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Dept. of Silly Ideas

This title a misnomer. It all began with the idea for “submarine gunboats“, which the inventor felt was a “silly idea”. New Wars recalls other weapons systems such as guided missiles, submarines, robot-planes, and tanks, which were once just the stuff of sci fi, considered by military experts as sheer of fantasy. Now these ideas from bright and far-seeing thinkers are the back-bone of modern militaries, yet for such forces to stay relevant they must endure constant change. Here is a chance for you to prophesy the up-and-coming tools of future war, or alternatives for current wars, with your own silly ideas, whether its flying aircraft carriers, swimming aircraft, or robot tanks, all of which may yet see the light of day!

340 Comments leave one →
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  3. November 17, 2015 4:58 am

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  4. April 10, 2015 2:53 pm

    that’s what i had been contemplating ninth of nov wasn’t outside of this world

  5. November 17, 2014 2:47 am

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  9. September 3, 2014 6:45 am

    I do believe all of the ideas you have introduced to your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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  14. Atontavistipt permalink
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  18. T Norman permalink
    May 21, 2013 3:43 am

    Maybe they could use high grade X-Ray scanners like the ones they use to scan trucks for people smuggling to scan aircraft and other machinery for damage or faults. It could improve maintenance times by knowing exactly what to work on and what needs to be done before you pull the thing apart, sortie rates could be increased due to reduced maintenance and the safety and reliability of machinery would increase as all internal components can be easily guarentied to be in full working order.

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  20. January 23, 2013 3:57 am

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  23. Michael permalink
    April 1, 2012 2:24 am

    Floating Naval bases.

    We currently use remote islands like Diego Garcia, Okinawa and Guam for a lot of our forward basing in parts of the world far from US shores. This has the disadvantage of limited space, political headbutting with locals and/or limited utility for the theaters we’re actually in. What if, instead, we built floating cities that could be left in place indefinitely?

    Several years ago, a proposal was made for a portable air field that could be floated into place to serve a particular theater–aircraft carrier on steroids meets logical conclusion of sea basing. If any of you read James Cobb’s books, you might recall he used it his 3rd book, SEAFIGHTER.

    Appropriate for this thread all by itself. They would make long-term deployments of aircraft and/or small water craft easier in the places where they’re needed. They would be expandable just by hauling in more copies and wouldn’t take up space needed by civilians–if, indeed, there are any civilians around.

    Take this idea to a higher level, still, though. What about situations- like the ones mentioned at top- where the deployment is measured in DECADES? You could consign yourself to decades of wrangling with the locals and hoping you don’t outgrow the island, or you can build a floating city with decades of float time, indefinite expandability and a better location. The islands can then be turned into recreation or support facilities or just sold to the locals and abandoned altogether.

  24. January 29, 2012 12:28 am

    The US spending as much as the 8 next leading military spenders instead of the 16 next leading military spenders, I guarantee no one would f*ck with them.

  25. Alexander permalink
    December 19, 2011 5:47 pm

    Piezoelectricity would be a secondary power source to the AIP system, so it would simply be producing power whenever there was a change in pressure, which would occur all the time. Pressure changes would occur when changing depth, when maneuvering, and from wave action.

  26. Kurt permalink
    December 16, 2011 1:07 pm

    I should have added emphasis that my last suggestion is a submarine gunboat (and my arsenal ship the true replacement of the much adored battleships). :)

  27. Kurt permalink
    December 16, 2011 1:04 pm

    The piezoelectricity submarine has one problem, it must change the pressure on the crystalls/ceramics in order to obtain electricity. Now moving up and down requires what? well, it requires energy and unfortunately there’s no perpetuum mobile in sight.

    I suggest to replace vertical missile launches and artillery with a vertical electromagnetic elevator that brings missiles to high speeds and great height without them using their own propellant. afterwards the missiles can use their own propellant/base bleed and glide down to hit the target. Such a system is fixed to the ship(/tank) and requires no moveable turret, allowing for a structure that can handle much more energy and power transfer and the missiles/rounds launched from this engine can still target 360° at any distance with great precision. Such an acclerator allows for a more efficient use of energy from large Carnot engines comapred to gunpowder, rockets or cruise missiles, so more explosives can be carried by the ship and brought to a greater range. Especially thrust engines like rockets and cruise missiles benefit from the increased efficiency due to initial speed before ignition and missiles can be put into the air much faster than with the current tubes because you don’t have to deal with exhaust gases close to the ship.
    The arsenal ship in my opinion will likely be realized with this concept, but I also envision conventional powered guided missile submarines with such an equipment that will lurk, wait and launch a convoi/carrier group destructing barrage with the help of UAV reconnaisance. So the question of sea control will become ever more pressing.

  28. Joe permalink
    December 14, 2011 7:39 pm

    Building on what I said in “breaking news” back on June 1, I still think you’d make a good choice to start the successor/companion site to this one, Scott B, if you have the interest + time to do it.

    If that seems like a “silly idea”, then so be it ;)

  29. Scott B. permalink
    December 13, 2011 11:59 am

    Smitty said : “Wonder if you could operate Vigilance pods from fighter aircraft? Turn them into “combat AEW” platforms.”

    In a less *exotic* vein, Vigilance pods on a BA609 tilt-rotor would make for an interesting AEW combo…

  30. Alexander permalink
    December 12, 2011 2:14 pm


    Is producing electricity from pressure using some forms of both natural and man made crystals and other man made ceramics that also have piezoelectric properties. In some applications thousands of volts can be generated, and I am thinking that a submarine could have a band of these things built right into the hull, and use the power, along with a fuel cell AIP system to power a conventional submarine for extended periodes of time. It’s possible that a lurking sub, travelling at just a few knots could operate almost indefinitely. If one can use pressure to generate electricity where would this be more applicable than in a submarine?

  31. December 6, 2011 5:22 am

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  32. Scott B. permalink
    December 1, 2011 1:26 pm

    Smitty wrote : “Good to see the ol’ NewWars is still kicking. ;)”

    And might even hit the 1,500,000 mark before New Year ;-)

  33. B.Smitty permalink
    December 1, 2011 12:37 pm

    Wonder if you could operate Vigilance pods from fighter aircraft? Turn them into “combat AEW” platforms.

  34. B.Smitty permalink
    December 1, 2011 12:20 pm

    Good to see the ol’ NewWars is still kicking. ;)

  35. Scott B. permalink
    December 1, 2011 4:20 am

    (tags fixed)

    Lockheed Martin UK offers Vigilance AEW system to Malaysia

    By: Craig Hoyle London
    02:32 24 Nov 2011

    Malaysia’s long-held requirement to field an airborne early warning (AEW) capability will see Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems formally launch a product in the country in December.

    Dubbed “Vigilance”, the system combines mission equipment developed for the UK Royal Navy’s AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HM2 multi-role helicopter upgrade with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology provided by Northrop Grumman.

    The latter draws on the company’s APG-80 radar developed for the Lockheed F-16 Block 60 fighter and the APG-81 scaleable agile beam radar, being offered as an upgrade option for earlier versions of the type.

    “We bring the same performance as a fighter radar, although it will be an APY- [AEW sensor] in function” said George Riley, Northrop’s manager for surveillance systems business development.

    Vigilance sensors will be mounted in self-contained pods and be capable of supporting tasks such as AEW, fighter control, and maritime and border surveillance, said Neil Morphett, system solutions engineering group manager for Lockheed Martin UK.

    “We are aiming to be as minimally disruptive to the aircraft as possible. We just need power on the aircraft and a hard point for mounting the sensor,” he added.

    Each pod will contain its own cooling system and other equipment, while a system interface panel will allow for the rapid integration of additional sensors, such as an electro-optical/infrared camera. Pod installation should take less than 4h, Morphett said.

    Carrying one pod mounted on either side of its fuselage, a medium utility helicopter such as the Mil Mi-17 would be able to provide 360° radar coverage, with each AESA sensor’s field of regard being expanded by the use of using a mechanical positioner.

    Other potential host platforms could include the Airbus Military CN-235 and Lockheed C-130 transports, with these to be equipped with roll-on, roll-off mission stations for up to four operators. Rotorcraft are likely to be equipped with one operator station, and the ability to downlink data to analysts or commanders on the ground.

    One radar has recently undergone vibration testing at Northrop’s Baltimore site in Maryland, with this to undergo three months of industry-funded flight trials in the UK from the first quarter of 2012, using a prototype pod installed on a “medium-size” helicopter.

    The first production-standard system is now in manufacture, and customer deliveries could commence within two years, said Younus Mustafa, Lockheed’s capture manager for the Vigilance product. The company will launch the Vigilance product at a Tangent Link conference in Malaysia in late November, before promoting the system at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition.

  36. Scott B. permalink
    November 27, 2011 6:12 pm

    [a href=””][b]Lockheed Martin UK offers Vigilance AEW system to Malaysia[/b][/a]

    By: Craig Hoyle London
    02:32 24 Nov 2011

    Malaysia’s long-held requirement to field an airborne early warning (AEW) capability will see Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems formally launch a product in the country in December.

    Dubbed “Vigilance”, the system combines mission equipment developed for the UK Royal Navy’s AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HM2 multi-role helicopter upgrade with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology provided by Northrop Grumman.

    The latter draws on the company’s APG-80 radar developed for the Lockheed F-16 Block 60 fighter and the APG-81 scaleable agile beam radar, being offered as an upgrade option for earlier versions of the type.

    “We bring the same performance as a fighter radar, although it will be an APY- [AEW sensor] in function” said George Riley, Northrop’s manager for surveillance systems business development.

    Vigilance sensors will be mounted in self-contained pods and be capable of supporting tasks such as AEW, fighter control, and maritime and border surveillance, said Neil Morphett, system solutions engineering group manager for Lockheed Martin UK.

    “We are aiming to be as minimally disruptive to the aircraft as possible. We just need power on the aircraft and a hard point for mounting the sensor,” he added.

    Each pod will contain its own cooling system and other equipment, while a system interface panel will allow for the rapid integration of additional sensors, such as an electro-optical/infrared camera. Pod installation should take less than 4h, Morphett said.

    Carrying one pod mounted on either side of its fuselage, a medium utility helicopter such as the Mil Mi-17 would be able to provide 360° radar coverage, with each AESA sensor’s field of regard being expanded by the use of using a mechanical positioner.

    Other potential host platforms could include the Airbus Military CN-235 and Lockheed C-130 transports, with these to be equipped with roll-on, roll-off mission stations for up to four operators. Rotorcraft are likely to be equipped with one operator station, and the ability to downlink data to analysts or commanders on the ground.

    One radar has recently undergone vibration testing at Northrop’s Baltimore site in Maryland, with this to undergo three months of industry-funded flight trials in the UK from the first quarter of 2012, using a prototype pod installed on a “medium-size” helicopter.

    The first production-standard system is now in manufacture, and customer deliveries could commence within two years, said Younus Mustafa, Lockheed’s capture manager for the Vigilance product. The company will launch the Vigilance product at a Tangent Link conference in Malaysia in late November, before promoting the system at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition.

  37. November 11, 2011 4:36 am

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  38. Anonymous permalink
    September 24, 2011 4:28 pm

    The proposed Lockheed system sounds very interesting.

  39. Scott B. permalink
    September 24, 2011 5:39 am

    DSEi 2011 : Searchwater radar aimed at Merlin

    “A likely candidate for MASC is the AgustaWestland Merlin, but the Royal Navy’s Merlins do not have a rear ramp. Thales has devised a side-mounting ‘elevator’ system, with the radar being raised and lowered along two supporting rails.

    Searchwater 2000 has a mechanically scanned antenna that offers superb performance. The company believes an electronically steered phased array would, for the time being at least, entail a drop in performance, either in terms of range or its ability to perform 360° search. Thales, of course, has considerable phasedarray expertise, and could offer this if required.”

  40. Scott B. permalink
    September 24, 2011 5:21 am

    DSEi 2011 : Thales outlines Sea King 7 replacement proposal

    “Thales UK’s idea is to adapt the Sea King’s current Cerberus fit, with its Searchwater 2000 radar to be installed on the Merlin and deployed using elevator rails attached to the aircraft’s fuselage. Roughly one-third of the fleet could be equipped with airborne early-warning sensors at any one time, with all capable of carrying it.


    Lockheed is also understood to be pursuing the RN requirement. Material displayed on its stand at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London included an airborne surveillance-and-control data sheet depicting a Merlin fitted with a pod-housed active electronically scanned array radar.

    This would feature synthetic aperture radar and ground moving-target indication modes and be suitable for tasks such as fighter control and maritime and battlefield surveillance.

    Also incorporating a gimballed radar and electronic support measures and identification friend-or-foe equipment, each pylon-mounted pod would weigh roughly 280kg (617lb), with the system to provide 360° coverage.

    Lockheed said the design represents “a role-fit solution which can be mounted on any fixed-wing transport/surveillance aircraft or medium-sized helicopter”.

  41. Scott B. permalink
    September 24, 2011 5:00 am

    CH-47 Helicopter Blade Fold Gearbox by INGENIUM TECHNOLOGIES

    Ingenium was approached by our customer to develop a proposal that would add functionality to a mature product. Newer Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters are equipped with automatic blade folding to allow the aircraft to be quickly and easily stored. Older Chinook helicopters employ a manual process to fold blades. The customer was requesting that the gearbox on older helicopters be updated to allow for either manual or automatic blade folding.

    The customer statement of work included a somewhat involved set of requirements for the gearbox. Besides allowing for normal shaft rotation the gearbox would have a shift mechanism to engage the gearbox into its less common operation of blade folding. While operating in the “blade fold mode” the gearbox would need to have the following capabilities:

    ■Manual blade folding with a wrench
    ■Automatic blade folding by engaging a motor
    ■Failure protection against back drive (protects user while manually folding blades) and overload (limits torque to protect the mechanical system)

    Because the customer needed this design and proposal effort quickly Ingenium put together a team of mechanical experts to focus on this project. We were able to design this “add on” gearbox within a few weeks. Ingenium provided the customer with a concept trade study and final proposal which included optimized pricing, drawings, analyses, and technical descriptions.

  42. Scott B. permalink
    September 24, 2011 4:49 am

    US Army moves to set up possible growth variant of CH-47 Chinook

    “The army is already considering options for introducing a new CH-47H variant in the 2020 timeframe, succeeding the CH-47F and MH-47G models launched about a decade ago, said Maj Gen William Crosby, programme executive officer for army aviation.


    Boeing, however, has previously listed several options for a “growth Chinook”. A minimum effort would increase the helicopter’s lift by 1t by optimising the existing rotor hub and transmission. A re-engining would require a larger investment, but replacing the 4,870shp Honeywell T55 with a 7,500shp engine could improve overall lift capacity to almost 29,500kg (65,000lb).

    The most ambitious possibility would involve widening the fuselage to allow the aircraft to lift as much as 34,000kg, including the airframe. But this design approach would require the army to waive a standing requirement for any army aircraft to be transported by a Boeing C-17A strategic transport.”

  43. permalink
    September 18, 2011 4:41 am

    Saab’s Official Brief To Indian Navy On Sea Gripen (presentation made to the Indian Navy on 6 September 2011)

    Of particular interest is the slide showing what sort of performances one might expect with TVC :

  44. J Wilkes permalink
    September 1, 2011 6:23 pm

    E- craft for Sale…Alaska Save our E craft America.
    Alaska’s e-craft MV Susitna.{catamaran 198 ft] on the auction block. The MV Susitna was just delivered to Cook Inlet with no apparent function. Was to be used as a ferry from Matsu to Anchorage.

    Matsu Borough has no immediate use for the e-craft [ferry] now and is in need of a buyer.
    Current investment to date approx $80M. E-craft concept has a lot of potential…and somehow it got off track as a DOT ferry boat in Alaska.

    Built at Alaska’s Ketchikan ASD facility…in conjunction with ONR plans..
    This concept would be a great Coast Guard mid shore vessel.anywhere ice break capable /with a center section drop deck / can carry 20 vehicles
    and could be set up for heli operations..

    If you know anyone in Washington/ or at Coast Guard Hdqtrs –looking for
    a multi mission vessel….Pls have them contact the Matsu borough and purchase this orpahned/ new craft.

  45. Heretic permalink
    June 9, 2011 10:19 am

    I have the ridiculous notion that of putting a Sikorsky X2 Compound Helicopter Propulsor onto the back end of a Kaman K-MAX Synchropter as a way to build a better lifter than a V-22 (which wouldn’t have the V-22’s engine killing dust ingestion issues) while achieving a similar flight speed profile as the V-22. After that, it’s just a matter of scaling up … (the Heretic mused, using flawed logic) …

  46. Hudson permalink
    April 15, 2011 2:24 pm

    Anthony K

    I wonder how realistic the ACTUV Tactics Simulator is, especially in terms of sensor sensitivity? I’m guessing the bot has a lower acoustic signature than the sub, in reality. The only issue DARPA states on the link is software compatibility with your ‘puter. Are we at the point where there are no real technical secrets anymore, or very few?

  47. April 9, 2011 12:08 pm

    DARPA Anti-submarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) project

    Sorry if this is old news to the crowd here….

    …Finally, someone thinking ‘outside the box’!
    Seems like a good idea that is relatively cheap and could be a nice force multiplier. I can’t help thinking how this might impact an ASW campaign against say, North Korea.

    Taking it anther step further, they could have Patrol or AAW radar picket variants… just send them where you need them.

  48. Scott B. permalink
    April 1, 2011 7:55 pm

    MP-RTIP radar infos @ Jane’s :


    X-band (8 to 12.5 GHz) MTI/SAR radar.


    The Northrop Grumman/Raytheon MP-RTIP MTI/SAR radar makes use of Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology; is designed for both fixed-wing aircraft and UAV applications; and is described as offering advantages (when compared with the legacy AN/APY-3/-7 sensors) in the areas of resolution, simultaneous MTI/SAR functionality, simultaneous air/ground target tracking, MTI auto-tracking and 3-D airborne MTI for cruise missile defence.

    In more detail, beam steering is both electronic (in azimuth and elevation) and mechanical (movement of the active face from port or starboard) and antenna size can be tailored to fit specific applications. Here, the MP-RTIP configuration proposed for the RQ-4B Block 40 UAV is described as comprising four transceiver module panels (’tiles’) and as measuring 1.5 m in length by 0.45 m in height.

    So applied, the radar requires between 11 and 20 kW of power and the sensor’s overall operating modes are understood to include air track, autonomous search, Concurrent MTI (CMTI) search, Ground High Range Resolution (GHRR), Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) and SAR. When compared with the legacy APY-3/-7 radar, MP-RTIP’s air track, autonomous search, CMTI and GHRR are reported as being new capabilities, with its SAR and GMTI functions being deemed as ‘improvements’ on those offered by the earlier systems.

    In more detail, the radar’s autonomous mode is noted as being an air search capability (with the air track mode (as its name suggests) providing a complementary airborne tracking facility), while its CMTI function offers concurrent SAR and GMTI functionality.

  49. Scott B. permalink
    April 1, 2011 7:37 pm

    MP-RTIP radar infos @ Jane’s :


    X-band (8 to 12.5 GHz) Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar (MTI/SAR).


    The Northrop Grumman/Raytheon MP-RTIP MTI/SAR radar makes use of Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology. When compared with the legacy AN/APY-7 equipment, it is described as offering advantages in the areas of resolution, simultaneous MTI/SAR functionality, simultaneous air/ground target tracking, MTI auto-tracking and 3-D airborne MTI for cruise missile defence.

    In more detail, beam steering is both electronic (in azimuth and elevation) and mechanical (movement of the active face from port or starboard) and antenna size can be tailored to fit specific applications.

