient over time than a conventional ship, but that will do you little good in the missile age if your nuke carrier is sunk or in port with battle damage.

  10. B.Smitty permalink
    November 6, 2009 10:04 am

    Mike said, “There you go. Light carriers!

    At 38,000 tonnes empty, Charles de Gaulle isn’t exactly “light”.

    PA2, at 70-75,000 tonnes, definitely won’t be (if built).

  11. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 6, 2009 9:54 am

    Smitty said “Of course there’s nothing fundamentally stopping you from flying X-47s off of a smaller CATOBAR carrier like the French PA2 or Charles de Gaulle”

    There you go. Light carriers!

  12. B.Smitty permalink
    November 6, 2009 8:51 am

    Mike said, “Then we are in trouble. If only 100,000 ton decks can launch the handful of UCAS planes we need at any one time, then the whole concept of naval airpower is obsolete. But I disagree with both assumptions. the navy has hoodwinked everyone into thinking light carriers are an inefficient way to launch airpower but I disagree and have said so. Large deck carriers are a terribly inneficent way to perform such missions, especially in the precision age when giant airwings not required to destroy a target from the sea.

    Only CATOBAR carriers will be able to launch X-47s. One could speculate as to a future STOVL UCAS that could fly off of a ski-jump carrier, but no such program exists, to my knowledge.

    (Note to Mike: A-160s, while interesting, are still 160kt helos which will burn most of their gas on a long, slow transit to and from a distant target area. They will have different capabilities to the fixed wing, stealthy X-47. One can’t replace the other.)

    Of course there’s nothing fundamentally stopping you from flying X-47s off of a smaller CATOBAR carrier like the French PA2 or Charles de Gaulle.

  13. B.Smitty permalink
    November 6, 2009 8:44 am

    D. E. Reddick said, “I believe that Mike is complaining about the politically correct terminology used in designating the Canberra-class aviation warships as LHDs. They do have those 13 degree ski-jumps installed in the bows (got F-35Bs, can launch). It would be more honest to assign them the designation of something like CVLD, rather than LHD.

    It is perfectly honest to assign them a designation befitting their role – as LHDs. They are designed to perform amphibious operations, not fly carrier air wings. After all, the Aussies don’t even have plans to buy F-35Bs or used Harriers.

    The ski jump and flexible internal arrangements gives the Canberras the ability to act as STOVL carriers, but they aren’t optimized for the task.

  14. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 6, 2009 6:11 am

    Tarl said “If you’re talking about UCAS and not drones in general, then the large deck carrier is the ONLY way to operate it.”

    Then we are in trouble. If only 100,000 ton decks can launch the handful of UCAS planes we need at any one time, then the whole concept of naval airpower is obsolete. But I disagree with both assumptions. the navy has hoodwinked everyone into thinking light carriers are an inefficient way to launch airpower but I disagree and have said so. Large deck carriers are a terribly inneficent way to perform such missions, especially in the precision age when giant airwings not required to destroy a target from the sea.

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/debunking-aircraft-carrier-myths/

    No, I am not against the Aussies having a carrier, as long as it doesn’t take away from other vital resources such as submarines and surface combatants. I was just stating the obvious, that any type of aviation capable warship is a boost to a navy’s ability.

  15. November 6, 2009 5:48 am

    Alex 2.0, the ski jump on Oz LHDs is ‘down and welded’ no matter what. Apparently the story is it was too expensive to remove (buying off the plans). Whatever.

  16. - Alex 2.0 permalink
    November 6, 2009 12:41 am

    The Ruski has it wrong, Vincy class was perfect for Britains requirements towards NATO(sacrificing her own needs in the process), not an Auxillary in the slightest, no-one in the world was more equiped for ASW in the cold war than the RN

    Whitehall still haven’t ruled out commissioning QE and PoW with cats and arrestors, such a move would have the RN undisputed at no.2 (although it is highly likely that the RN is set to lose the luxury of 4 AVCAP ships as carriers the size of QE with a complement of less than 1500 including air wing WILL be carrying lots of Bootnecks, never mind the call me dave’s wanting to re-form four-one Commando, we’ll need four-four aswell[four-three technically still exists]! [BTW: I wouldn’t complain if anyone argued for four-six through four-eight aswell!])