    The MP-RTIP configuration proposed for the RQ-4 Block 40 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is described as comprising four transceiver module panels (’tiles’) and as measuring 1.5 m in length by 0.45 m in height. That proposed for the now cancelled E-10A sensor demonstration aircraft (designated as the E-10 Wide Area Surveillance Sensor) was noted as employing 16 panels and as measuring 6.1 m by 1.2 m. Power requirements for the two configurations are given as 0.5 MW for the E-10A application and between 11 and 20 kW for the RQ-4.

    Usually reliable sources report MP-RTIP’s operating modes as including: air track, autonomous search, Concurrent Moving Target Indication (CMTI), cued search, Ground High Range Resolution (GHRR), Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), SAR.

    When compared with the AN/APY-7, MP-RTIP’s air track, autonomous search, CMTI and GHRR are reported as being new capabilities, with its SAR and GMTI functions being deemed as “improvements” on those offered by the earlier system. The radar’s autonomous mode is noted as being an air search capability.

  50. Scott B. permalink
    March 28, 2011 11:47 am

    Erieye infos @ Jane’s :


    The ERIEYE airborne early warning radar was originally developed by Ericsson (now Saab) for the Swedish Defence Material Administration. The programme had its roots in studies in the 1960s and 1970s and, following the development of phased array technology, the concept evolved in the early 1980s. In 1985 the decision was taken to develop an airborne test model. Trials with an airborne demonstrator mounted on a Fairchild Metro III aircraft began in 1990 and in 1992 the Swedish government decided to proceed with development and procurement, with the Saab 340B selected as the aircraft platform.Saab purchased Ericsson Microwave Systems in September 2006.


    ERIEYE has been designed for security operations and has been developed from a radar system to a complete AEW&C system with integrated subsystems as:primary surveillance radarsecondary surveillance radar Mode 1, 2, 3/A, 4, C and Scommand and controlcommunication (voice and data link via V/UHF, SAT and L16/L11)Electronic Support Measures (ESM)self protecting system (flares and chaff) Electro Optical Sensor (EOS) (360°multi-payload)mission training system for operator trainingplanning and debriefing systemIntegrated Logistics Support (ILS) package for training, expertise transfer, documentation and continuing support.It provides the following capabilities:airborne early warningsituation awareness – provides an identified air/sea picturefighter allocation and intercept controlair space management – for backup or a complement to existing air traffic controlsurveillance over land and seanet enabling capabilitiesinteroperability – for international missions.The radar detects and tracks air and sea targets out to the horizon and beyond. Instrumented range is 450 km. Typical detection range against a fighter size target is in excess of 350 km. It features a frequency-agile, phased-array, S-band, pulse-Doppler radar. The antenna is fixed and the radar beam is electronically scanned through 360°. The beam is controlled by an intelligent and automatic energy measurement system which has the ability to transmit in any direction from pulse to pulse. It optimises the beam position providing for quicker detection verification, increased range and improved tracking, compared with a rotodome solution. The single, dual-sided, dorsal-mounted fixed antenna unit weighs 1,000 kg and places much less demand on aircraft size than was previously possible for high-performance AEW&C systems.

  51. Scott B. permalink
    March 21, 2011 6:15 pm

    FAO : Campbell and the airship lovers


    Enjoy !

  52. Steve permalink
    March 18, 2011 3:47 pm

    Scott B: get a life, you stupid cnut! This blog is dead! Your moma breed you dumb as well as ugly? D0uche.

  53. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2011 4:18 pm

    From Flight International :

    (emphasis added)

    Boeing, US Army near decision on CH-47 future

    By Stephen Trimble
    SOURCE:Flight International

    Looking beyond delivery of the last CH-47F/G Chinook model in 2019, Boeing and the US Army are nearing a decision about taking the next step with the venerable heavylift helicopter design.

    In discussion are several options ranging from a radical redesign offering 50% more lifting power to slight improvements of the existing configuration and several alternatives in between, says Pat Donnelly, Boeing’s CH-47F/G programme manager.

    To support a possibly lengthy development phase, decisions about the tandem rotor’s future are required soon despite more plans to continue delivering the current model of the Chinook for eight more years.

    “We’ll be making those decisions more than likely this year,” Donnelly says.

    The minimum change could involve optimising the rotor hub and transmission to support a 1t lift improvement provided by a common rotor blade currently in development for the F-model, he says.

    Alternatively, the army could choose to maximise the lifting capability of the current airframe, raising its lifting power by 30% to about 29,500kg (65,000lb), Donnelly says.

    That option would require integrating a new engine, replacing the 4,868shp Honeywell powerplant with a 7,500shp-class turboshaft, he says. Boeing would seek to leverage existing engine cores, rather than develop an all-new propulsion system.

    Boeing also has shown army officials a Chinook design that is not limited by current transportability requirements. If a Chinook does not have to fit inside a Boeing C-17, the airframe can be enlarged to lift more than 34,000kg, or about a 50% improvement.

    Such a configuration may strain Boeing’s ability to describe the design as a growth version of the Chinook. “Is a 75,000lb Chinook still a Chinook or is that a new concept?” Donnelly asked rhetorically.

    The army’s decision-comes as France and Germany consider buying a new heavylift helicopter to replace aging Sikorsky CH-53s. Boeing has teamed up with Eurocopter to offer a larger version of the CH-47 airframe to Germany that can lift about 33t.

    “The French and Germans have expressed an interest in the next generation [Chinook] requirement,” Donnelly says.

    Meanwhile, the army has been considering options for a new generation of rotocraft, but the emerging joint multirole (JMR) programme is currently focused on developing a replacement for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache in 2025.

    A heavylift version of the JMR vertical lift technology to replace the Chinook is not planned to be fielded until 2040, Donnelly says.

    That strategy has created a potential gap for a growth version of the Chinook to sustain the army’s requirement for a heavylift rotorcraft for the next 30 years.

    Boeing also needs to start working on a growth design now to avoid a prolonged shutdown at the CH-47F/G production line in Philadelphia, he adds.

  54. Muhammad permalink
    February 9, 2011 10:05 am

    flying tank anybody??

  55. February 9, 2011 12:34 am

    Who wants a Fuck Buddy ?

  56. Hudson permalink
    January 17, 2011 2:23 am

    Scott B.,

    I agree that the earlier Lebanon mission was pretty much a failure, especially considering American servicemen lost in the Beirut truck bombing; and that then-playboy O.B.L. said that watching our shells pound Lebanon inspired him to begin plotting violence against us.

    However, that does not mean we should have near zero naval presence in the region to cover possible scenarios, in my view.

  57. Scott B. permalink
    January 15, 2011 4:39 pm

    Hudson said : “Personally, I think we should beef up the 6th Fleet in support of our (rather weak) policy in Lebanon.”

    We’ve been there done that in 1983-84 with the deployment of USS New Jersey off Lebanon.

    BB-62 did more (much more) harm than good at the time…

  58. Hudson permalink
    January 15, 2011 1:31 am

    Scott B.,

    Well, the Navy has moved on…to a fleet weaker in gunpower than at any time since WWII.

    As to the likelihood of a contested landing, consider that three of the world’s trouble spots involve long coastlines: the Korean Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean off the coast of Lebanon. Who can say which one of these regions might erupt into open fighting, and when?

    Personally, I think we should beef up the 6th Fleet in support of our (rather weak) policy in Lebanon.

  59. Scott B. permalink
    January 11, 2011 5:45 pm

    Hudson said : “Pictures of the battleships hammering the shore with 16-inch salvos are embedded in our imagination. With the retirement of the BBs, also, perhaps tragically, came the loss of that picture, that mission.”

    Remember when the BBs supported an opposed landing for the last time ? That was a looooong time ago…

    Truth is that the *Battleship Era* has been over for well over 6 decades now. It’s about time to move on now…

  60. Hudson permalink
    January 9, 2011 2:29 am

    I think the ships mounting super/long range guns will be few in number and will serve almost exclusively in the shore bombardment role. That’s my guess. As such, they will be parked out in the ocean, and they will appear on hostile sensor suites somewhere. (Radars track objects in space above ‘sensible atmosphere.’) Consider also look-down radars, surveillance drones, and satellite intel.

    The truth is, the USN just doesn’t care that much about ship-to-shore artillery anymore. We will probably get the three Zumwalt class destroyers mounting the AGS, although another round of budget cuts might eliminate the third ship. The EFV just disappeared, all 16 billion dollars worth of it. So much for hot beach landings.

    Pictures of the battleships hammering the shore with 16-inch salvos are embedded in our imagination. With the retirement of the BBs, also, perhaps tragically, came the loss of that picture, that mission. Maybe such naval firepower will rise again. Likely it will remain pretty much an icon in virtual reality.

  61. Scott B. permalink
    January 8, 2011 5:28 pm

    Hudson said : “However, such a super long range gun will be mainly a siege weapon, as its forbearers were on land.”

    1) Siege weapons cannot move easily. Ship-mounted hypervelocity guns do.

    2) The EM Gun is supposed to offer significant direct fire capabilities, with a 6-second TOF to horizon (~ 20 NM). Siege weapons traditional do not offer such capabilities.

  62. Scott B. permalink
    January 8, 2011 5:10 pm

    Hudson said : “The arc of the shell will give away the ship’s position to radars hundreds of miles away, leaving it vulnerable to a wide range of enemies including subs.”

    None of the existing WLRs (Arthur, Cobra, EQ-36,…) is able to handle the kind of hypervelocity projectiles we’re talking about, because of :

    1) the velocities involved
    2) the ranges involved
    3) the trajectories involved (most of the flight taking place above sensible atmosphere)

  63. Hudson permalink
    January 8, 2011 2:12 pm

    Scott B.,

    I don’t mind if the Navy spends a few of my tax dollars on super long range gun development. It might come up with something superior to the Advanced Gun System, no slouch in itself, perhaps the Light Gas Gun referenced in the link you provided. That might lead to a new class of ships where the energy for its weapons systems is tied directly to the ship’s power source rather than being contained in powder or missile fuel—I’m also thinking of chemical lasers.

    However, such a super long range gun will be mainly a siege weapon, as its forbearers were on land. The arc of the shell will give away the ship’s position to radars hundreds of miles away, leaving it vulnerable to a wide range of enemies including subs. And if the power source goes down, then the ship will be unable to defend itself unless it is also equipped with ‘stored energy’ weapons, as well, making it somewhat less of a radical design.

  64. Scott B. permalink
    January 7, 2011 7:56 pm

    Hudson said : “However, the rail gun will be outranged by missiles”

    There are not so many AShMs with a range of more than 200 NM out there.

    OTH targeting adds yet another thick layer of complexity.

    Hudson said : “It requires a substantial power plant to generate the energy to fire the weapon. First, the not inconsiderable degradation of the gun by the tremendous amount of heat generated at launch must be solved.”

    Electromagnetism is not the only way to achieve hypervelocity.

    Utron’s Combustion Light Gas Gun is another option currently investigated :

    Hudson said : “a niche or novelty weapon like the German ‘Paris’ gun of WWI, which required a new barrel after 65 rounds, little more than a terror weapon, really”

    The Paris Gun suffered much less from short barrel life than lack of accuracy.

  65. Hudson permalink
    January 6, 2011 4:19 pm

    Scott B. said: “One of the projectiles envisioned is a saboted shrapnel round~containing ~ 10,000 tungsten cubes which would be dispersed before impact.”

    Perhaps a useful shell…However, the rail gun will be outranged by missiles, which though more expensive than the rail projectile, can be fired from land and much less expensive platforms than the destroyers and cruisers (should we continue the latter) that will mount the rail gun. It requires a substantial power plant to generate the energy to fire the weapon.

    First, the not inconsiderable degradation of the gun by the tremendous amount of heat generated at launch must be solved. A ceramic gun? I don’t know. Rail gun technology is exciting, and the Navy will fight to keep the program going. However, I get the feeling that it will end up being a niche or novelty weapon like the German ‘Paris’ gun of WWI, which required a new barrel after 65 rounds, little more than a terror weapon, really.

  66. Scott B. permalink
    January 6, 2011 6:35 am

    Hudson said : “But as general artillery, does it equal or surpass a 5, 6 or 8-inch fused shell, that can burst in air over the target?”

    One of the projectiles envisioned is a saboted shrapnel round~containing ~ 10,000 tungsten cubes which would be dispersed before impact.

  67. Hudson permalink
    December 31, 2010 2:04 pm

    From the same rail run article: “The projectile packs enough kinetic punch, engineers say, that warheads aren’t needed. ”

    As described, the 22-lb. projective is nothing more than a souped-up APDS projectile–great for destroying a small hard target with a direct hit like a tank, probably also a pill box (if anyone makes them anymore). But as general artillery, does it equal or surpass a 5, 6 or 8-inch fused shell, that can burst in air over the target? Or a bomb? Maybe it’s cheaper than an HE shell, and at a high rate of fire, I can see it has some use against ships and other hard targets.

    But how far can it transmit energy laterally if it misses the target? Will a bolt striking into the sand five meters from the target destroy the pill box, or keep going until it hits China? It would fly right through a soft target into the next county, and surely lose MV in a 100+ mile flight. It might be better suited as a land gun firing out to sea, than the other way around.

    I say, put a beanie with a propeller on it until further testing.

  68. Scott B. permalink
    December 20, 2010 3:01 pm

    Elgatoso said : “That means that the projectil should be in 300 miles in between 6 or 7 minutes.”

    Estimated Time of Flight for an MV of 8,200 fps (2,500 mps):
    * 20 nm (36 km) = 6 seconds
    * 200 nm (360 km) = 6 minutes
    * 250 nm (450 km) = 7 minutes

    See here

    It’s being suggested here and there that a range of 100+ NM might be acceptable if this is the price to get the mighty rail gun fleet ready sooner.

    See for instance this article :

    “At this power, an operational railgun can fire up to 100 nautical miles, far enough that engineers are developing guidance systems for projectiles. Their goal is to be able to fire six to 12 rounds a minute and land them within 5 meters of a target.


    Initially, the goal had been to develop a railgun capable of 200-mile shots. That goal remains, but a push is on to get it fleet-ready sooner, officials said.”

  69. elgatoso permalink
    December 12, 2010 1:29 am

    At Standard Sea Level conditions (corresponding to a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius), the speed of sound is 340.3 m/s (1225 km/h, or 761.2 mph, or 661.5 knots, or 1116 ft/s) in the Earth’s atmosphere.Mach 7 should be 5328 mph,or 1.48 mps(miles per second).That means that the projectil should be in 300 miles in between 6 or 7 minutes.

  70. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 10, 2010 8:40 pm

    Let’s return to the original concept that caused Mike to launch this particular topical ‘Dept. of Silly Ideas.’ And that would be the submarine gunboat. I originally speculated about installing a 155 mm AGS aboard a SSGN, giving it long-range missile strike capability and also shorter range NGFS mission capability. Well, there’s now new information about the development and testing of a naval rail gun. Imagine an SSGN firing its cruise missile load from several hundred nautical miles distance and then closing towards a hostile shore to fire Mach 7 projectiles from a distance of almost 300 NM. The SSGN remains submerged but for a sensor mast and the muzzle of the weapon projecting above the surface of the sea for the fire mission. Time On Target fire, anyone? So, anyway – here’s some new information on the USN’s program to field a rail gun as naval artillery.

    First is a discussion at Information Dissemination. Second is a discussion amongst the folks at A range of 290 nautical miles (NM) with a launch velocity of mach 7 and a terminal velocity of mach 5 are mentioned for the final version of the expected, deployed weapons system…

    Navy Sets New World Record With Latest Electromagnetic Railgun Demo

  71. Scott B. permalink
    November 28, 2010 8:28 pm

    Another radar : MR-RTIP

    Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program

    Airborne Radar That Tracks Missiles

  72. Scott B. permalink
    November 28, 2010 7:10 pm

    Some more tidbits on the Erieye + Metro III combo (from AWACS and Hawkeyes : the complete history of airborne early warning aircraft by Edwin Leigh Armistead) :

    “Ericsson Radar Electronics has developed the first airborne phased-array radar that is small and light enough to fit on a commercial airliner and has tested the radar on the Fairchild Metro III and a Saab 340 airframe.

    This system is unique in that not only does the radar data integrate with Sweden’s Command and Control System (StriC-90) and NATO’s datalink, but the mission control area can acutally be unmanned, with the controllers and technicians operating the system from a ground station.

    The Swedish Air Force intends to use these platforms as surveillance assets for their borders as well as an integrated part of their air defense command and control structure. In that manner, the Erieye system is deliberately designed to operate in a low-manning or unmanned status for operators to minimize the costs involved for training airborne radar aircrew.


    Originally tested on a Fairchild Metro III airframe in 1990, this early model can only seat two operators if an airborne manned capability is desired.”

  73. Scott B. permalink
    November 28, 2010 6:55 pm

    Chuck Hill said : “Believe I heard Pakistan adopted this system.”

    List of Erieye operators can be found on Wiki :

    Aside from the reference to an Erieye-based V-22 AEW variant, what was IMHO worth noting in the articles posted earlier was that the prototype was tested on a Fairchild Metro III, i.e. a relatively light airframe.

    Below is a pic showing the Erieye + Metro III combo :

  74. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 28, 2010 4:06 pm

    Believe I heard Pakistan adopted this system.

  75. Scott B. permalink
    November 28, 2010 9:16 am

    Ericsson Radar’s “Erieye”

    A decade ago, then Ericsson Radar Electronic AB (now Ericsson Microwave Systems AB), began development of a phased-array antenna that could fulfill Swedish air defence requirements for a high performance, long-range AEW system, light in weight, enough to utilize relatively small commercial aircraft PS-890, is intended to be an integral part of Sweden’s StriC-90 command and control (C2) system. First flight tested in 1990 using a Fairchild Metro III airframe, the system’s rigid mounted antenna offers direction-specific airborne target detection at 350 kilometre ranges and surface ship targets a slightly greater ranges. Small cruise missile targets can also be detected at sight under 200-kilometre range, under ideal conditions.

    The S-bank frequency-agile pulse-Doppler uses solid-state transmitters and phased-array antenna. According to Ericsson Microwave, “Compared to the more conventional rotodome solution the fixed, phased array antenna gives improved radar performance, higher system availability and . . . provides for easy installation in smaller and less expensive aircraft.” Such systems offer high resistance to ECM interference, which may have been an added reason for phased-array antenna selection in view of the high-ECM threat area that existed around the Baltic Sea regions from the then USSR and Warsaw Pact countries. Being mounted on a rigid beam on the upper fuselage deck of the aircraft, the system offers optimal performance in 150-degree side sectors, therefore, it is almost imperative that one knows the likely direction of “threat” to maintain optimal air warning. Like airborne SLAR systems, there remains ‘a hole” under the aircraft and in certain forward and rear directions changing aircraft flight directions offers protection in covering these coverage gaps but also raises the prospects of losing continuous coverage of previously detected targets on the prior course.

    The radar scanning technique allows for near real-time continuous tracking, as against delays in rotating antenna configurations. The E/F band radar, together with the large aperture antenna is mounted in a 9.7 metre long fairing (radar weight 1,200 kilograms). Clutter is suppressed with no degradation of detection range due to an adaptive waveform and signal processing techniques. The antenna contains 200 solid-state transmit/receiver modules. The track initiation range can be extended in one or more high-priority sectors by increasing the dwell-time in the desired sector(s).

    The aircraft system includes two mission consoles (CDCS) and necessary signal processing and datalink black boxes. As fitted on the Metro III, the concept Was based on Ericsson’s Airborne Surveillance, Ground Control (ASGC) concept, whereby the airborne platform provides primarily the threat warning and reporting function, processing radar signals onboard and data linking to a central ground control centre for handling aircraft and missile warning, and intercept functions. The existing prototype Metro III has an endurance of 4 to 6 hours, on-station 185 kilometres from operating base. Such a system is probably quite suitable for patrolling straits (Taiwan, Malacca, etc.) and other over-water bodies of water (Arabian Sea, etc.) from where known threats are likely to come.

    The more extensive Airborne Surveillance, Airborne Control (ASAC) system is designed to provide autonomous C2 capability, with four consoles to handle more traditional AWACS mission functions. Fitted onboard a Saab 340 aircraft, the large aircraft has 7 to 9 hours on-station time at 185 kilometres from operating base. Another proposal is fitting a larger antenna onto a Fokker 50 (designated KingBird Mk.2E) aircraft and even large antenna could be fitted to C-130 category aircraft. The latter platforms are more likely to appear to countries with larger national borders and sea frontiers to patrol, including Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Korea (ROK) in Asia. While four aircraft are currently under test or design proposal, the Erieye would seem adaptable to a number of other commercial aircraft platforms, including the Jetstream 41 and -61 (ATP), Donier 328, Hawker Siddeley HS -748, and de Havilland Canada Dash8 (larger aircraft, such as Saab 2000 or C-130s, could be adopted with larger antenna systems). Farnborough 1990 also demonstrated a concept drawing of a Bell-Textron V-22 Osprey VTOL fitted with Erieye, a fitting that should have great appeal for the Royal Navy’s VSTOL carriers, as well as in Italy, Spain and elsewhere.

    In January 1992, Sweden’s Defence Material Administration (DMA) authorized a Saab 340B aircraft conversion, which first flew in mid-January 1994. The Government took options for five more aircraft, which has since been taken. Tests with Erieye mission system installed will begin next year with two Erieye systems due for delivery during 1996, with first aircraft IOC due the same year. Ericsson Microwave contracts are valued at 1,200 million SwCr ($200 million) from this order. Final delivery will be in the late 1990s. Brazil has become the first export customer, ordering the system to be fitted to five Embraer 120 aircraft – comparable with the Metro III installation. The Brazilians will integrate the aircraft into the SIVAM air traffic and air defence system, mostly over the Amazon regions.

  76. Scott B. permalink
    November 28, 2010 9:11 am

    More Swedish Insanity :

    Ericsson proposes new platforms for Erieye phased-array radar

    4 November 1989

    Ericsson Radar Electronics is proposing its Erieye airborne early warning radar for a number of alternative platforms.

    At the recent ComDef ’89 exhibition in Washington DC the Swedish company displayed models showing the radar mated to the Saab 340 and the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft alongside the existing Metro/Erieye combination which is being flight-tested by the Swedish Air Force.

    The Erieye programme is being conducted in response to a Swedish Air Force requirement for a “horizon extension system” which can be integrated with the country’s existing air defence network. Ericsson’s response aims to mate a “potent” radar with a small, highly supportable airframe. This has led to the development of a lightweight active-array system mounted primarily in a fixed pod carried above or below the host airframe.

    To meet the weight constraints inherent in the proposal, the Erieye pod is a carbonfibre composite, structure with integral Kevlar antenna windows. The radar itself uses 200 solid-state transmit/receive modules operating in the S-band (2-4GHz). The system incorporates electronic beam steering, adaptive waveforming, low sidelobe propagation, pulse compression, and “full Doppler processing” for its low pulse-repetition frequency operating modes. Electronic counter-countermeasures provision includes adaptive sidelobe cancellation.

    The system is able to cover 120° in azimuth to both port and starboard simultaneously. Typical detection range against a “fighter-size target” is quoted as being in the order of 300km. For maximum detection range, Erieye has integral sector reduction capability which concentrates the system’s output on a particular area of interest.

    Using what is in essence a side-looking radar for airborne early warning has the disadvantage of producing distinct fore and aft blind spots. Ericsson believes that such problems can be overcome using carefully planned flight profiles and/or multiple platforms working in co-operation. This latter option is felt to be realistic on cost grounds, the company believing that an Erieye system will be available at “perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of the price of an AWACS”. Equally, Ericsson maintains that the customer will get a “comparable” range detection performance for this price.

    While the Swedish national AEW requirement is for a gap filler, Ericsson says that it is able
    to offer Erieye in a range of formats. System operation can be optimised to fulfil air-to-air, air-to-sea, and ground moving target indication needs through changes to its Ada software.

    An aerodynamic prototype (Erieye pod mounted on a Metro airframe) is being tested. During early 1990, flying trials of a functioning radar will begin. If this stage of the programme proves successful, Ericsson expects a “go forward” decision from the Swedish Air Force in 1991, triggering full-scale development, for delivery of production units “during the mid-1990s”.

    Ericsson believes that, despite the strains in the Swedish defence budget, AEW provision
    is a “high-priority programme for the Air Force”.

  77. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 6:33 pm

    Oldie but Goodie (Summer 2001) :

    Future Carrier Aviation Options: A British Perspective

  78. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 5:51 pm

    Spanish thrust-vectoring nozzle begins trials

    Publisher: Jane’s Information Group
    Publication Name: International Defense Review
    Subject: Business, international
    ISSN: 0020-6512
    Year: 1998

    Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) is to perform ground-based tests of its prototype variable-geometry thrust-vectoring convergent/divergent nozzle that the company is offering for the EJ2000 which would power the Eurofighter. According to the company, the nozzle can achieve deflection angles of 20 degrees or more while weighing less than alternative approaches. The three-ring nozzle is also reported to be capable of boosting the EJ2000’s thrust by 2% at subsonic speeds, 7% at typical supersonic cruise speeds and 12-14% near M2 with the greatest improvement at altitudes from 20,000ft to 35,000ft, while reducing a typical take-off run by up to 20%. [emphasis added]

  79. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:34 pm

    AERO INDIA: Eurojet offering thrust-vectoring EJ200 for LCA

    SOURCE:Flight International

    Eurojet is to propose a thrust-vectoring version of the Eurofighter Typhoon’s EJ200 powerplant to meet India’s requirement for up to 150 engines to equip the first squadrons of its indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA).

    The Aeronautical Development Agency – which is leading development of the Tejas – is expected to issue a request for proposals in the next few weeks, pitching the EJ200 against General Electric’s F414.

    The Eurojet partner companies have been working on thrust vectoring nozzle technology for several years, lead by Spanish manufacturer ITP, which validated the concept during a series of bench tests. Eurofighter majority stakeholder EADS is equipping a cockpit simulator at its Manching facility to demonstrate the potential performance enhancements.

    Thrust vectoring nozzle technology is being offered to the Eurofighter customer nations on the basis that it could significantly lower lifecycle costs by reducing fuel burn by “3-4% on an average mission” and extending the life of hot section parts, says Eurojet technical director Matt Price.

    This is achieved by optimising nozzle shape throughout the flight envelope, and by eliminating the need for drag-inducing control surface deflections to trim the aircraft, particularly at supersonic speeds, where the aerodynamic centre moves aft, causing the nose to pitch down.

    In addition, the technology can enhance agility, which could be of particular benefit to the Tejas as it is a delta-winged design that lacks canards.

    EADS is leading the Eurofighter bid to win India’s 126-aircraft medium multirole combat aircraft contest with the twin-engined Typhoon, and a deal to also equip the country’s single-engined LCAs with the EJ200 would make the economics of establishing an in-country engine assembly line considerably more attractive.

    The latest iteration of the Typhoon’s flight-control system software has been designed to incorporate thrust-vectoring, and flight tests of the ITP thrust vectoring nozzle could begin within the next two years.

    The flight-control system can be configured to use the thrust vectoring nozzle as an additional “control surface”, boosting damage tolerance and reducing the risk of loss-of-control at low speeds, says Wolfgang Sterr, Eurojet engineering director EJ200/LCA. Furthermore, take-off distance for an aircraft such as the LCA could be reduced by around 20%, even in “hot and high” conditions, he adds. [emphasis added]

    Eurojet envisages a two-phase thrust vectoring nozzle flight-test programme, firstly using a twin-engine aircraft equipped with a single non-FCS-integrated thrust vectoring nozzle, followed by trials of the fully integrated system on both powerplants.

  80. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:24 pm

    EJ200 thrust vectoring backed

    SOURCE:Flight International

    A study by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa)has identified significant performance improvements that could be achieved with the Eurofighter by installing ITP-developed thrust-vectoring nozzles on the aircraft.

    Meanwhile, Spanish engine company ITP is preparing to begin altitude testing of its Eurojet EJ200 nozzle at Stuttgart University in Germany next month and remains hopeful of launching flight trials by 2002.

    The Dasa findings support ITP’s recently refocused marketing strategy which places greater emphasis on the benefits of thrust vectoring for the Eurofighter throughout the aircraft’s “normal” flight envelope, rather than simply for post-stall manoeuvres.

    Daniel Ikaza, ITP project manager – nozzles, says Dasa’s study shows that a Eurofighter flying at 30,000ft (9,150m) and a speed of M1.8 requires a 4° upward flaperon deflection to maintain level flight. A 5° upward nozzle deflection instead would enable the aircraft to fly “clean” and reduce the required engine thrust by 3%.

    Under the same conditions, but in a sustained turn, where the pitch element of the control surface deflection was 6° up, this could be reduced to 2° combined with a 4° nozzle-up component. In this configuration lift coefficient would be increased by 14%, translating into a 9% improvement in turn rate. Take-off distance could be cut by at least 25%. [emphasis added]

    The figures include an adjustment for the extra weight of the two convergent/divergent axisymmetric nozzles, capable of multi-axis thrust-vectoring.

    ITP is talking to the US Navy about a possible follow-on to the X-31 Vectoring Extremely short take-off and landing and Tailless Operational Research aircraft (VECTOR) programme to carry out nozzle flight tests.

    “For money and other reasons we’re not sure if it’s going to happen or not,” says VECTOR deputy programme manager William Voorhees.

    ITP is optimistic it will have an opportunity to carry out trials on a Eurofighter. Ikaza says the system is being offered to existing and potential Eurofighter customers.

    The initial phase of nozzle ground testing was performed at Ajalvir near Madrid at sea level conditions and comprised 80h of engine runs, including 15 with reheat, and was completed in February 1999.

    Ikaza says budget constraints mean only 10-20h of testing will be performed in the Stuttgart altitude chamber next month. “This will be focused mainly on control and performance throughout the flight envelope,” says Ikaza.

    The tests will examine high altitude affects on the differential thermal expansion of nozzle components, structural deformations and gas pressure distributions. Studies are continuing into ways of reducing the weight of the nozzle, extending its life and designing in stealth capabilities.

  81. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:05 pm

    Spain Wants To Test X-31 With Eurofighter Engine, Thrust-Vectoring Nozzle

    Defense Daily, April 3, 2001
    By Neil Baumgardner

    The Navy is looking at thrust vectoring through the VECTOR program for future possible application to carrier landings. The landing maneuver envisioned for the X-31 test program has the aircraft pitching up its nose to a possible 40 degree angle during approach to a runway, using its vectored thrust to slow its speed before reorientating to a normal attitude for landing. The X-31 will first test this maneuver at high altitudes later this year, and then conduct actual landing tests next year.

    “We’re looking at how would you apply this to a carrier, but that’s probably another whole program,” Voorhees said. “Then you’re introducing a moving ship. Right now we can track pretty good to a stationary runway. We’re trying to demonstrate that part of it. Next would be ‘okay how do you track to a ship.'”

    Voorhees said the advantage for carrier landings would be less energy, resulting in less wear and tear on the aircraft. The VECTOR program expects to achieve about a 30 percent reduction in landing energy for the X-31, he said.

  82. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 12:54 pm

    Thrust vectoring: a new angle to air superiority.

    By Ashley, Steven
    Publication: Mechanical Engineering-CIME
    Date: Sunday, January 1 1995

    F-16 MATV

    The Air Force’s F-16 VISTA (Variable-stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft) was used for the flight evaluations in the F-16 MATV program. Researchers modified the plane’s F110-GE-100 engine with GE’s AVEN and its digital flight-control system so that thrust vectoring could augment the aerodynamic controls on demand. Flight trials and demonstrations took place at Edwards AFB Flight Test Center in California.

    The AVEN is a relatively simple elaboration of a conventional F-110 nozzle. The nozzle, which adds about 400 pounds to the F-16’s weight, includes a vectoring ring, three actuators, control computers, some additional structure to the engine case, and multiaxis hinges. GE engineers estimate that a production version of AVEN would weigh about 300 pounds.

    In the AVEN, all exhaust-flow turning is done in the nozzle’s divergent (supersonic flow) section downstream from the nozzle throat, which prevents the feedback of any pressure fluctuations to the engine. The divergent (vectoring) flaps are angled individually by means of a ring positioned by three additional hydraulic actuators at 120 degrees around the nozzle. When the ring is tilted, the divergent section is skewed to the desired geometry to vector the flowpath. Universal joints at the flap connections allow the freedom of movement needed for the vectored geometries.

    Axial forces developed in the AVEN are transferred into the exhaust duct at the actuator mounting points. Three ring-support mechanisms react to the side forces, which are then transmitted into the duct, so that no bending loads reach the actuators.

    By adjusting the fore and aft translation of the vectoring. ring, the nozzle exit area can be independently controlled to achieve optimum expansion-area ratios and increased net thrust.

    A key technology in any thrust-vectoring installation is the integration of the new post-stall flight control laws into the aircraft’s flight control computer, according to a report authored by James L. Sergeant, F-16 MATV flight test engineer at Lockheed Fort Worth. The new control laws were developed to command thrust vectoring to augment (and blend with) the aircraft’s aerodynamic control power in a way that is transparent to the pilot. Eventually, the plane’s usable flight envelope in terms of angle of attack was expanded from the standard 25 degrees to beyond 80 degrees.

    In tests, it was found that the system provided attitude control within 1 degree and a maximum stabilized AOA of 83 degrees. In addition, there were no problems with the engine despite its being flown for short transients to an AOA of [+ or -]180 degrees and to sideslip angles as high as 40 degrees. Maximum nozzle deflection angle on the F-16 MATV is 15 degrees for the military power setting and 17 degrees in afterburner mode. In general, the maximum vectoring limits were a function of thrust, hardware kinematics, and flow-separation limits. The system currently has a vectoring slew rate of 45 degrees per second.

    Though no structural modifications were made to the F-16 airframe, ballast was added forward of the craft’s center of gravity for balance.

    Ground tests began in 1991 and were completed in 1992. The F-16 MATV first flew in July 1993, after the flight envelope was explored and expanded. Evaluations were conducted by pilots from Lockheed Fort Worth, GE, and the USAF’s 416th Test Squadron. Later, some of the country’s best fighter pilots from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB in Nevada put the plane through its paces.

    Since the AVEN is not fully redundant,” Small said, “the nozzle-vectoring capability was hydraulically locked out until the F-16 MATV reached altitudes above 20,000 feet. All maneuvers were subsonic, with the plane operating at 0.95 Mach down to zero velocity.”

    Phase III of the MATV program was a tactical demonstration consisting of 183 one-versus-one and one-versus-two fighter engagements against F-16, F-15, and F-18 fighters. The general results: When the F-16 MATV started from an offensive position in a one-on-one encounter, thrust vectoring reduced the time for the first-shot opportunity and reduced the effect of common mistakes such as overshooting and getting “stuck in lag,” where the aircraft can’t quite get its nose onto the opponent due to AOA limits. Defensively, vectoring allowed the plane to survive longer. The opponent could still shoot, but the shots had a lower probability of kill because of the F-16 MATV’s elusiveness. In one-versus-two defensive engagements against F-16s, the F-16 MATV was able to survive longer, but had difficulty in getting on the offensive. In neutral one-versus-two matches, the F-16 MATV could shoot or at least threaten the fighter wingman while continuing the fight with the lead fighter. It was also observed that once in the post-stall regime, the gun was the weapon of choice; missiles were used only sparingly.

    “This jet is much more lethal than a normal F-16,” said Capt. Jim Henderson of the 422nd. “In a one-versus-two engagement, it allows you to actually be offensive instead of defensive as in a normal jet. The limiter-off capabilities give you the opportunity to quickly kill one bandit and then engage the other – one on one. The bottom line is you have a greatly increased capability to survive and kill with this system.”

    In general, the final phase of the MATV program showed that thrust vectoring provides a significant advantage in terms of bringing armament to bear more quickly, in avoiding the risk of departure from controlled flight, and in negating offensive threats.

  83. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 12:45 pm

    Introduction to Thrust Vectoring

    There have been 2 main research programs within the United State military to investigate the uses of thrust vectoring within the last decade. The F-16 MATV (Multi-Axis Thrust-Vectoring) program uses GE’s AVEN design. Besides the added nozzle on the end of the engine a digital flight control system using post-stall laws for better guidance was added, this new system has been recognized as the key to post-stall flight. The parts for the nozzle are a vectoring ring, 3 actuators (hydraulics), multiaxis hinges (those that move in 2 or more directions), and some additional structural supports.

    The prototype adds an additional 400 pounds, which is offset by ballast tanks near the nose of the fighter. A drawback from this system occurs because the thrust vectoring takes place past the nozzle throat and prevents pressure fluctuation feedback to reach the engine controls. But due to the adjusting fore and aft translation of the vectoring ring the nozzle exit area is independently controlled from the nozzle throat.

    After in flight testing the results are very impressive. The AVEN design allowed a jet to maintain an 83 degree angle of attack compared to the standard 25 degrees. A maximum nozzle deflection angle of 15 degrees was achieved during standard military use and 17 degrees in after burner mode. Even more impressive was the results from mock engagements. After 182 one versus one and one versus two engagements the following patterns arose: offensively vector throttling allowed for a reduced time to the first shot at a target, reduced overshooting and other common mistakes, and allowed the fighter to at least threaten, if not engage, the wingman while attacking the primary target. Defensively the system allowed the jet to survive longer, and the possibility to make offensive maneuvers during the two versus one engagements, were typical jets try to escape.

    “Thrust vectoring was very effective in our close-in combat evaluations,” said Lester Small, Air Force program manager for the MATV Project. (Ashley, 59)

  84. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 12:24 pm

    Sweden funds JAS39 demonstrator

    1 – 7 October 1997

    THE SWEDISH Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) is to fund a flying technology demonstrator for future upgrades of the Saab JAS39 Gripen. Mats Hugosson, head of marketing at Gripen engine manufacturer Volvo Aero, says that the demonstrator will be flying in three to five years, and is “…aimed at proving technology which could be used in upgrades or a future programme”

    Wing Cdr Claes Wretfors, Gripen international programmes director at FMV, declines to confirm the timescale, but says that one of the current Gripen flight-test aircraft will be converted into a flying technology demonstrator.

    Hugosson says that Volvo is continuing long-running studies into an alternative powerplant for the Gripen. This was initially aimed at the 64-aircraft Batch 3 order for the Swedish air force, but has now been directed at the demonstrator programme.

    Front runners for the possible re-engineing are the Eurojet EJ200, developed for the
    Eurofighter EF2000, and the General Electric F414.

    Other technology being looked at includes new avionics and weapons, as well as thrust vectoring. This holds the potential for a future tailless variant of the aircraft.

    The Volvo executive confirms that the company is in talks with Saab, General Electric, Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) and Boeing on the X-31 Vector programme – the follow-on to the original Rockwell / Dasa X-31A vectored-thrust demonstrator work.

    The Vector programme will include GE’s AVEN axisymmetric thrust-vectoring nozzle. Volvo is pushing for the existing X-31 to be fitted with its 80.5kN (18,000lb)-thrust RM12 engine, developed for the Gripen from the GE F404, with increased thrust, bird-strike resistance and survivability.

    The X-31 Vector has previously been held up by inter-Governmental financing negotiations. Particular problems have been encountered by the German side, where defence officials are wrestling with drastic defence budget cuts and pressure to clear the production investment phase of the Eurofighter programme.

    Swedish sources close to the programme say, however, that Germany appears to be becoming more responsive in attempts to fund the Vector.

    Volvo is now developing an improved RM12 UP variant of the engine for Batch 3 Gripens. This will include a full-authority digital engine-control (FADEC) system, an improved flame holder and redesigned turbine.

    The FADEC will be developed by Lockheed Martin together with GE and Volvo, and will replace the current engine’s digital engine controls. It is expected that it will be fitted
    to a flying engine in 1999.