    Australia will probably not get any F-35b and Canberra will probably not have a ski-ramp even if they do a token force of 4-6 STOVL aircraft does not represent an aircraft carrier

    JMSDF/ROKN CH/CGH/DDH/CVH/LPHs are not carriers, they’re amphibs at best

    Chinese efforts, I’d be suprised if anything materialises in the next 10 years even then what sub-standard aircraft will they travel the globe with?

    Russia, 6 is too much, although I think in the not too distant future we may see a RFN with 3-4 STOBAR carriers with a far more global capability than Kunetsov (more of a regional supercarrier than anything else)

  17. November 5, 2009 11:18 pm

    Good info about LHDs for Australia here: http://www.armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/ArmadaEspannola/conocenos_modernizacion/prefLang_en/02_jc_i–04_perfil_mision_es

    Guess “The Canberra-class ships, which are similar to India’s INS Viraat” was meant to have included “size” to read “The Canberra-class ships, which are similar size to India’s INS Viraat”.

    BTW JSF-B “Daves” are safe for now: http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=11101

    “Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    Both the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales aircraft carriers will be able to carry the joint strike fighter (JSF) according to defence equipment and support minister Quentin Davies.”

  18. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 5, 2009 7:38 pm

    Tarl,

    I believe that Mike is complaining about the politically correct terminology used in designating the Canberra-class aviation warships as LHDs. They do have those 13 degree ski-jumps installed in the bows (got F-35Bs, can launch). It would be more honest to assign them the designation of something like CVLD, rather than LHD.

    If the USS America (LHA-6) acquired a ski-jump ramp in her bow, then that designation should be changed to CV/A-6 (that new class of LHAs is little bit too large to reclassified as any sort of CVL – IMHO – and cannot receive the -olde- designation for attack carriers – i.e., CVA).

  19. Tarl permalink
    November 5, 2009 7:03 pm

    the large deck aircraft carrier is hardly the most efficient way to operate such force multipliers at sea.

    If you’re talking about UCAS and not drones in general, then the large deck carrier is the ONLY way to operate it. There is no VTOL version of UCAS so you need to do cats and traps with it like any other large, fixed-wing aircraft.

    The supercarrier is built for an era requiring multiple sorties, with the ability to launch many squadrons very quickly. In contrast are the UAVs armed with precision weapons, a solitary and deadly seeker in the air, without need of an extended tanker support either. Such a craft just cries out for smaller carriers and motherships,

    What exactly do you mean by “smaller”? 50 to 60,000 tons? Those aren’t much cheaper than a CVN.

    That Army guy yapping on about nuclear power is only exposing his own embarrassing ignorance.

    DE said “The good folks from Oz aren’t calling their new aviation ships CVs. Instead, they’ll be LHDs.”

    Not surprising seeing it is not a political correct term, invoking images of power projections and risk them becoming USA-lite. But the fact remains “if it looks like a duck and quack likes a duck”…

    I’m all confused now. I would think that what the Aussies are buying is a “smaller” carrier, which you consider a good thing. Yet you seem to think it is bad. What is it about the small Australian carrier that you don’t like?

  20. Matthew S permalink
    November 5, 2009 3:05 pm

    “I’m a bit appalled that the Australians are fielding such in important ship without giving it the protection of even a CIWS.

    I suppose if they have soildiers embarked they can have them man the rails with their MANPADS”

    I think its at Mistral level of air defense. I cant believe Western navies commission such large, important ships with minimal armament. Actually, this is less than minimal. Minimal defensive armament would include 2 phalanx. Also, there are only going to be 3 Hobart destroyers. So 1/3 is already tethered to this defenseless ship.

  21. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 5, 2009 2:29 pm

    Chuck,

    The four Typhoon mounts of the 25mm Rafael Stabilized Deck Gun (Naval Bushmaster M242) are semi- or quasi-CIWS gun systems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Weapon_System

    I do think that the RAN would be better served by installing at least two RAM launchers, several VLS cells with ESSM quad-packs, and perhaps two or three GoalKeeper CIWS 30mm gun systems. And also keep those four remotely controlled Typhoon mounts for dealing with small boat threats. USN LHDs and the new USS America (LHA-6) class are similarly armed with a layered defense of ESSM, RAM, Vulcan Phalanx CIWS, 25 mm chain-guns, and .50 caliber M2HB machine-guns.

  22. James Daly permalink
    November 5, 2009 2:23 pm

    ironic that Viraat, which the RN sold off as HMS Hermes, is still going strong while we struggle to get to grips with our own carrier problems.