  85. Scott B. permalink
    November 25, 2010 11:13 am


    March 9, 1998
    Release: 98-09

    NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., is cooperating (in an agreement) with the U.S. Navy, The Boeing Company, General Electric, and several international partners on Phase 1 of a new flight research program called VECTOR (Vectoring, Extremely Short Takeoff and Landing, Control and Tailless Operation Research). The VECTOR program will use one of the two X-31 aircraft that flew at Dryden between 1992 and 1995.

    “The prospect of getting the X-31 back in the air is exciting,” says Steve Schmidt, Dryden’s X-31 VECTOR project manager. “Phase 1 has gotten off to a great start; the Swedish Gripen fighter RM-12 engine fit-check in the aircraft and the aircraft parts count went very well,” Schmidt said.

    The goal of the X-31 VECTOR program is to research advanced flight enabling technologies using the X-31 aircraft. Plans include: removing the aircraft’s tail for tailless operation research; development of an Advanced Airdata System (AADS); Extreme Short-Takeoff-and-Landing (ESTOL) research for potential high Angle of Attack (A0A) aircraft carrier landing use; and installation of an Axisymmetric Vectoring Exhaust Nozzle (AVEN(r)).

    Phase 1 of the VECTOR program is known as the Program and Requirements Definition phase. The U.S. Navy signed a contract with The Boeing Company on Feb. 18 to perform Phase I of the program. The Phase I portion of the program runs through August 14, 1998.

    Phase I consists of VECTOR multi-national team negotiations for a Memorandum of Agreement, an X-31 aircraft parts count, the fit-check of a SAAB JAS-39 Gripen fighter RM-12 engine (GE F-404 engine derivative) in the X-31, and painting of the aircraft. Phase I work began at Dryden on March 2 and included the fit-check of the RM-12 engine and the aircraft parts count by VECTOR partners.

    A proposed Phase 2, the Technology Development and Demonstration phase, would be the actual VECTOR flight research and could begin as early as September 1998.

    In 1994, during the original X-31 flight research program, software was installed in the X-31 to demonstrate the feasibility of stabilizing a tailless aircraft at supersonic speed using thrust vectoring. Tests also included subsonic flight speeds.

    The original X-31 program logged an X-plane record of 580 flights. 559 were research missions and 21 took place in Europe for the 1995 Paris Air Show. Fourteen pilots representing all agencies of the International Test Organization flew the aircraft.

    The X-31 was the first international experimental aircraft development program administered by a U.S government agency, and was a key effort of the NATO Cooperative Research and Development Program.

    The X-31 VECTOR Cooperative Test Organization (CTO) participants/partners are: USA: U.S. Navy, Boeing, General Electric, and NASA; Sweden: Swedish Government, Volvo, SAAB; Germany: German Ministry of Defense, DASA (Daimler-Benz consortium).

  86. Scott B. permalink
    November 24, 2010 6:57 am

    Reddick said : “a STOVL Gripen”

    Thrust Vectoring won’t turn Gripen into a STOVL bird.

    Among other benefits, it could however allow Gripen to fly extremely short takeoff and landing.

    Which may not be that necessary for the landed-based variant (which already possesses excellent STOL capabilities), but would open very interesting perspectives for a carrier-based variant.

    Anyway, Saab decided to go with the GE F414 for the Gripen NG, so no thrust vectoring on the horizon.


  87. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 23, 2010 8:18 pm


    Well, if the F-35B JSF is about to get the death-knell – then a STOVL Gripen (also needs to be navalized) might become the available replacement to Sea Harrier and so serve aboard so many LHAs, LHDs, and CVLs in service or entering service around the world.

  88. Scott B. permalink
    November 23, 2010 1:32 pm

    Sea Gripen + Thrust Vectoring = ???

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Eurojet aims EJ200 variant at thrust vectored Gripen

    SOURCE:Flight International

    The company says that a 700h flight test programme is being planned to explore thrust vectoring on a standard Gripen airframe for the export market. Eurojet has proposed to Saab a 102kN (23,000lb)-thrust version of its engine, called the EJ230, combined with an axisymmetric thrust-vectoring nozzle from Spanish Eurojet partner ITP, and a control system from Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) subsidiary MTU.

  89. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 13, 2010 12:04 am

    For those of you seeking some generally naval-centric “entertainment,” head over to GrandLogistics. We’ve been practicing identification of odd and unusual warships and auxiliaries (along with some tanks / AFVs). It has become rather fun…

  90. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 26, 2010 10:18 pm

    DER, Thanks,

  91. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 26, 2010 10:03 pm


    I included the thread because the author stated that he had some imagery that he’d collected on his own. I don’t know -exactly- what that might mean, but some of his pictures do appear to be different from those which appear at the Covert site.

  92. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 26, 2010 9:26 pm

    DER, thanks. (I referenced only the second one, since it seemed to have everything.)

  93. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 26, 2010 7:46 pm


    Here’s something that you might want to take up and cover on CGBlog. Note the rational classification system being employed. Further, the second link’s site is well worth examining in depth.

    Narco subs (drug runners) thread

    Covert Shores Naval Warfare Blog: Narco submarines, torpedoes and semi-submersibles

  94. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 26, 2010 4:56 pm

    Very appropriate. Making your corvette submersible may be cheaper than giving it a credible AAW capability. And when the crew starts getting beat up in rough weather, you can take them below for a little rest.

  95. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 26, 2010 4:38 pm

    You know, if they were to install that proposed electric rail gun from the Advansea frigate onto the SMX-25 – why, then we would be back to the concept of the submarine gunboat (which generated this “Dept. of Silly Ideas”).

  96. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:02 pm

    Scott B.

    I like the idea, a corvette that has the option of submerging. The speed seems extreme, and it probably needs some kind of boat for boardings and UAV for scouting.

    Looks like the podded propulsion is vulnerable.

    This is an update of the Gato Class operational concepts near the end of WWII. Their guns got bigger and more numerous because most of their targets were small, not worth a torpedo, but they could still hide when things got hot or use torpedoes for the big targets. Lots of range, relatively high surface speed.

    The problem with many of the AIP subs, from a US point of view, is that to use them offensively, it takes too long for them to get into theater and return. This would solve that.

    Could be used to insert special ops teams. Recon.

    Land attack cruise missile carrier?

    Could be a good commerce raider, operating in the broad ocean areas where unlikely to encounter enemy air or surface units. Shoot/scoot/submerge. Assuming air ASW forces have a long way to come in response, high surface speed to quickly open some distance from the flaming datum, then submerge. The high speed surface dash before submerging would make the search area for a submerged submarine too large to search effectively.

    Cheap alternative to nuclear sub in terms of mobility and range if you face ASW forces that are not of the first rank, but I see this more as a surface ship with advance stealth features than a SSK replacement, so yes a LCS replacement.

    Still who would want one? The US could use it, but they would never consider it. The French perhaps. The Australians and Canadians might consider it. Navies with limited budgets, but great distances to cover. Israel to give them a long reach and deniablity?

  97. Scott B. permalink
    October 26, 2010 4:32 am

    Littoral Warfare : LCS is so passe…

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    DCNS concepts ships: the SMX-25

    As it does for each Euronaval exhibition, DCNS presents its completed and available R&D projects, in this case the SMX-25 and the Advansea. The SMX-25 has as its goal the rapid projection into a theater of operations of a vessel which would exploit both the advantages of a submarine and those of a surface ship. Conceived to operate on the surface at 38 knots (10 knots submerged), the SMX-25 has three gas turbines and three water jets. Carrying 16 missiles, 4 heavy torpedoes and machine guns, it can fight on the surface as well as underwater, while being able to use UUVs or UAVs. A vessel able to take into account the need to act against land objectives and littoral combat, it will carry, in addition to its 27 crew members, some ten special forces, while displacing 4,850 tons submerged and 2,850 tons surfaced. With a length of 109 m (354 ft), acoustically discreet, and benefiting from stealth design, it is a vessel capable of reconnaissance as well as combat or intelligence missions.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Pics here

  98. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 25, 2010 10:01 pm


    Yeah, that aspect of the site is especially nice. Plus, we’ve got both “Breaking News” and “Dept. of Silly Ideas” to work with (at the very least).

    And it’s so easy to post useful tools here. For example, here’s one from Google News about the Senkaku Islands:

    Then, here’s one about that oceanic realm that the Chinese want to claim as their own private space – the South China Sea:

    Of course, there is some overlap between the two topics (given the players).

  99. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 25, 2010 7:53 pm

    I like the format here because you can tell right away if a new comment has been posted, unlike a lot of blogs.

  100. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 24, 2010 6:55 pm


    That seems like an appropriate use for this available resource.

    Here’s an interesting bit of news from Mike Colombaro’s Combat Fleet Of The World. When the SSN HMS Astute ran aground on the Isle of Skye it was pulled free by a tug. Well, it turns out that particular auxiliary and another three tugs are now scheduled to be taken out of service during 2011. So, the RN isn’t just losing warships.

    Bid to free grounded nuclear sub

    Scrap-threatened tug sent to submarine HMS Astute

  101. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 24, 2010 1:35 pm

    Maybe we ought to just appropriate this site for a little informal discussion (until Mike hopefully returns), particularly making sure everyone is aware of what we find that might be of interest.

    For British topics, this site seems to be interesting, although they haven’t caught up with the news of the Defense review yet. All the Brits seem to be in shock–can’t blame them, I think they have just given up the Falkland Islands.

    DER thanks, I’m going to take a look at Kyle Mizokami’s Japan Security Watch

  102. D. E. Reddick permalink
    October 23, 2010 8:46 pm

    Wow! Just look at the recent activity here. I haven’t visited for over a month and it seems as though we all might be missing the community of New Wars.

    I’ve been paying close attention to Chuck’s CGBlog and Kyle Mizokami’s Japan Security Watch, with a slight bit of posting at each page.

    Chuck is currently discussing cutters and the USN’s hopefully abortive attempt at a Least Capable Ship (LCS – I just cannot -ever- leave that topic alone).

    Kyle has been covering the new stealth 19DD class of stealth AAW destroyer / frigate just launched for the Japanese Maritime SDF and the ongoing problem of China claiming all of the seas and islands between Japan and the Philippines (not just the Senkakus, but also Okinawa – one wonders how USMC personnel might ‘receive’ a PLAN invasion force).

  103. Scott B. permalink
    October 23, 2010 4:45 pm

    Smitty said : “Wonder if such a ship could fit 32+ Sea Gripens?”

    1) CDG has MUCH MORE problems that just the limitations with the air group mentioned earlier.

    2) Sea Gripen remains largely speculative at present.

    Caveats aside, I would think 30 (+/- 2) Sea Gripens. I’ll try and elaborate a bit more later on.

  104. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 22, 2010 3:37 pm

    No, I haven’t found the same level of exchange anywhere else since Mike closed down. Tango Six ( has been very active lately as you might expect with all the news out of the UK and I see RhodeIslander and Leesea over at

    I keep hoping Mike will come back.

  105. Heretic permalink
    October 22, 2010 11:13 am

    Wow … usual suspects speak up on old blog!
    I might have to start checking in daily again over here to see if anything is moving …

  106. October 20, 2010 7:41 pm


    I wasn’t expecting to find anyone here!

    It would have been interesting to hear Mike’s opinion on the latest British defence review.
    Given all the problems with Charles De Gaulle and Britain having two spare carriers in future,there could be interesting times ahead.

    Even our late host might not object to a 65,000 tonne carrier costing £859 Milliion.


  107. Scott B. permalink
    October 20, 2010 6:08 pm

    Smitty said : “And it isn’t exactly small, in carrier terms.”

    Yet, CDG is too small in CVN terms.

  108. Scott B. permalink
    October 20, 2010 6:02 pm

    Chuck Hill said : “No wing fold on the Rafale Marine?”


  109. Chuck Hill permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:50 pm

    No wing fold on the Rafale Marine?

  110. B.Smitty permalink
    October 19, 2010 4:27 pm

    And it isn’t exactly small, in carrier terms.

    Wonder if such a ship could fit 32+ Sea Gripens?

  111. Scott B. permalink
    October 19, 2010 3:56 am

    CVN Charles de Gaulle Air Group

    Details (in French) here

    In short :

    Agapanthe 2010 deployment :
    * 10 x Rafale Marine
    * 12 x Super Etendard Modernise
    * 2 x Hawkeye
    * 3 x Dauphin Pedro
    * 1 x Puma

    Projected Air Group :
    * 24 x Rafale Marine
    * 2 x Hawkeye
    * 4 Helos

    Reason for the smaller-than-desired air group (30 instead of 40) is the bigger-than-expected footprint of the Rafale Marine (max. 24 instead of 32).

    Small is NOT that beautiful…

  112. Chuck Hill permalink
    September 7, 2010 8:30 pm

    Notice Scott B’s brochure not only talked about a maritime fuselage and shipboard operations, it also gave a length dimension with the rotors folded that was the same as the fuse length. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that folding the blades will be quick, easy, or routine.

  113. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:31 pm

    Smitty said : “Is the MV-22 number representative of a mature system?”

    Will the V-22 ever morph into a *mature* system any time soon. I think NOT !!!

  114. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:26 pm

    Smitty said : “a) Are they measuring the same thing? Army and USMC accounting methods may differ.”

    CH-47 costs : see for instance p. 33-34 of GAO-10-717.

    “As discussed earlier in the report, unit-level consumption costs reported in the Army’s VAMOSC system include fuel, materials and supplies, repair parts, and training munitions.”

    V-22 costs : see for instance footnote #9, page 4 of GAO-09-482

    “Cost per flight hour is calculated by adding the total cost of fuel, flight equipment,
    consumables and repairables then dividing by the flight hours flown.”

  115. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 7, 2010 5:34 pm


    I worry about two things wrt those numbers.

    a) Are they measuring the same thing? Army and USMC accounting methods may differ.

    b) Is the MV-22 number representative of a mature system? New aircraft often have high initial operating costs until processes can be established and early “mistake” aircraft can be phased out.

  116. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 4:54 pm

    Smitty said : “As well as maintenance hours per flight hour and cost per flight hour.”

    Cost per flight hour :

    CH-47D : $4,892 (source : GAO-10-717, p. 33)

    V-22 : over $11,000 (source : GAO-09-482)

    See for instance page 4 :

    “The MV-22’s costs per flight hour is over $11,000—more than double the target estimate and 140 percent higher than the CH-46E helicopter.”

  117. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 4:30 pm

    Smitty said : “The interior payload dimensions (not counting ramp) of the V-22 appear to be about 250″ x 72″ x 58/66″. So about 11.6 square meters.”

    Boeing says :

    Length, max, ft (m) — 20.8 (6.34) i.e. 249.8″
    Width, max, ft (m) — 5.7 (1.74) i.e. 68.4″
    Height, max, ft (m) — 5.5 (1.67) i.e. 66″

    So max 11.0 square meters.

  118. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 7, 2010 4:04 pm

    The interior payload dimensions (not counting ramp) of the V-22 appear to be about 250″ x 72″ x 58/66″.

    So about 11.6 square meters.

    OTOH, the CH-47F has an interior around 21.25 square meters.

    Or about 83% larger.

    11.6 square meters split amongst 24 troops is about .48 square meters each.

    21.25 square meters split amongst 33 troops is a spacious .64 square meters each.

    Packing a CH-47 to the same density as a V-22 would let you carry 44 troops.

    The V-22 payload volume is around 19.5 cubic meters (not counting ramp) compared to around 42 cubic meters for the CH-47.

    Or 115% larger.

    So while the V-22 might be much faster and able to carry internal loads further, it can carry far less per load, especially low-density loads.

    And when the combination of deck and hangar deck spots are considered, arguably fewer V-22s can be carried than folding CH-47s.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of the maintenance and logistics requirements between the two. As well as maintenance hours per flight hour and cost per flight hour.

  119. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 3:27 pm

    And here is one for Smitty and all the Chinook enthusiasts.

    From the HH-47 CSAR-X brochure :

    (bold emphasis added)

    ” The HH-47 incorporates a number of combat-proven advantages. These include the MH-47G capability of forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR), terrain following/terrain avoidance (TF/TA) radar, in-flight refueling, a net-ready cockpit, and maritime-type fuselage.

    Then from the list of bullet points further down :

    Shipboard operations

  120. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:54 pm

    Al L. said : “And if I’m not mistaken those tanks have to be installed on the center of gravity so you split the cabin?”

    This pic clearly shows how 3 tanks PLUS the FARE kit are installed in the Chinook.

    This pic was part of the link @ Robertson Aviation I posted earlier.

    Did you check this link before you posted ?

  121. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:50 pm

    AL L. said : “You provided the evidence, the CNA document page 12&13”

    And this doc. doesn’t support any of your claims.

    Can we stick a fork in this now ?

  122. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:48 pm

    Al L. said : “Yeah, 3 tanks leaves no room for seated troops, 3 fit in the cabin, it holds 33 troops, which means logically each tank takes the place of 11 troops”

    800 gallons of JP-4 is a volume of ~ 60 in. * 60 in. * 60 in, as shown on this pic.

    I.E. a footprint of 60″ x 60″ = 3,600″. I.E. a total of 3 * 3,600″ = 10,800″

    Internal cabin dimensions on the CH-47 are : 366 in. * 90 in. * 78 in.

    That means you still have half of the cabin length with full width (i.e. 90 in.) and another half with 1/3 of the width vacant (i.e. 30 in.).

    That’s quick & dirty calc. indeed, but I don’t quite see how this would leave no room for seated troops as you suggest.

  123. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:32 pm

    Smitty said : “You don’t even necessarily need ERFS II. The MH-47′s sponson tanks are already twice the size of the CH-47F’s.”

    So does the HH-47. Which is the exact reason why I offered to use it as the baseline for the notional maritime variant earlier in the discussion.

  124. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:13 pm

    Scott B. said:
    “And your evidence is ???”

    You provided the evidence, the CNA document page 12&13, thats about as recent as I’ve seen a full listing of ACE spot factors and the only time I’ve seen a chart of the historical change.

    Thanks for the excellent data by the way.

  125. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:06 pm

    Scott B. said:

    “The system provides the capability of dispensing 2400 gallons of fuel within a 150 NM radius of action or a self-deployment range of 1100 NM.”

    Yeah, 3 tanks leaves no room for seated troops, 3 fit in the cabin, it holds 33 troops, which means logically each tank takes the place of 11 troops, it probably takes 2 tanks to equal MV-22 range so it can do 11 troops, much slowwer than MV-22 can do 24? How’s that make sense. And if I’m not mistaken those tanks have to be installed on the center of gravity so you split the cabin? Please explain it all to me.

  126. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:05 pm

    You don’t even necessarily need ERFS II. The MH-47’s sponson tanks are already twice the size of the CH-47F’s.

  127. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:56 pm

    Al L. said : “That may have been the spot factor then but it’s not now”

    And your evidence is ???

    Nothing so far…

  128. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:53 pm

    Al L. said : “I’ll believe it when you can show me graphs like page 34 of this document:”

    1) Internal fuel capacity on the CH-47F is 1,034 gallons.

    2) ERFS II adds up to 2,400 gallons.

    3) This US Army document clearly states (p. 9) :

    “The system provides the capability of dispensing 2400 gallons of fuel within a 150 NM radius of action or a self-deployment range of 1100 NM.”

  129. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:09 pm

    Scott B. said:

    “ERFSII is meant to actually double that figure, and, when so fitted, still offers more cabin room / payload than the exquisite V-22.”

    I’ll believe it when you can show me graphs like page 34 of this document:

    Click to access V-22_64214_pGuide.pdf

  130. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:56 pm

    Al L. said : “Now note the fact that at about 268 kilometers (146 nm) CH-47F’s capabilities drop like rock.”

    ERFS II is meant to actually double that figure, and, when so fitted, still offers more cabin room / payload than the exquisite V-22.

  131. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:39 pm

    B. Smitty said:

    “…it appears the Navy considers the hangar spot factor more important than deck spot factor…”

    I don’t know how you draw such a conclusion from the coincidence that the result of a calculation you made from one report just happens to match a number from another report, particularly when almost none of the figures for the other aircraft can be related the same way.

    Read the CNA doc. It addresses the fact that spot factors are not static, they change over time with experience, modifications to aircraft, etc. Look at the chart on page 13. You’ll see that the MV-22 spot factor has gotten bigger, then smaller, and then split in 2. The PEO brief is 5 years old. That may have been the spot factor then but it’s not now, so how is it evidence the Navy considers hanger spots more important than deck spots?

  132. Scott B. permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:12 pm

    Smitty said : “From other documents posted on this topic, it appears the Navy considers the hangar spot factor more important than deck spot factor when it comes to the number of aircraft carried.”

    On a Wasp-class LHD, the hangar can accommodate 28 CH-46 equivalents, while the flight deck can take another 14 or so.

    When you apply the deck multiples from the CNA (and not RAND !!!), this is what you get for the tilt-lemon :

    hangar : 28 * (1.30 / 2.92) = 12-13 V-22s
    flight deck : 14 * (1.32 / 1.75) = 10-11 V-22s

    total : 22-24 V-22s vs 42 CH-46s, i.e. 1 V-22 for every 1.75-1.90 CH-46.

    Which is pretty much in line with the deck multiple I already gave on August 31

    Of course, it gets worth when you consider that the MV-22 maintenance position takes almost 4 CH-46 equivalents, meaning that the hangar deck won’t take more than 11-12 V-22s.

  133. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:03 pm

    B. Smitty said:

    “So really the only thing the MV-22 has on the Chinook is long-range insertion of a small number of troops.”

    You are ignoring a whole bunch of facts not to mention tossing out doctrine to shoe horn Ch-47 into the USMC.

    I’ll go back to one of my earlier comments on this subject:

    Look at the graph on page 7 of this document real close:

    Click to access MR1713.ch2.pdf

    Now note the fact that at about 268 kilometers (146 nm) CH-47F’s capabilities drop like rock. With 20 marines fully loaded it might reach 165nm. A ship these days may have to stand 75nm off a shore to launch. Add in 25nm to maneuver an indirect line to the drop zone or false drops etc. Add in a 45 degree approach to the shore from the ship which is 106nm. A CH-47 might be able to drop Marines 35nm inland. AN MV-22 can do the same mission much faster, which means by the time the CH-47F has dropped those 20 marines the MV-22 is already halfway back to the ship for another load.

    The implication is the added range of an MV-22 can be used to pick landing zones over an area on land as much as 3 times larger than a CH-47F. and it does it a lot faster, which means by the time the CH-47F has dropped those 20 marines the MV-22 is already halfway back to the ship for another load.

    There’s only 2 ways a CH-47F will replace MV-22 or CH-53
    1) Substantially redesign it, in which case the evidence,(The CSAR-x contract award) is it will cost just as much or more than the incremental cost of a MV-22, which is about $62 million. Remember all that $100 million+ cost stuff involves development cost most of which was sunk over 25 years ending several years ago, it’s irrelavent at this point.

    2) Convince the USMC and the USN to change the doctrine they’ve developed through the last 2 or so decades.

  134. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:15 am

    Al L,

    From other documents posted on this topic, it appears the Navy considers the hangar spot factor more important than deck spot factor when it comes to the number of aircraft carried.

    From the CNA doc,

    2.92/1.3 = 2.2 (MV-22 SF/CH-46 SF)

    From the PEO brief to NDIA, (

    MV-22 – 2.2

    Back in 2007, Boeing proposed a few “growth Chinook” variants that could carry a 12-13 ton load for 215nm. One just had structural enhancements and possibly new engines. Another inserted a 26 inch plug. A third had a new, wider airframe.

    These would obviously have development costs, however they could be shared by the USMC and Army and would benefit both services.

    The CH-47F doesn’t just have a larger cabin. It has a LOT larger cabin. It can be overloaded with up to 55 seated troops in 3 rows, and there are anecdotes of CH-47s in Vietnam carrying as many as 147 refugees in a single load! Up to 99 POWs were crammed into a single CH-47 during Desert Storm. 24 seated troops in an MV-22 is a tight fit as it is. The GAO report said this number would probably drop to 20 when the Marines are heavily loaded, and will drop further when the chin turret is installed.

    The MV-22 can sling load 10,000 lbs for 50nm. The CH-47F can carry 16,000lbs the same distance. The CH-47 can be configured to carry 24 litters to the MV-22’s 12.

    So really the only thing the MV-22 has on the Chinook is long-range insertion of a small number of troops.

  135. Al L. permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:01 am

    Scott B. said:

    “And the CNA (via Quantico) should settle this discussion once for all (hopefully) !!!”

    Like I said there’s a lot more to it than just squaring the dimensions.

    Scott calculated a ch-46 equivalent 1.73 for the spot factor of MV-22 but using the Rand figures he quotes MV-22 has a Ch-46 equivalent spot factor of 1.33. Note Rand uses the MH-60S as the spot factor unit. CH-46 has a spot factor of 1.32 and MV-22 of 1.73. To convert to a Ch-46 equivalent divide 1.73 by 1.32 which yields 1.33.

    Furthermore, using squared dimensions a Ch-46 should have a flight deck spot factor of 1.54 in the Rand figures, but it has a spot factor of 1.32.

    Could the difference be OVERHANG, among other things? Keep going and you’ll realize a folded CH-47 would have a spot factor equal to or greater than MV-22.

    Not to mention that to get a Ch-47 to perform in the neighborhood of a MV-22 or CH-53E(nevermind the K) you would have to start with an HH-47 and then further modify it for ship board use. The nullified contract awarded to Boeing in 2006 for HH-47 was for 141 units for $10 billion. Thats $71 million per unit. That would be $78 million in 2010 dollars before factoring in mods for use aboard ship, inevitable contract overruns( it’s a paper aircraft afterall) etc, etc.

    Like I said, the way to make a CH-47 into an aircraft suitable for the Marines is to turn it into an MV-22. Because by the time its redesigned to suit it won’t have any more range, or fit a deck any better or cost any less. All it will offer is a bigger cabin, a whole lot less speed and horrendous fuel consumption.

  136. Scott B. permalink
    September 5, 2010 1:37 pm

    B. Smitty said : “Can you pack CH-46s within the width of the sponsons?”

    AFAIK, that’s not the way it’s done on the LHAs / LHDs.

  137. B.Smitty permalink
    September 5, 2010 10:25 am

    Scott B said, “I’m sure you’ve already seen this comparison chart between CH-46 and CH-47, but I’m not too sure why you think the spot factor would be higher than the ratio of the respective footprints.

    Can you pack CH-46s within the width of the sponsons?

  138. B.Smitty permalink
    September 4, 2010 11:35 pm

    Maybe it’s $35-40 million if you buy 200+ units.

  139. September 4, 2010 10:31 pm

    Hello Scott B.

    those are interesting numbers for the Chinook but still way off the recent international sales:

    The Canadians were very specific in separating purchase and support contracts and three other recent contracts or requests fall very close to their $80 Million each figure.

    I am wondering if there is something in the American numbers which is accounted for under a different heading,Government Furnished Equipment?


  140. September 4, 2010 10:21 pm


    Scott B. said:

    “Not sure where you’ve got this $30 million figure from.”


    The 2008 announcement of an Indian selection of the Merlin also suggested $300 Million for 12 helicopters ($25 Million each) although the recently signed contract was for 560 Million Euros including a 5 year support package:

    Another contract for 6 replacement Merlins for Denmark was for £175 Million ($45 Million each) but that includes the cost or converting the original 6 Danish Merlins to British standards too:

    Probably the most useful figures for the Merlin would be from the recent Algerian order but as far as I am aware details of that have not been announced.

    Considering a range of known international contracts for both types I believe a Merlins is likely to cost a little less than half the price of a Chinook.


  141. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:52 pm

    Re : CH-47F procurement cost

    1) In 2005, the GAO (see GAO-05-301, page 41) reported the procurement cost for the CH-47F to be $6,394 million for 339 unit, all of them refurbished, meaning a unit cost of about $18.9 million for a refurbished CH-47F.

    2) In 2006, the GAO (see GAO-06-391, page 45) noted “because increase in quantities includes 55 new build helicopters, program unit cost increased approximately 12 percent over what [they] reported last year.”

    This suggests that

    a) cost for the refurbished CH-47F (512 – 55 = 457 units) remained stable @ $18.9 million per unit, for a sub-total of $8.637 million.

    b) cost for the new build CH-47F (55 units) was $2.010 million (=$10.647M – $8.637M), i.e. about $36.5 million per unit.

    3) According to the December 2009 SAR (page 12), total program cost was $12,147 million for 512 units (202 new build and 310 refurbished).

    This is reasonably consistent with the cost estimates reported by the GAO in 2005 and 2006, i.e. :

    202 new build @ $36.5 million = $7.373 million
    310 refurbished @ $18.9 million = $5,859 million

    i.e. Total for 512 units = $13.232 million (vs $12,147 per SAR).

    This October 2005 article (from National Defense Magazine) suggests a cost somewhere between $30 and $42 million for a new build CH-47F :

    “Lean manufacturing techniques helped cut the cost of a new CH-47F from $42 million to $30 million.”

    From there, it seems reasonable to assume a new build CH-47F to cost $35-40 million per unit.

    I.e. less than 1/2 the procurement cost of the over-hyped V-22.

  142. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:14 pm

    Scott B. said : “So that’s more like 80-85% / 15-20%.”

    OTOH, this 2009 GAO report says 202 new build and 311 refurbished (page 35).

  143. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 8:06 pm

    Scott B. said : “For the US Army, it’s gonna be a mix between re-manufactured and new-build. I don’t have the exact figures handy, but it’s something like 75% / 25% IIRC.”

    This 2005 article gives the following data :

    CH-47F = 395 refurbished + 55 new build

    MH-47G is adding another 60 (or so), including 24 new build.

    So that’s more like 80-85% / 15-20%.

  144. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 7:22 pm

    T6 said : “I am not sure how much the CH53Ks will be but Merlins sell for about $30 Million each.

    Not sure where you’ve got this $30 million figure from.

    What I had in mind (from the good ol’ US101 era) was that you could buy 2 AW101 for the procurement cost (i.e. APUC) of 1 V-22, meaning a procurement cost of about $45 million for the AW101.

    Which is reasonably consistent with what reported in this document, p.72 :

    $34 million in 2001 USD ~ $42 million in 2009 USD

    Would you have a reliable source to offer for your $30 million figure ?

  145. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 7:04 pm

    B. Smitty said : “Who knows what a folding HH-47s Spot Factor would be. Likely higher than the 1.22 multiple based on dimensions alone. However it does have a nice, compact rectangular shape – just like the CH-46.”

    I’m sure you’ve already seen this comparison chart between CH-46 and CH-47, but I’m not too sure why you think the spot factor would be higher than the ratio of the respective footprints.

  146. B.Smitty permalink
    September 4, 2010 6:53 pm

    Thanks Scott. Very interesting.

    Who knows what a folding HH-47s Spot Factor would be. Likely higher than the 1.22 multiple based on dimensions alone. However it does have a nice, compact rectangular shape – just like the CH-46.

  147. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 6:45 pm

    Scott B. said : “RAND is with you on this one “

    And the CNA (via Quantico) should settle this discussion once for all (hopefully) !!!

    Flight Deck Spot Factors :

    * MH-60S = 1.00
    * CH-46 = 1.32
    * MV-22 = 1.75
    * CH-53 = 2.41
    * UH-1N = 0.89
    * UH-1Y = 1.28
    * AH-1W = 1.01
    * AH-1Z = 1.29
    * F-35B = 2.96
    * MV-22 maint. position = N/A
    * F-35B Triplet Flight deck = 5.28

    Hangar Deck Spot Factors :

    * MH-60S = 1.00
    * CH-46 = 1.30
    * MV-22 = 2.92
    * CH-53 = 3.50
    * UH-1N = 1.17
    * UH-1Y = 1.46
    * AH-1W = 1.13
    * AH-1Z = 1.59
    * F-35B = 2.69
    * MV-22 maint. position = 5.00
    * F-35B Triplet Flight deck = N/A

    See pp.12-13 of this document

  148. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 6:32 pm

    B. Smitty said : “The Spot Factor for an MV-22 is 2.22 according to this,”

    RAND is with you on this one (see p. 20, footnote #7 of this 2010 report) :

    “Spot factor is a method of sizing aircraft using the CH-46E helicopter as a unit of measure; the CH-46E is defined as having a spot factor of 1.0. The larger MV-22 has a spot factor of 2.22, and the still-larger CH-53E has a spot factor of 2.68.”

    (emphasis added)

  149. B.Smitty permalink
    September 4, 2010 6:11 pm

    The Spot Factor for an MV-22 is 2.22 according to this,

    Click to access 5860_Warner.pdf

    Page 31

  150. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 6:04 pm

    Al L. said : “You convienintly use 110nm. But thats just the requirement for the threshold slung lift of the aircraft (MV-22 10000lb to 110nm,(m777) CH-53k 27000lb to 110nm.(LAV-25)) It has nothing to do with troop transport in an assault or any other intended use of the aircraft.”

    Alternatively, one could *conveniently* use the range parameters given by the USMC, i.e. :

    * Amphibious Pre-Assault Raid 200 nm (230nm)
    * Amphibious External Lift with 10,000 lb load 50 nm (50nm)
    * Land Assault External Lift 50nm (69nm)

    Once you realize that “the MV-22 may not be best suited for the full range of missions requiring medium lift, because the aircraft’s speed cannot be exploited over shorter distances or in transporting external cargo. These concerns were also highlighted in a recent preliminary analysis of the MV-22 by the Center for Naval Analysis, which found that the MV-22 may not be the optimal platform for those missions” (see GAO-09-692T, pp.4-5), you start really to ask yourself whether the 200NM pre-assault raid thingy is really worth the extreme financial burden.

    All the more as this exquisite 200NM thingy may not be based on credible assumptions…

  151. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 5:48 pm

    Take a look at the numbers shown in this page on LHA-1 (from various brief on seabasing made by Jim Strock, Director, Seabasing Integration Division Capabilities Development Directorate, MCCDC, Quantico) :

    1) LHA-1 Tarawa-class can accommodate the legacy composite ACE, i.e. :

    * 6 x AV-8 (@ 1.53 each = 9.18 DM)
    * 12 x CH-46E (@ 1.00 each = 12.00 DM)
    * 4 x CH-53E (@ 2.68 each = 10.72 DM)
    * 4 x AH-1W (@ 0.83 each = 3.32 DM)
    * 3 x UH-1N (@ 0.93 each = 2.79 DM)
    * 2 x H-60 SAR (@ 0.87 each = 1.74 DM)

    TOTAL = 39.75 DM

    2) LHA-1 Tarawa-class is incapable to support full compliment of future MEU ACE, but is capable of supporting the follwing mix :

    * 10 x MV-22
    * 6 x AV-8 (@ 1.53 each = 9.18 DM)
    * 4 x CH-53E (@ 2.68 each = 10.72 DM)
    * 3 x AH-1W (@ 0.83 each = 2.49 DM)
    * 2 x H-60 SAR (@ 0.87 each = 1.74 DM)

    AV-8 + CH-53E + AH-1W + H-60 SAR account for 24.13 DM, which means that 10 x MV-22 account for 15.62 DM (= 39.75 – 24.13), i.e. the deck multiple for the MV-22 is 1.56.

    IOW, nowhere near the 1.25 figure that was *optimistically* suggested earlier…

  152. Scott B. permalink
    September 4, 2010 5:28 pm

    Al L. said : “Scott’s spot factors are simple conversions of square footages of the squared dimensions of the aircraft. They aren’t as far as I know the actual factors the Corps uses.”

    The deck multiples I provided are actually pretty close to what the USMC uses. See for instance this document (, page 9 :

    Deck Multiples :

    CH-53E = 2.68
    CH-46 = 1.00
    UH-1 = 0.93
    AH-1 = 0.83
    AV-8 = 1.53
    SH-60 = 0.87

    I suspect some inquisitive minds will argue that MV-22 is not in there, so I’ll offer a bit of maths in the next post.

  153. Anonymous permalink
    September 4, 2010 3:58 pm

    B. Smitty isn’t just simplifying, he’s taking it to the point of being cretinous…

    ..then beyond cretinous, down the road, and turn left at ‘clearly got no clue’

  154. Al L. permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:58 pm

    B. Smitty said:

    “Clearly I’m making a bunch of simplifications. This is just for illustrative purposes.”

    Well you are over simplifying to support your stand in my opinion. Well start with a couple of flaws that derive from some complexities you left out.

    1. Scott’s spot factors are simple conversions of square footages of the squared dimensions of the aircraft. They aren’t as far as I know the actual factors the Corps uses. Take MV-22. Scott’s number is 1.73. But the MV-22 doesn’t spot that big. Look at these diagrams:

    You’ll notice that the helicopters are lined up side by side. The MV-22 is only 1.25 times as wide as a CH-46 and 1.17 times a ch-47. However as you will notice in 6th diagram a substantial part of the
    MV-22’s length doesnt have to occupy any deck space because the tail can be hung over the the deck. So the MV-22 can actually be spotted in more places on a deck than a Ch-47 could because MV-22 can hang 23 of its 57′ length off the deck, where as a CH-47 can only hang about 7′ at best( unless thay start parking them nose out)

    This is just a small example of the complexities of comparing an aircraft that was designed from scratch for amphib ops vs one that was designed for land ops.

    2. You convienintly use 110nm. But thats just the requirement for the threshold slung lift of the aircraft (MV-22 10000lb to 110nm,(m777) CH-53k 27000lb to 110nm.(LAV-25)) It has nothing to do with troop transport in an assault or any other intended use of the aircraft.

    Try this with a CH-47. Launch from the ship 75 miles from shore, climb to 5000 feet so the enemy can see the aircraft on radar, fly parallel to shore 50 miles, drop down to 200′, turn around and fly the opposite direction parallel to shore 125nm, turn and fly 125nm toward shore, drop 24 Marines 50nm inland. Go back to the ship and do it again with enough margin to be sure its done during 1 night. Good luck.

  155. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 3, 2010 11:02 am

    I meant to write,

    8 x V-22 and
    4 x CH-53K

    Clearly there are many other vectors by which to judge performance.

    The 110nm range I used is shorter than the 251nm range with 24 troops specified in the MV-22 requirements, however it appears to be consistent with the CH-53K requirements.

  156. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    September 3, 2010 9:50 am

    Al L,

    Let’s say the transport portion of an average ACE used to have the following,

    12 x CH-46E
    4 x CH-53E

    That comes to 22 “spots”, using Scott’s spot factors.

    Now, assuming idealized packing, in the same area one could fit,

    8 x V-22 and
    4 x CH-47K


    18 x HH-47s

    If one considers a 110nm air assault, then these configurations could deliver the following number of troops per hour:

    CH-46+CH-53E – 203.2 troops/hour
    V-22+CH-53K – 325 troops/hour
    HH-47 – 378 troops/hour

    Based on these platform characteristic:

    CH-46E – cruise speed: 134kts, 14 troops
    CH-53E – cruise speed: 150kts, 37 troops
    CH-53K – cruise speed: 170kts, 37 troops
    V-22 – cruise speed: 241kts, 24 troops (packed in like sardines)
    HH-47 – cruise speed: 140kts, 33 troops

    Clearly I’m making a bunch of simplifications. This is just for illustrative purposes.

  157. CBD permalink
    September 1, 2010 7:30 am

    “I can’t help but wonder what the additional $10.6 Million per unit pays for…tangosix.”