  23. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 5, 2009 1:51 pm

    I’m a bit appalled that the Australians are fielding such in important ship without giving it the protection of even a CIWS.

    I suppose if they have soildiers embarked they can have them man the rails with their MANPADS

  24. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 5, 2009 1:44 pm

    Recently read a story about why the Japanese use of the DASH drone helicopter was successful while the American use was not, and I think it might tell us something about how reintroducing attack UAVs might develop in the US Navy, and why they may not find a home on CVNs.

    http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/11361/t/Question-about-Gearing-class-FRAM-destroyer-s-flight-deck.html

    The Japanese flew DASH for years after the Americans had given it up because the American version used an encrypted control signal required because ours had a nuclear depth charge delivery capability and because in the US Navy environment the pilots were afraid to share air space with it.

    The possibility of a mid-air, or of a UAV going out of control and crashing into aircraft parked on the deck of a CV, are certainly less now, but those possibilities still exist and it’s going to make people nervous.

  25. November 5, 2009 1:12 pm

    Mike,

    Yeah, the Canberra-class LHDs will be larger at 27,851 tonnes (30,700 short tons) for full load than the last RAN carrier HMAS Melbourne (standard displacement of17,630 short tons; full load at 22,000 short tons). Recall that HMAS Melbourne was sold for scrapping to a Chinese company and then spent some time being studied by the PLAN.

    The airgroup for Canberra-class LHDs is projected to be 16 to 24 helicopters. But since a 13 degree ski-jump is being installed at the forward edge of the flight deck, then some number of F-35B JSFs could also be embarked.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2009 1:07 pm

    “if it looks like a duck and quack likes a duck”

    Yes but we know better don’t we? Self-propelled artillery pieces have tracks, turrets, and a big gun but they aren’t tanks, are they?

    Getting a jet aircraft (even with catapult assistance) off a deck needs ship speed. There is a reason why true carriers are capable of speeds in excess of 25kts. Compare the Cavour with the Juan Carlos. Just because the USMC launch the Harriers off LHDs doesn’t mean it is the optimal solution. Remember the Harriers are of secondary importance to the embarked helicopter force. The ship is optimised for them not the Harriers.

    Now I know you have copy of DK Brown’s book “Options for a Medium Navy” I suggest you go and read it again. He is very distinct on his interpretation of of the terms aircraft carrier….

  27. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 5, 2009 12:50 pm

    DE said “The good folks from Oz aren’t calling their new aviation ships CVs. Instead, they’ll be LHDs.”

    Not surprising seeing it is not a political correct term, invoking images of power projections and risk them becoming USA-lite. But the fact remains “if it looks like a duck and quack likes a duck”…

    This is why we urge the Asians to think twice before heading down this road.

  28. November 5, 2009 12:08 pm

    Chuck,

    The good folks from Oz aren’t calling their new aviation ships CVs. Instead, they’ll be LHDs. The two ships (Canberra [LHD 01] & Adelaide [LHD 02]) are being built to a modified design of the Spanish LHD Juan Carlos I (L61).

    LHD 01 HMAS Canberra-class

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra_class_large_amphibious_ship

    Juan Carlos I (L61)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buque_de_Proyecci%C3%B3n_Estrat%C3%A9gica

  29. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2009 11:59 am

    “This the first I’ve heard of the Australian plans.”

    They are buying the Juan Carlos design; it is a LHD not an aircraft carrier.

  30. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 5, 2009 11:27 am

    Description of the Hyuga class “DDH” is incorrect. It is not an amhib at all, it is more like the Invincible. The S. Korean ship is an LPH and does not have Aegis.

    The Japanese are also planning a true CVL, while calling it a DDH. It will be 248 meters in length (about 818 ft) with a full load displacement of about 27,000 tons. It will be similar in size to the Italian Cavour or the USS Enterprise (CV-6) of WWII.

    This the first I’ve heard of the Australian plans.

  31. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2009 10:41 am

    That was a dumb post about nuclear carriers and fuel. If you look at how much fuel a vessel of that size needs you would need to add an extra 8 (large) oilers (can’t check my figures I am in a hurry.) A ship uses twice as much at 30kts as when doing 20kts. You need wind across the deck to help with aircraft operations. The nuclear carriers can steam up and down at 30kts all day this is where they gain that extra dimension of utility. Sure you could do a two station RAS for bunkers and avcat but why? Use the tankers for avcat. Such a dumb post.

    Thanks for the pick of the Garibaldi, one of my faves.

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