    Like the Typhoon RWS repackaged by BAE as the Mk 38 Mod 2…or many other systems that required an ‘American’ company to make (assemble) and sell it to the Pentagon. We’d save a lot of money by admitting the true origin of many of these items if we didn’t force some of the more friendly countries’ companies to go through the useless charade.

  158. Al L. permalink
    September 1, 2010 3:13 am

    B Smitty said:
    “The CH-46 was designed for Marine use. The CH-47 would be a major improvement.”

    Any thing would be an improvement over ch-46. It was the first helicopter designed after the Marines developed vertical assault, in the late 50’s. Much has been learned. It’s not a good model for capabilities.

    “Maybe the Marines need to rethink their requirements in light of what we now know about the MV-22 and CH-53K, along with the current operational environment and budget realities.”

    The requirements are based on the historical and future op environment. The current op environment isn’t a good way to plan if by that you mean Afghanistan.
    Here’s what the Marines face. They used to go ashore mostly in boats and do their thing near the beach. Then they developed vert. assault bought helicopters with a fixed range in mind from the ships. Then not too long after they started getting asked to push that distance out further and further, some times by ad hoc means. That has been the case ever since. You can see it in various evacuations, the Iran hostage rescue, the little known long helicopter assault into Northern Iraq, the initial helicopter assault into Afghanistan, etc. The reasons for this aren’t under the Marines control they’re national issues. The AFg & Iraq assaults are prime cases: they were required because 1)politics and 2) the Army was either too light or too heavy to make it work on it’s own.

    Add onto that the whole amphib ship vs modern sensors and ASCM problem and you can understand why the Marines have their requirements.

    When the whole high altitude Afghanistan thing is over the USMC will be back on their ships and once again they’ll be asked if they can put some Marines on some helicopters, fly over some island or lake or bay or city or country and do an evacuation, or backup some Special Forces or protect some Americans or help flood victims, or do an assault or a raid etc, etc.

    The only reason the Marines would need to buy Army like helicopters is if the nation plans to keep using them as a second Army.

  159. Al L. permalink
    September 1, 2010 1:12 am

    Scott B.

    Again those are nice facts but as usual theres not enough parameters for comparison: what elevation, what temperature etc. and more important than point fact references is whats the curve? Whats the envelope? What’s the mission profile? The HH-47 was designed for CSAR. not a heavy load activity. Its always been possible to make the ch-47 go long distances, just load up on fuel and reduce the load carrying capacity, fly low and go relatively slow.

  160. August 31, 2010 8:08 pm


    I noticed something interesting under the MH60R in the Selected Aquisition Report.
    It listed 23 additional Airborne Low Frequency Sonars (A.L.F.S.) for $282.8 Million or $12.3 Million each:

    Click to access 2009%20DEC%20SAR.pdf

    A.L.F.S. is the Thales Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters (F.L.A.S.H.),which Thales were selling to Ratheon for $17 Million for 10 systems or $1.7 Million each in 2006:

    I can’t help but wonder what the additional $10.6 Million per unit pays for.


  161. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 8:04 pm

    T6 said : “We get about $10,000 Million left over for development costs,or am I missing something?”

    1) Initial spares and support costs are not included in the figures reported by the GAO.

    2) Then there’re the effects of some recent wise decision-making, i.e. :

    a) shifting initial purchases from FY2013 to FY2016 added $1,148.4 million

    b) schedule growth added another $669.6 million

    It says p.5 of the SAR that an increase in R&D costs added another $611.2 million, meaning that overall R&D cost should be around $4.8 billion.

    I’d speculate the following breakdown :

    * R&D : about $5 billion
    * procurement : about $15.5 billion
    * schedule changes : about $2 billion
    * support & initial spares : about $3 billion

  162. August 31, 2010 7:45 pm


    looking at the figures CBD posted earlier,”spares and support costs” might account for a big chunk of that $10,000 Million.


  163. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:42 pm

    T6 said : “There seems to be a huge disparity there,could one price be for refurbished CH47Ds and the higher price be for newbuilds?”

    For the US Army, it’s gonna be a mix between re-manufactured and new-build. I don’t have the exact figures handy, but it’s something like 75% / 25% IIRC.

  164. August 31, 2010 7:33 pm

    Hello Scott B.,

    this report puts the total programme cost at $25,526.1 Million:

    Click to access 2009%20DEC%20SAR.pdf

    I deducted 200 aircraft at $70 Million from that to get $11,000 Million development costs.

    If we use your figures:

    156 units @ $79 million each = $12,327.4 million
    44 units @ $70 million each = $3,108.9 million

    We get about $10,000 Million left over for development costs,or am I missing something?

    The G.A.O. report is here:

    Click to access d10388sp.pdf


  165. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:11 pm

    T6 said : “That production cost seems to be very reasonable but it suggests the development cost is about $11,000 Million,which is extremely high for a vanilla transport helicopter.”

    Latest GAO report gives the following number (as of 08/2009) :

    Quantity : 156 units
    R&D cost : $4,222.5 million
    Procurement cost : $12,327.4 million

    Which is reasonably consistent with the figures from the SAR, i.e. :

    156 units @ $79 million each = $12,327.4 million
    44 units @ $70 million each = $3,108.9 million

  166. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:02 pm

    Smitty said : “So for roughly 2m more length and a bit more width you can go from stowing a CH-46 to stowing a CH-47 (assuming previous assumptions hold true).”

    Using HH-47 (rather than CH-47F) as the baseline for a marinized variant, stowed dimensions would be something like this :

    * length : 52 ft 1 in (15.88 meter)
    * width : 15 ft 9 in (4.80 meter)
    * height : 16 ft 1 in (4.90 meter)

    So deck multiples more or less look like this :

    CH-46E : 1.00
    H-60R/S : 0.65
    HH-47 : 1.22
    AW-101 : 1.41
    V-22 : 1.73
    CH-53E : 2.50
    CH-53K : 1.95

  167. August 31, 2010 6:47 pm

    Hello CBD,

    That is a very interesting comparison.
    I think I neglected to add the spares and support costs when I came up with $70 Million for the CH53K.

    I would love to know how the price paid for a U.S.Army Chinook relates to the $80 Million the rest of the Worlds seems to pay for the CH47F.
    There seems to be a huge disparity there,could one price be for refurbished CH47Ds and the higher price be for newbuilds?


  168. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:34 pm

    Al L. said : “All this is just silly talk unless you can figure out how to reshape the rules of physics to change whats represented by the graph on page 7 of this rand report:”

    The HH-47 (CSAR-X) was said to offer a range of more than 300 NM (555 km) carrying a payload of 8,500 lb (3,860 kg). See for instance :

    The AW101 is supposed to offer pretty much the same, i.e. a range around 300 NM carrying a payload of about 4,000 kg. See for instance the chart at the bottom of page 17 of the AW101 Maritime brochure :

    Click to access EH080510_small.pdf

  169. CBD permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:33 pm

    Some number crunching for these aircraft estimates (based on that 2009 SAR, using Then-Year $ for all cost values).
    Blackhawk (Army): 1,235 units @ $23,681.7M = $19.18 M/unit
    Longbow Apache (Army): 756 units @ $13,104.5M = $17.33M/unit
    CH-47F (Army): 525 units @ $13,636.2M = $25.97 M/unit
    LUH (Army): 345 units @ 2,003.6M = $5.8 M/unit
    CH-53K (Navy): 200 units @ $25,526.1M = $127.6 M/unit *
    MH-60R (Navy): 300 units @ $14,241.0M = $47.47 M/unit
    MH-60S (Navy): 275 units @ $7,975.7M = $29.0 M/unit
    V-22 (Navy?): 458 units @ $52,899.0M = $115.5 M/unit

    * – all of these systems except for the CH-53K are existing, actual and produced units.

    It seems quite unfavorable, in light of the above numbers, to bother with the CH-53K…except for when you look at the costs to add additional units.

    Longbow Apache: added85 aircraft at a total program cost of $542.7M + $1,135.7M = $1,678.4M or $19.75M/unit.
    CH-53K: added 44 aircraft for a total program cost of $3,108.9M + $749.7M + $456.2M = $4,314.8M or $87.06M/unit.
    MH-60R: added 46 aircraft for a total program cost of $1,385.4M + $171.6M + $257.3M = $1,814.3M or $39.44M/unit

    Still quite expensive, but better…Also, the total numbers of V-22s will likely be nowhere near 458 units…

  170. August 31, 2010 6:21 pm

    Hello Al L.,

    regarding the 53K,it almost seems like the Marines are doing with the CH53K what the Navy did with the F18E – the this new aircraft is not a new aircraft trick.
    The cost still seems to be very high though.
    Programme unit cost is about $130 Million,production unit cost about $70 Million,this document suggests:

    Click to access 2009%20DEC%20SAR.pdf

    That production cost seems to be very reasonable but it suggests the development cost is about $11,000 Million,which is extremely high for a vanilla transport helicopter.
    I will try to find some more specific figures.

    There is an interesting graph comparing ranges when carrying vehicles here:


  171. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:59 pm

    Al L.,

    The CH-46 was designed for Marine use. The CH-47 would be a major improvement.

    Maybe the Marines need to rethink their requirements in light of what we now know about the MV-22 and CH-53K, along with the current operational environment and budget realities.

  172. August 31, 2010 5:56 pm


    there is a similar graph for the CH 53K on page 4 of this document:

    Click to access CH-53K_Brochure.pdf

    Looking at all those graphs seems to support B.Smitty’s argument to some extent.
    At typical air assault ranges the CH47F has far more payload than the V22 or CH53E (but much less than the CH53K).

    The V22 has the advantage in terms of range and speed but I can’t see that being much benefit.
    Delivering a handful of marines hundreds of miles from the ship with a shrunken jeep to support them and a long wait for reinforcements (due to the longer distance negating the Osprey’s speed advantage) doesn’t seem like a good idea.

    If you want a lot of marines delivered quickly and with decent sized vehicles from a hundred miles or so offshore,the CH47F and especially CH53K would seem to be more suitable.


  173. Al L. permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:54 pm

    Tango six said:

    “How on earth can it cost so much money to develop an upgraded CH53?”

    It depends on what the meaning of upgraded is. In this case its basically a whole new aircraft, it just looks like the ch-53e and operates like the ch-53e. The fuselage is a whole new shape, wider inside, narrower outside, new engines, new rotor system, you name it.

  174. Al L. permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:19 pm

    All this is just silly talk unless you can figure out how to reshape the rules of physics to change whats represented by the graph on page 7 of this rand report:

    Click to access MR1713.ch2.pdf

    Note the huge difference in the performance curve of the CH-47 designed for Army needs and the curves of the v-22 and Ch-53e designed for Marine use.(compare that to what the ch-53k will be able to do) There’s a reason for that. There’s a simple way to get a Ch-47 to meet Marine needs: turn it into a ch-53 or v-22

  175. August 31, 2010 3:52 pm


    regarding spot size,the CH 53K is supposed to be a good deal narrower than the 53E,about 6′ narrower.

    It looks like the ideal aircraft for the United States Marines – apart from the price.
    How on earth can it cost so much money to develop an upgraded CH53?

    It is always difficult to compare helicopter prices but going by export orders the Chinook seems to go for about twice the price of a Merlin even when both aircraft are made by the same company (Agusta Westland builds both Merlins and Chinooks).

    That may be why Boeing has bought rights to Merlin,I don’t imagine they would expect to sell many if it cost as much as the Chinook.


  176. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:51 pm

    And the *cream of the cream* :

    V-22 stowed dimensions :

    * length : 63 ft (19.20 meter)
    * width : 18 ft 5 inch (5.61 meter)
    * height : 18 ft 3 inch (5.56 meter)

  177. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:42 pm

    Scott said, “
    For (non-) comparison purposes :
    CH-46E folded dimensions :
    * length : 45 ft 7.5 in (13.89 meter)
    * width : 14 ft 9 in (4.49 meter)
    * height : 16 ft 8 in (5.30 meter)

    Thanks Scott,

    So for roughly 2m more length and a bit more width you can go from stowing a CH-46 to stowing a CH-47 (assuming previous assumptions hold true).

  178. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:39 pm

    Think Mike should rename this section, “Outside the Box.”

  179. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:38 pm

    Boeing would probably be doing themselves a favor if they world make a naval version of the CH-47, after all they also made the CH-46. A lot of people are going to want a replacement for their 46s

  180. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:31 pm


    How is adding folding rotors to a CH-47 constitute “dreaming up a flying tank”? This is not rocket science.

    The CH-47 can’t duplicate the range or speed profile of the V-22, however it can actually carry two HMMWVs internally (if you grease em up real good), or 33 troops in combat order. How many troops can a V-22 realistically carry? How much is that glorified M-151 going to cost that actually fits inside a V-22?

    And how many CH-47s can you buy for the price of one CH-53K or V-22? How well will the V-22 handle high/hot conditions in Afghanistan? Could it replicate Op Anaconda (an exclusive CH-47 mission due to altitude)? Will it set fire to every grassy LZ it needs to use? Or just the dry ones?

  181. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 3:30 pm

    For (non-) comparison purposes :

    CH-46E folded dimensions :

    * length : 45 ft 7.5 in (13.89 meter)
    * width : 14 ft 9 in (4.49 meter)
    * height : 16 ft 8 in (5.30 meter)

    SH-60B folded dimensions :

    * length : 40 ft 11 in (12.47 meter)
    * width : 10 ft 7 in (3.22 meter)
    * height : 13 ft 3 in (4.04 meter)

  182. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 2:53 pm

    For (non-) comparison purposes :

    AW101 folded dimensions :

    length : 51 ft 8 in (15.75 meter)
    width : 18 ft 5 in (5.60 meter)
    height : 17 ft 5 in (5.30 meter)

  183. Submariner permalink
    August 31, 2010 2:48 pm

    Sure, dream up a flying tank while you’re at it. It’s about as realistic…

    Where does the dough come from for this technical development? Think up new TACTICS involving existing equipment. At least we’ve got that stuff to hand if gates disembowels the DoD budget still more.

    The biggest silly idea of all – amateurs like you thinking they can invent new machines by just describing them. For your next idea… the flying dinosaur robot-pony plane-tank, no doubt. You’ve drawn a picture of it and everything. Oh, and it’s “affordable” because you say it should be.

    Sarcasm aside – the Chinook as a replacement for the V22? In what universe does its speed and range profile come close? Dumber and dumber.

  184. Scott B. permalink
    August 31, 2010 2:40 pm

    Smitty said : “I also didn’t account for added width of the CH-53E’s folding tail. I couldn’t find dimensions for that.”

    CH-53E stowed dimentions :

    length : 60 ft 6 in (18.44 meter)
    width : 27 ft 7 in (8.41 meter)
    height : 18 ft 7 in (5.66 meter)

  185. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 31, 2010 1:33 pm

    Al L,

    My assumption here is we are talking about a navalized CH-47 conversion with automatic folding rotors. If the rotors can’t be folded down to within roughly the fuselage dimensions, then we’d need to reevaluate the spot factor. I also didn’t account for added width of the CH-53E’s folding tail. I couldn’t find dimensions for that.

  186. Al L. permalink
    August 31, 2010 12:21 pm

    B. Smitty,

    That’s good info but the Ch-47 doesnt fold. So what is it’s deck space factor? Last I heard it was equal or greater than CH-53E depending on how the rotors are configured.

  187. B.Smitty permalink
    August 31, 2010 9:19 am

    fuselage length: 15.9m
    fuselage width: 4.8m

    fuselage length: 18.44m (folded)
    fuselage width: 8.64m (to stub wings)

  188. Al L. permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:04 pm

    There is no such thing as a perfect helicopter. The CH-47 can lift a lot but its range goes to hell, and it uses just as much deck space as a folded ch-53e. Ch-53k is expensive to buy and operate, MV-22 can actually carry as much or more at long distance over time as a about any helicopter but it trades that for cabin volume, and short range lifting capacity. Merlin has a big cabin but its kind of a puff ball, with a relatively low ultimate lifting capacity and quickly steep drop on the weigh/distance curve. And it’s not cheap $50-80 million depending on the version.Pick your poison.

  189. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 30, 2010 5:31 pm


    I think a reasonably priced, marinized CH-47 would be welcomed by a number of nations. Far more than would like (or could afford) a CH-53K.

    Merlins are another option, but they don’t have near the lift capability of the CH-47, and aren’t any cheaper. Plus, the Marines would retain some commonality with the Army and other services by going with the Chinook.

  190. August 30, 2010 4:14 pm

    Hello B.Smitty (The Original),

    I have found the cost of the CH53K,about $130 Million each!

    Click to access 2009%20DEC%20SAR.pdf

    That is shocking even if it is the only helicopter in the Western World which could deliver decent sized vehicles in an air assault.

    Compared to that,a Chinook looks very cheap.
    Chinooks do get used on British ships but are far from ideal at present,full marinisation with rotor folding would solve a lot of problems for British forces.

    Boeing have just bought the rights to build the Merlin,if they can make it for the same price AugustaWestland charge,it will look very attractive compared to a V22 and be good enough for anything other than landing vehicles,especially if fitted with 3,000 hp engines.

    The amount of money the Marines are spending on rotorcraft is simply astounding.


  191. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:52 am

    Personally, I’d like to see the USMC investigate a folding rotor CH-47 as a V-22 replacement. It has a much smaller spot factor than the massive CH-53, so more can be carried. It is also a better high/hot performer.

  192. August 30, 2010 9:11 am

    Hello Chuck Hill,

    you are right on both counts,the CH53K also has more powerful engines.

    I have just looked up the cost of the V22 (458 aircraft) ,it is astounding:

    “When translated into constant FY2009 dollars, these figures become about $54.8 billion in total
    acquisition cost, including about $12.5 billion for research and development and about $42.0
    billion for procurement. The PUAC is about $119.5 million, and the APUC is about $92.1

    From here:

    Click to access RL31384_20091222.pdf

    How many helicopters can be bought for $54,800,000,000?

    I am not sure how much the CH53Ks will be but Merlins sell for about $30 Million each.
    You could buy over 1,800 of them for $54,800 Million.


  193. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 30, 2010 1:26 am

    Sorry I was thinking about the CH-47

  194. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 30, 2010 1:25 am

    Understand new CH-53s have considerably upgraded engines.

  195. August 29, 2010 10:08 pm

    Hello X,

    I quite agree.
    The Marine Corps would be a lot more flexible with more CH53s instead of V22s.
    They can carry much larger vehicles which is a major advantage in an air assault.
    The V22 can carry heavy loads,but only if they are carried internally for a rolling take off,which is a bit of a problem as the V22 can only carry the tiniest of vehicles internally.

    Just think how many more CH53Ks the Marines could have bought with all the money they spend on the Osprey.


  196. August 29, 2010 3:52 pm

    The Osprey is an awful thing. Yes it can go fast and it I suppose it can carry as much as a largish helicopter. But it has poor internal space. Can’t autorate and its glide characteristics match those of a house brick. The USMC should have just bought more CH53!!!!!!!

    What we need is some update version of this……..

  197. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:29 pm

    Empty weight and loaded weight can’t be the same. Note there are already shafts connecting the two engines on the MV-22.

    K-Max really is an amazing helo.

  198. Heretic permalink
    August 27, 2010 12:29 pm

    MV-22B Osprey
    Rotor Diameter (each): 38 ft (11.6m)
    Engine Power (each): 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) max
    Empty Weight: 33,140 lb (15,032 kg)
    Loaded Weight: 33,140 lb (15,032 kg)
    Max VTO Weight: 47,500 lb (21,500 kg)

    Kaman K-MAX Synchropter
    Rotor diameter: 48 ft 3 in (14.7m)
    Engine Power: 1,800 shp (1342 kW)
    Empty Weight: 5,145 lb (2,334 kg)
    Useful Load: 6,855 lb (3,109 kg)
    Max VTO Weight: 12,000 lb (5,443 kg)

    What happens to an Osprey, if you replace the turboprop nacelles … with tilt nacelles sporting “eggbeater” counter-rotating synchropter rotors? Would you be able to relocate the engine turbines to be above the fusalage, and drive the rotors out on the wingtip nacelles by drive shafts? Would a synchropter derived Osprey hover better? Could a quad nacelle synchropter system “work” for a VTOL replacement for a C-130?

    This is the Dept of Silly Ideas … right?

  199. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 24, 2010 7:34 pm

    What I like about the C-12 compared to the P-180 is the much larger wing, presumably translating into a lower landing speed and it had a slightly higher payload, but could you use the P180? Certainly we use the even smaller PC12 (U28A) for special ops.

  200. Heretic permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:51 pm

    King Air 350 and Spec Sheet

    Piaggio P.180 Avanti and extra info and Wired Autopia post which brought this silly idea (below) to mind.

    We already have “Funny Looking King Aircraft” (thank you Bill Sweetman) in the form of the MC-12W Liberty and also in the CAEW flying Israeli colors doing ISR work in the world today. However the specs for the Piaggio P180 are “not THAT far removed” from those of the King 350 … in terms of payload, range, takeoff weight, cabin room, etc. Which makes me wonder if the Piaggio P180 would not also be the sort of aircraft amenable to conversion to doing ISR work like the MC-12W does.

    I ask this question because the layout of wing and engines on the P180 looks like it would perhaps be more amenable to giving clear(er) apertures for sensors through the entire forward hemisphere than the King 350 layout. Which makes me wonder if it would even be possible (or worthwhile) to consider what could be done with a militarized P180 for ISR (and AEW…?), and if it would offer advantages which cannot be realized with the the King 350 due to how the two planes are structured.

    Makes me wonder what it would take to add wing folds and CATOBAR rated landing gear to make a navalized ISR or AEW w/AESA radars modified P180 … and if such a thing would even be practical to contemplate.

  201. Al L. permalink
    August 24, 2010 4:55 pm

    B Smitty said:
    “I have a feeling an MPA version of the CV-22 would run a lot more than $67 million. ”

    Perhaps not as much as you think. Comparing MH-60R to MH-60S and AW101 to EH101 the ratio of cost for transport version to ASW version is about 1.4x for both aircraft.

    Current unit cost of a MV-22 is about $61.5 million. 61.5 x 1.4= $86.1 million. For that you would get a highly versatile aircraft that would significantly expand the search and ASW capabilities of a carrier. It would be a bargain in deck space occupied.

    “Even LHAs may have trouble with this”

    Why? Up to a dozen MV-22 are now operating on Wasp class ships in a total complement of about 30 aircraft. The LHA-6 is designed around V-22 maintenance.

  202. Al L. permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:56 pm

    Chuck hill said: “Presume you meant MV-22B?”

    Actually I meant F-35b

  203. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:16 pm

    Al L.,

    Your proposal certainly seems inline the current Navy’s procurement plans.

    I have a feeling an MPA version of the CV-22 would run a lot more than $67 million. And I have a feeling Garabaldi at least would have trouble comfortably operating V-22s since they need to unfold to perform certain types of engine maintenance. Even LHAs may have trouble with this.

    As Chuck says, a prop MPA aircraft could be a lot cheaper, but would require development or a more specialized ship, which could be costly.

    Always tradoffs.

  204. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 24, 2010 2:16 pm

    Al L said,” I see my v-22 operating off an LHA-6 type ship in conjunction with f-22b.”

    Presume you meant MV-22B?

  205. Al L. permalink
    August 24, 2010 1:12 pm

    B.Smitty (The Original)said:

    “I’m not crazy about using tiltrotors as dipping sonar platforms. They just aren’t great at hovering.

    Price and size are other issues with the V-22. However it is an in service aircraft. I wonder how many you could fit on a small carrier like the Garabaldi?”

    The way I see it they would operate more like a fixed wing craft using buoys first and only using the dipping sonar secondly when needed. My guess is 40 + sonobuoys could be carried.
    The 2010 unit price of a CV-22 is $67 million thats not much more than a regular Merlin, the EH101 costs about $80 million. I see my proposed v-22 coming in at about $90 million. Believe it or not Australias latest proposal to buy MH-60r comes to $87.5 million per aircraft.

    Garibaldi can carry 16 Harriers, the V-22 occupies about the same deck area as a Harrier(although in a more compact rectanguler shape when folded).

    I see my v-22 operating off an LHA-6 type ship in conjunction with f-22b. When doing sea search the V-22 would rely on fighters in ready mode on the ship deck to take action against surface targets. This would allow it to carry enough fuel to have 4.5+ hours on station 200 nm from the ship.

    For an ASW mission it would have about 3 hours on station 150 nm from the ship, this would reduce substantially with a lot of dipping.

  206. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 24, 2010 12:55 pm

    Whether we go with a modified T-45, BA 609/MV-22, or a new single engine turboprop, or a combination seems to depend a great deal on what would be the greatest need for the ship, Sea Control/ASW or Close Air Support.

    I see a need for both.

    Don’t think the BA609/MV-22 could be developed into a very good CAS aircraft, though they have promise in the other areas. Similarly the T-45 could make a decent CAS aircraft with a secondary air intercept capability but is unlikely to fulfill the other roles very well, so perhaps a combination of these is a good option.

    An single engine turboprop similar to the A2D Skyshark would, I believe, make a better CAS aircraft than either and could make a useful aircraft for the other roles while being very economical to run, and I think it would have excellent export potential as a COIN aircraft.

    The type of ASW also enters here as if we are looking for SSKs particularly in the littoral, an active sonar capability takes on more importance.

  207. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 24, 2010 7:56 am


    I’m not crazy about using tiltrotors as dipping sonar platforms. They just aren’t great at hovering.

    Price and size are other issues with the V-22. However it is an in service aircraft. I wonder how many you could fit on a small carrier like the Garabaldi?

  208. B.Smitty (The Original) permalink
    August 24, 2010 7:28 am

    Al L,

    I’m sorry. That last post was not from me. Someone decided to play with my handle.

  209. Al L. permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:44 am

    “The BA 609 would be nice…”

    Why not V-22?

    Here’s how I envision it.

    Take a CV-22. Install AN/APS-147 radar and AN/AAS-44 FLIR ball on it.

    For ASW use modular equipment. A roll in control console, a sonobuoy rack dropping through 1 belly hole, ALFS through the other belly hole, 4 torpedoes dropped off a ramp mounted rack.

    For sea search leave the console,buoys, ALFS on the ship. Put in a belly gun just in case and extra tankage in the cabin.

    Take it out all the modular stuff and use it for SAR, COD, transport, long range VERTREP.

    Maybe develop a module to do aerial refueling (Boeing proposed a refueling package for the CV-22 that was not accepted by the AF).

    And another one to do AEW similar to the Merlin:

  210. B.Smitty permalink
    August 23, 2010 11:34 am

    The BA 609 would be nice because it wouldn’t require cats or traps or even a bow ramp. It would probably require at least folding rotors. Deck cycles could follow the STOVL model rather than the more complex and slower CATOBAR or STOBAR models.

    It only has a ~10m wingspan, so you might be able to get by without the complex V-22 folding wings.

    Are sonobouys really the right way to go? They are, by nature, expendable, so the carrier will have to maintain stocks. Are they “good enough” nowadays? There is some talk of removing the sonobouy dispenser from the MH-60R to save weight, since ALFS is doing so well.

    I was reading this article about using a dipping sonar on RHIBs.

    In it, they describe a scenario where an amphibious group was transiting a 30x400nm area and required an ASW barrier sweep to be completed in less than 20 hours. They proposed using a number of RHIBs that split their time 50/50 between listening and moving to the next location at 40kts. The detection radius varied from 4.6 to 11.3nm, depending on acoustic factors.

    The key constraints that drive the number of listening platforms are the detection radius and sprint speed of the platform.

    Replace the RHIBs with 120kt+ VTUAVs and you cut the movement times by 2/3rds. Granted, the VTUAVs won’t have the endurance of the RHIBs, but they can fly back to the mothership much faster to refuel. They can also pounce on contacts far faster than RHIBs.

    If you figure you can fit 2-3 VTUAVs in the same area as one manned helo, a even a small SCS could still operate many.

    Granted, VTUAVs won’t be able to search as far from the carrier as a fixed-wing aircraft, but a larger VTUAV with suitable C3 support could still loiter for significant periods 100-200nm away from the ship.

  211. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 23, 2010 4:31 am

    Regarding the BA 609, it’s not as fast as the aircraft I envisioned, but that is really only a significant disadvantage for the attack variant. If it becomes operational and can use the ALFS, that would certainly be an advantage, particularly against quiet AIP diesel-electric subs.

    Still the price quoted was “at least $10M” (without mission equipment) and that was in 2001. I’m sure it has gone higher by now. I haven’t heard anything recently about customers for the BA 609, but I suspect we are talking $20-30M for the airframe alone.

    The S-3 only had four seats. It was a pretty good ASW airplane, and computing power has gotten much lighter and more compact, so I’m not too worried about having enough seats or computing power. Figuring at least two ASW torpedoes and sono-buoys means you need at least 2,000 pounds useful load in addition to fuel and crew. It’s never going to be a P-8 or even a P-3 for that mater. I can accept that.

    If we built 10 of the ships, we would probably end up with about 300 aircraft. Adding in foreign orders, for this relatively simple short field attack aircraft and I would think at least a production run of 500. Considering it is relatively conventional that should be enough to keep development costs within reason. .

  212. B.Smitty permalink
    August 22, 2010 10:30 pm

    I wonder about how best to hunt subs from the air. Are sonobouys really the best approach? A small ASW aircraft won’t have significant processing power or the number of workstations a larger MPA would have.

    Since ALFS is apparently doing so well, maybe we need a larger VTUAV that can carry ALFS, and a larger manned helo or aircraft to act as a VTUAV controller node. Say three to six VTUAVs to one controller. The controller could stay at altitude and let the VTUAVs act as its distributed ears.

    Using a larger, longer-ranged helo and VTUAV will let the carrier stand off further and cover more area.

    Another option might be to use an even larger helicopter like the MH-53 or CH-47 to tow a small VDS.

  213. B.Smitty permalink
    August 22, 2010 10:17 pm


    The reported price for the BA609 is in the $10 million range.

    Developing a brand new aircraft is expensive.

  214. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 22, 2010 9:42 pm

    B Smitty, part of the objective was to make the air wing relatively inexpensive as well as the ship. For that reason I was not been considering the tilt rotors.

    TangoSix, I think your assumption is correct. I would anticipate there could be four alternative airwings: ASW, Close Air Support (CAS), Mine Sweeping, Air Assault each with up to about 20 aircraft.

    ASW Airwing:
    4 ISR UAVs (ie Sea Avengers)
    8 MH-60R ASW Helo
    8 Gas turbine powered single engined fixed wing ASW aircraft (new type)

    That ought to be able to keep a UAV, two helos, and two fixed wing up all the time.

    CAS Airwing:
    3 ISR UAVs (ie Sea Avengers)
    3 MH-60S
    16 Gas turbine powered single engined fixed wing attack aircraft (new type)

    Should be able to keep 4 attack aircraft up continuously.

    Helos with mine detection and destruction capability

    Air Assault. Airwing:
    Helos to augment ARG’s organic helos.
    Mix in some attack aircraft to escort helos.

  215. August 22, 2010 8:21 pm

    Hello Chuck Hill,

    I hope I have not misunderstood this idea but I get the impression you want a small carrier operating a handful of aircraft with no need to generate high sortie rates?

    If so,it should be possible to accommodate a “cat and trap” system within about 20,000 tonnes.

    The landing area on a conventional carrier is about 200 or so metres long and a single catapult can intersect that area if efficient sortie generation is not a high priority.

    There are a number of ways in which the above can be arranged with a single lift and island.


  216. B.Smitty permalink
    August 22, 2010 8:21 pm

    Another option for a relatively inexpensive civilian conversion is the BA609.

    The USMC was studying it as a possible gunship escort for the V-22.

    It and/or the V-22 could do COD, EW and AEW, and ASW via sonobouy.

    Gravity bombs could be carried underwing, but missiles and rockets would need to be under the fuselage.

    Such a ship could carry BA609s when operating in benign conditions and upgrade to Harriers or F-35Bs when things got hot.

  217. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 22, 2010 7:00 pm

    Funny I was just thinking about that too. The T-45 is very similar to A-4s that used to fly off ASW carriers as their “fighters.” It would certainly make a better fighter, but I doubt that it would make as good an attack aircraft. The wing loading is almost twice that of my benchmark aircraft, the A2D Skyshark. Also it probably could not be made into an ASW, COD, EW, or AEW aircraft like the turboprop could.

    Still, since it is in service and still being built it might be a viable alternative for the attack role.

    Also a couple of squadrons of carrier capable Hawk 200s could fill out the airwings on the British Carriers in an emergency, while providing training aircraft in less stressful times, since they currently plan on having two carriers but only one airwing.

    (I wonder if there is going to be a need for aircraft to shoot down UAVs.)

    I had assumed that the catapult(s) would be something smaller than the ones used on CVNs. The ones used on CVEs during WWII were compressed air. Sounds like the Brits may have a workable Electromagnetic catapult or if EMALS works it could probably be scaled down.

    If you really needed a fighter for your CVL, there are the Sea Gripen and possibly India’s Light Combat Aircraft, the Tejas. Both appear to have a lighter wing loading and higher thrust to weight ratio than the Hawk. But then I don’t see the CVL in that role, with it’s smaller air wing. It would have to specialize and leave securing air superiority to the CVs or the geography of the situation.

    Even these planes could not fly off of as small a carrier as the turboprop. I was thinking in terms of something truly small, 15,000 to 20,000 tons, like the Asturias or Garibaldi, but with deck edge elevators and a bit of an angled deck, that might cost less than $1B.

  218. B.Smitty permalink
    August 22, 2010 1:55 pm

    Chuck said, “My thought on our small CVL is that it would independently do ASW, ASUW in the form of blockade and Close Air Support (CAS) in areas where our air superiority is assured and that it might supplement the CVNs in providing CAS in areas where air superiority is in contention, freeing fighters on the CVN to do air to air.
    Would not expect it to do ASUW against medium to large enemy combatants except in conjunction with a CVN or land based air since such combatants are not likely to venture out without their own air support.
    For those purposes I think a 400+ knot prop aircraft would suffice, and would be able to operate from such a small ship without great difficulty.

    How about using an armed version of the T-45C Goshawk? There would be very little development or integration difficulties as the Goshawk is already carrier qualified. It would require a CATOBAR carrier, but it is so light that the catapults could be smaller. It also takes up less space than a Harrier. Perhaps the best feature is the price. IIRC, the Goshawks are around $17 million each. Just a rough guess, but adding armament and sensors might push it to $25 million.

    The single seat BAe Hawk 200 can have an APG-66H radar and has five stores stations. In addition to these features, maybe upgrade the Strike Goshawk to use the more powerful Adour Mk 951 engine.

    It’s not exactly a world beating performer, but it’s cheap, mostly ready for production, and could be useful in the same roles you envision for the prop.

    The CATOBAR carrier could still be compatible with other carrier aircraft, just perhaps at reduced capability. Maybe only have one full-sized catapult and one or two lighter ones.

  219. August 17, 2010 11:02 pm

    It will all come down to just missiles. We don’t need ships planes, ext ext. They are called ICBM”s.
    You sink my ship I sink your Country.

  220. August 17, 2010 6:33 pm

    Type 23 never received CIWS.

  221. B.Smitty permalink
    August 17, 2010 7:10 am

    Mike said, “Type 23 Corvette (light frigate)-An idea ahead of it’s time!

    A 5,400 ton FLD Type 23 “corvette” is far more to my liking than the 1,000 ton version. :)

  222. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 17, 2010 5:33 am

    “Too expensive and in too few numbers for light patrol work.”

    Martin, you accurately summed up my philosophy for modern frigates. They are good for many roles but no longer the low end escorts we need.

  223. martin permalink
    August 16, 2010 10:51 pm

    Hi Mike,
    While the type 23 was originally suppose to be lightly armed, lessons learned in the Falklands by the poor performance of the type 21 frigates were applied. This lead to the Type 23 receiving seawolf, CIWS, Harpoon etc becoming more powerful than the type 22. While the Type 23 is an excellent ASW platform (as proven at recent USN war games) it is little use for anything else. Too expensive and in too few numbers for light patrol work. To small and inflexible for power projection on land. The ships cost $150 million each in 1985 dollars. Over this period warship costs have blooned massively and a like for like replacement today would likely be North of $500 million.

    I think building highly specialised platforms for one job and cramming them in to another of other roles is just what has gottent he navy into its present mess.

  224. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 16, 2010 8:08 pm

    Type 23 Corvette (light frigate)-An idea ahead of it’s time!

    “The Type 23 class frigate was conceived in the late 1970s as a light anti-submarine frigate whose primary role was to meet the then Soviet nuclear submarine threat in the North Atlantic. This new class was intended to replace the Leander class frigate, which was developed in the 1950s and the Type 21 class frigate, developed in the 1960s, as the backbone of the Royal Navy’s surface ship anti-submarine force. The Type 23 class frigate was not procured as a replacement for the Type 22 frigate.” Though with the reductions in the size of the Navy as a result of the 1998 Strategic Defence Review the last of the Type 23s, the St Albans did replace a Type 22, the Coventry.

    The ships were to carry a towed array sonar to detect Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic and carry a Westland Lynx or EHI Merlin helicopter to attack them.

    Now note the early plans for motherships, to keep the cost of surface warships low (they stole my idea!).

    “It was initially proposed that the frigates would not mount defensive armament. Instead the Sea Wolf missile system was to be carried by Fort Victoria class replenishment oilers, one of which was to support typically four Type 23s. The Forts would also provide servicing facilities for the force’s helicopters; the Type 23 would have facilities only for rearming and refuelling them.”

    I do agree that for the role originally envisioned, chasing Soviet subs in the North Atlantic, these vessels might not have been ideal. With the end of the Cold War now guarding against low-tech d/e boats, or drug smuggling subs in the Caribbean, or even pirates in wooden dhows, they would have been perfect, more so that billion-pound destroyers or even large and expensive guided missile frigates. They would have saved the Royal Navy ship numbers, just in time for the current revolution in war at sea. As it is, Britain and America must suffer through the birth pains of dramatic down-sizing, before, hopefully, both navies come to their senses.

  225. Fencer permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:52 pm

    D. E. Reddick,
    I like the idea of stretched Virginia but I think it might prove more costly than a new-build cheap SSBN (something like the Le Triomphants) because the Virginias are significantly shorter than a SLBM. While a SSN / SSBN hybrid would probably save money by combining roles I don’t like the idea of sending a platform armed with strategic nuclear weapons into battle; it seems like a good way for an enemy to damage our nuclear forces. I’m now having second thoughts about the usefulness of a flexible submarine; is it worth paying an extra $600 million per sub to be able to shift roles when that would probably never happen?

  226. D. E. Reddick permalink
    August 15, 2010 2:56 pm


    I would like to go back to your suggestion of a flexible, hybrid SSBN/SSGN platform. Build them on a stretched Virginia class baseline with 16 vertical launch tubes along with four standard torpedo tubes:

    two vertical tubes dedicated to diver (SEAL) egress & entry;
    four or six vertical launch tubes assigned to tactical supersonic cruise missiles (seven missiles per tube, so 28 or 42 missile capacity);
    ten or eight vertical launch tubes filled with Trident II (or successor) MIRVed nuclear-armed SLBMs;
    four 21′ torpedo tubes would provide for standard SSN operations, including launch of torpedoes and supersonic AShM cruise missiles.

    Such a boat wouldn’t be as large as the Ohio class, but would be larger than most SSNs. Having a medium-sized fleet of such mixed purpose boats would cause all sorts of headaches for potential opponents. They could be deployed simultaneously with pure SSN, SSBN, and SSGN types and cause any opponent to pause and consider just what his actions might provoke should any aggression be pursued.

  227. Fencer permalink
    August 15, 2010 12:42 pm

    TLAM-N is a tactical weapon and I think it would prove unusable as a detterant. The reason SSBNs are so useful is because they’re unstoppable and carry enough firepower to obliterate a country; TLAM-N would fail on both counts. Tomahawks only have a range of roughly 800 nm so our subs would have to enter hostile waters to launch. A further complication is that subsonic cruise missiles are relatively easy to shoot down. Any deterrent that can be severely hampered by some SSKs and a S-300 battery isn’t terribly useful. When the amount of subs needed to maintain a sufficient number of weapons is considered it gets even worse. If the US build two Virginias a year and armed every one with 12 TLAM-Ns (their entire VLS) they would carry fewer warheads than three SSBNs and take nearly 800 VLS out of service. Even an Ohio-class SSGN could only deploy 154 warheads and that wold cost just as much as building a SSBN in the first place. In short I think SLBMs are the only viable undersea deterrent. I believe limited nuclear retaliation might be the response if Iran or N. Korea ever used a nuclear weapon so it would be good to have contingency plans ready.

  228. August 14, 2010 9:15 pm

    Or we could redeploy the nuclear tomahawk. That would allow you to keep the stealth of a submarine and avoid China or Russia getting too edgey.
    However, I’m not sure if the words “limited” and “nuclear response” belong in the same sentence.


  229. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 14, 2010 6:10 pm

    It depends on the circumstance, but you are probably right.

  230. Fencer permalink
    August 14, 2010 5:31 pm

    If we ever need a limited nuclear response wouldn’t be safer to use air-launched weapons, that way Russia and China know exactly who we’re going to hit or could even provide a fighter to keep an eye on the mission.

  231. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 14, 2010 12:55 pm

    Maybe it made sense to concentrate the deterrent, prepped for massive retaliation with as many missiles as we could load, during the Cold War. Then there was just one major threat, the Soviets, but today there are numerous rogue powers which may or have acquired bombs, and even terrorist groups could use them against us. So in an homage to “Flexible Response”, we might think in terms of a “tactical SSBN”, in a few in which a more selective use of nuke weapons would be more viable. Their enhanced accuracy and the addition of MIRV warheads also enable this strategy.

    Hopefully it will never be used, but the threat of even a single nuclear strike should be deterrent enough without putting an $8-$10 billion boat at risk.

  232. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 14, 2010 12:01 pm

    Fencer I have been leaning toward that idea of a hybrid SSBN sub lately, perhaps getting more bang for the buck out of our already expensive and numerous attack subs. It would make the deterrent more survivable by placing fewer missiles in several boats, dispersed and on call, instead of a handful of lumbering and astonishingly costly giants.

  233. Fencer permalink
    August 13, 2010 1:57 pm

    Why should the USN build fourteen SSBNs each capable of carrying 288 warheads, when New START limits them to 1,550 warheads to be divided among all three legs of the triad? But building fewer subs isn’t the answer as that would both drive up the cost and put the deterrent on unstable ground. I think the solution to this problem could rest in a reconfigurable submarine.

    These subs would be armed with six to eight large, flexible, launch tubes apiece; each tube would be capable of firing either a Trident II SLBM or, after the installation of a removable version of what was put in the SSGN’s launch tubes, seven 21″ weapons (cruise missiles or torpedoes). This new sub could than fill all three current roles; SSN, SSBN, and SSGN. The boat’s survivability when outnumbered or faced with multiple threats would be drastically increased as any weapon in the magazine could be rapidly selected selected and fired instead of being limited to the four weapons currently in the torpedo tubes. In fact this system could allow the complete elimination of the sub’s torpedo tubes; this would save space and money in the near term and allow for more flexible weapon’s growth in the long term (all that would be required to carry whatever sized weapon is desired would be a different converter for the launch tubes).

    However, the main benefit of this system would be the potential savings. The new French SSBNs carry 16 SLBM, each slightly smaller than Trident, and cost $4 billion apiece; on the other end are the Virginias, soon to have two scaled-down Trident launch tubes, costing $2.5 billion. I take this information to mean that a flexible submarine would cost somewhere in the region of $3 billion and as a minimum of 60 multirole subs should be built economies of scale could significantly lower prices. Assuming a cost $3 billion apiece these subs would save a significant amount of money; 14 SSBN(X) and 46 SSN-774 would cost over $210 billion while 60 of these subs should cost less than $190 billion. This could mean more than $20 billion dollars in savings over 30 years while delivering a more capable boat.

  234. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 9, 2010 12:16 pm

    Note even the Commencement bay CVEs were 21,397 tons full load.

  235. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 9, 2010 12:13 pm

    All the information on wiki came from this web site and the links you can access from it.

    I notice all the Wiki info came from 2007.

    At one time there was a much more detailed description of the notional ship, but they have backed off from that, presumably as the budget realities set in and it became apparent we were not going to get 25 357 foot long ships.

  236. Heretic permalink
    August 9, 2010 11:53 am

    wikipedia Offshore Patrol Cutter article

    Chuck, please provide additional public domain references to this vessel.

  237. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 9, 2010 10:57 am

    My thought on our small CVL is that it would independently do ASW, ASUW in the form of blockade and Close Air Support (CAS) in areas where our air superiority is assured and that it might supplement the CVNs in providing CAS in areas where air superiority is in contention, freeing fighters on the CVN to do air to air.

    Would not expect it to do ASUW against medium to large enemy combatants except in conjunction with a CVN or land based air since such combatants are not likely to venture out without their own air support.

    For those purposes I think a 400+ knot prop aircraft would suffice, and would be able to operate from such a small ship without great difficulty.

  238. B.Smitty permalink
    August 9, 2010 8:53 am

    D. E. Riddick said, “Returning to the idea of a smaller CV (not an under-10K ton CVE, but an over-10K ton CVL) with some different manned platforms, then why not consider something like a modernized F7F Tigercat.

    The root of the problem is what would we want such a ship to do? Limited AAW? ASW? ASuW? MIW? Maritime patrol? Support Marines? A little bit of “all of the above”?

    If we want it to do AAW, then it has to have a jet. There aren’t too many options here. The biggest choice is STOVL or CATOBAR. Likely a ~10k ton carrier can only handle STOVL.

    The primary aircraft for ASW and MIW will be a helicopter. I’d prefer a larger, longer-ranged helo like the Merlin. Fixed wing aircraft can supplement with sonobouy drops and potentially torpedo delivery.

    I wonder if you couldn’t use fixed wing aircraft to deliver disposable UUVs as well? Remus 600 UUVs are around the same size as a light-weight torpedo. Remus 6000 weighs less than a 2000lb bomb. One could use fighter aircraft to seed a sensor field with UUVs, which would perform a pre-programmed search pattern, coming up to the surface periodically to send status messages and receive updated instructions.

    ASuW and maritime patrol can be done by a prop.

  239. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 7, 2010 11:52 am

    I knew that.

  240. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 7, 2010 4:44 am

    Chuck Hill asked “should I be offended that you referenced my column in the Dept of Silly Ideas?”

    Consider this title a misnomer. I promise you that is my intent. Everytime reformers seek to propose some new weapon which might make the military’s job easier, reduce costs, increase numbers, bring it into modern times, we too often get the same response “thats a silly idea”, and if you’ll notice in the intro, once the airplane, tank, and submarines, which are dominate today were considered fantasy.

    Consider it also a badge of honor, which I myself use each time an idea of mine is mocked. Better men than ourselves have been here before, including Mitchell, Boyd, Fuller, and so many others so it is no shame.

  241. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 6, 2010 7:52 pm

    Mike, should I be offended that you referenced my column in the Dept of Silly Ideas?

    I do prefer the upgraded NSC to the LCS, but I also wanted my readers to consider the possibility of an upgraded National Security Cutter, and more generally to think in terms of cutters that can make a material contribution to National Defense.

    Mike, I think you will like the Offshore Patrol Cutter better. Still too large for your tastes, but a lot closer to what you espouse. I expect 300 feet, 2,000-2,500 tons, one helo w/hanger, UAVs, good boat facilities, hopefully at least 25 knots, and less than $300M.

  242. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 6, 2010 5:21 pm

    National Security Cutter as an LCS Replacement-This frequent proposal is brought to you by Scoop Deck, the CBO, and Chuck Hill:

    “For approximately $260 million, the Navy could replace the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) currently used on the national security cutter with the SeaRAM Mk-15 CIWS. Unlike the former system, which consists of a rapid-firing gun designed to engage subsonic antiship missiles at close ranges, the SeaRAM CIWS would incorporate a rolling airframe missile on the same physical space but provide the ship with the ability to engage supersonic antiship cruise missiles out to 5 nautical miles. The SeaRAM system includes its own sensor suite—a Ku band radar and forward-looking infrared imaging system— to detect, track, and destroy incoming missiles.
    “An additional layer of antiship missile defense could be provided by installing the Mk-56 vertical launch system with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) along with an Mk-9 Tracker/Illuminator system to detect, track, and engage antiship missiles. The ESSM can engage supersonic antiship missiles at a range of nearly 30 nautical miles. Installing 20 sets of a 12-cell launching system (which would carry 24ESSMs)(note, actually 12 cells would allow 48 missiles–Chuck Hill), buying the missiles, and integrating the weapons with the ships would cost about $1.1billion.”
    So these upgrades would cost $1.360B/20 ships or $68M/ship

    Note that the NSC already prices at $641 million each. Personally I am against any more frigates, and I think their replacements should be many low end corvettes and a few large motherships making up for the latter’s lack of capability. I don’t think the frigate is large enough to sustain an influence squadron and are too pricey to be built in any numbers, essential for sea control as we recall the last war for control in the 1940s. The only role I see for frigates is in the air defense role, complementing or even replacing larger cruisers and destroyers.

  243. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 5, 2010 9:14 pm

    The Tigercat and the Skyshark are very similar in size. The tigercats were fighters designed to operate from the Midway class. They were too hot to operate from smaller decks while the Skyshark was designed to operate from CVEs. You could almost certainly redesign the Tigercat for shorter takeoff but I think the real question, is do you want to have twin engines.

    I would expect whatever is produced would be a new design incorporating modern lift augmentation devices. For me Skyshark is just a benchmark that establishes what has already been done, so we should expect something at least that capable.

    I would anticipate a single engine aircraft. It could have power plant commonality with E-2, C-2, C-130, and P-3

  244. D. E. Reddick permalink
    August 5, 2010 7:22 pm

    Returning to the idea of a smaller CV (not an under-10K ton CVE, but an over-10K ton CVL) with some different manned platforms, then why not consider something like a modernized F7F Tigercat.

    Grumman F7F Tigercat

    Consider it modernized with turboprops rather the original radial piston engines and with the fuselage & wings made with modern composites.

    1) Create an ASW version with a MAD boom and forward-looking RADAR plus FLIR. With a two man crew and two light weight ASW (12.75 inch) torpedoes, then such an aircraft could be a sub-hunter for use on smaller CVLs.

    2) Create an AEW version with one of several available light weight RADAR systems mounted dorsally atop the fuselage. Again, it would be a platform for launching from smaller CVLs.

  245. Heretic permalink
    August 5, 2010 4:51 pm

    I’m still convinced that the NGFS “problem” will be solved by railguns. Chemical combustion just can’t power up economically to Punkin’ Chunkin’ levels needed in the guided missile age forcing ships further and further away from shore.

  246. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 5, 2010 3:14 pm

    B. Smitty, I can see your NGFS ship. I have not particular desire to see the Iowa’s turrets go to sea again, but for those who see a need, I think it’s a better way than reactivating the battleships.

    If they 16″s did go back to sea, it would make sense to incorporate the same extended range and guided projectile technology as is applied to smaller projectiles. It should be easier since there is more space and the projectiles accelerate to about the same muzzle velocity over a longer distance acceleration forces would actually be lower than for smaller shells.

    We all know this is an idea that will never happen, unless the Gammalons attack and we have to go to Iskandar. (Hope I got that right, it’s been a long time since I watched Star Blazers)

  247. B.Smitty permalink
    August 5, 2010 1:13 pm

    IMHO, it doesn’t make much sense to do anything with the Iowas or their guns. The turrets were very manpower intensive and munition and powder production would have to be restarted. All for relatively inaccurate (by today’s standards) ~20nm range guns.

    Ideally the NSFS ship wouldn’t be an amphib. They need to be in different places at different times.

    I’m not sold on AGS. It’s a huge, expensive gun that can’t fire cheap, unguided munitions. It can only fire expensive, gun-launched missiles (LRLAP). Might as well just get rid of the gun and fire somewhat larger missiles from cheap launchers.

    My NSFS ship would have two 5″ Mk45s firing extended-range unguided or PGK-guided munitions, and two navalized, auto-loading MLRS. I would purchase/develop a range of HERO/IM compliant MLRS munitions including a smaller missile like LAR160 or P44 and a mid-sized missile like IMI Extra to cover different range bands and target sets.

    LAR160 has a 45km range. P44 – 75km. GMLRS has been tested out to 100km. Extra can go 150km. ATACMs – all the way out to 300km.

  248. elgatoso permalink
    August 5, 2010 11:54 am

    Chuck Hill said:Turboprop engines have much higher reliability and lower maintenance than piston engines.
    I tough was exactly the contrary.Other question is what about gas consumption?
    Thanks for the information anyway

  249. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 5, 2010 11:11 am

    There is also the possibility of making new monitor economically by pulling the three 16″ turrets off the Iowa and building three ships around them. Relatively slow probably, although making them go 20+probably would not be that difficult. Highly compartmented hull, diesel engines, a couple of AGS and a couple of 5″ and self defense systems, a true shore bombardment specialist.

    Roughly 20,000 tons full load, 550 ft loa, 90 ft beam, 25,000 HP

  250. Insolent Dendrite permalink
    August 5, 2010 9:26 am

    This idea was inspired by a commenter’s post on Information Dissemination:

    During the 50s the USN was wondering what to do with the Iowa BBs, and came up with a bunch of different refit proposals, as shown here:
    The Heavy Assault Ship/Commando Ship proposal is intriguing. It would’ve kept the pair of forward 16″ turrets and essentially replaced the stern turrets and hull with a flight deck for 10-12 helos and davits for LCM-6s for amphibious assault capability. Additionally it would have had amphibious flagship command equipment installed.

    How feasible would it be to make a modern version of this for the USMC?

    My proposal would be something like a lengthened LPD-17 with one or two AGS developed from the Zumwalt class fitted up front and a lengthened flight deck at the back (from the looks of the photos, the LPD-17s need it anyway). I understand that this goes against the New Wars mantra by having a huge multi-role ship.
    Would an amphibious assault ship with integrated naval gun fire support make any sense at all?
    If it would, how small could you make it?

  251. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 5, 2010 1:03 am

    Turboprop engines have much higher reliability and lower maintenance than piston engines. They are also lighter per unit output. Turboprops have replaced pistons on virtually all aircraft that experience heavy usage. You won’t find piston engines in any new aircraft over 700 HP.

    For operating from carriers the turboprops advantage over jets is that for the same size engine, it will accelerates from stop faster. Jets have advantages at high altitude, turboprops at low.

  252. elgatoso permalink
    August 5, 2010 12:15 am

    What is the advantage of turboprop engines over pistons in our scenario?

  253. B.Smitty permalink
    August 4, 2010 6:42 pm

    Apparently the S2F Tracker (72′ wingspan) was designed to fly off of the Commencement Bay class CVE (105′ flight deck), so maybe this isn’t so far fetched.

  254. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 4, 2010 4:35 pm

    Garibaldi’s width is 108 feet and the Principe de Asturias is 104, but presumably as long as it could take off in the length forward of the island and land on an angled deck, the wings could extend beyond the deck edge, if you are talking very small.

    Then you also get into the system’s capability for catapult launch and arrested landing.

  255. B.Smitty permalink
    August 4, 2010 3:09 pm

    Chuck, I wonder how small can a carrier be and still accommodate Sea Avenger
    s 66 foot wingspan?

  256. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 4, 2010 2:06 pm

    Or of course the original Sea Control Ship, Principe de Asturias

  257. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 4, 2010 2:00 pm

    (Sorry about the previous miss spelling)

    Still think we could go smaller for sea control, missions being ASW and Maritime Interdiction.

    4 ISR UAVs (ie Sea Avengers)
    8 MH-60R ASW Helo
    8 Gas turbine powered single engined fixed wing ASW aircraft (new type)

    That ought to be able to keep a UAV, two helos, and two fixed wing up all the time.

    I think we could do that, on something similar to the Garibaldi.
    It probably would not even have to be as fast as the Garibaldi. 25 knots would probably be sufficient.

  258. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 4, 2010 1:41 pm

    My guess would be 28 knots on half the Ford’s power. But then, sith a single reactor, there is no backup.

  259. B.Smitty permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:25 am

    BTW, I don’t think the Wasp hull form is really suitable for a 30+kt CV(N). It was designed to be a 20kt amphib.

  260. B.Smitty permalink
    August 4, 2010 11:17 am


    How much power does a single A1B generate? The Midway class needed ~156MW to hit 30+ knots (and power other systems). I imagine a “Wasp-sized” CVN would likely need a similar amount, plus power for EMALS and other ship’s systems.

  261. Heretic permalink
    August 4, 2010 10:07 am

    re: B.Smitty

    I’m not a huge fan of starting with the LHA/LHDs. They are way too slow and will require significant redesign to operate CTOL aircraft.

    If we decide to continuously produce small carriers to supplement the CVNs, I would just start with a clean sheet design.

    Wonder what it would cost to design a “Wasp-ish” sized carrier (like I was talking about in my previous post below) which had ONE A1B nuclear reactor, the exact same type as the Ford class carriers are going to be using (the Fords have two A1B reactors). Common design ought to reduce costs all around, no? And I daresay that an A1B reactor ought to be able to “push” a Wasp-ish redesign to 30+ knots … wouldn’t you agree?

    Yes, it would be a clean sheet design, and it would be extremely likely that such an evolved Wasp into CVN(E) would omit the well deck in favor of increased aviation support (fuel, weapons, spares, machine shops, etc.) putting them more on par with the larger Ford class CVNs in this respect.

    Again … napkin engineering is a lot of fun. ^_^

  262. Heretic permalink
    August 4, 2010 9:41 am

    re: D. E. Reddick

    Personally, I’d *want* to have the forward catapults aiming at a ski jump! With an EMALS cat, you just simply have the shuttle on the linear motor stop a good 10 meters short of the upward curve of the ski jump. Aircraft nosewheel just runs right over the shuttle (as it currently does on C13-2 steam catapults used in Nimitz class) and recovers before entering the ski jump. Aircraft exits ski jump on an upwards trajectory, regardless of bow pitch angle at launch, and has several extra seconds worth of engine on acceleration before being in danger of going swimming … extra seconds that are very valuable to flight crews in the event of mishap.

    Net effect … costs an extra 30 meters or so of flight deck length (I’m guessing), but aircraft can be launched at lower speed from the catapult safely, reducing launch stresses and extending airframe/landing gear life.

    Similarly, I’d want to have a ski jump at the end of the angled deck too, precisely for bolter situations where the arrestor hook fails to trap. Having a ski jump at the end of the angled deck would likewise add safety margin to failed landing attempts by giving aircraft that fail to trap a longer time to fly and get back up above stall speed before going swimming. Depending on the landing characteristics of the aircraft involved, this may actually mean that a ski jump on the angled deck would make it possible to safely make landing attempts at slower speeds … again, extending airframe and landing gear life through lower landing stresses.

    I’m just having a hard time trying to figure out why you WOULDN’T want a ski jump on any ship with catapults and arrestors dedicated to launching and landing CATOBAR aircraft. I know that the tradition is the “Flat Deck Society” (see British experience with the “Through Deck Cruiser”) but seriously … the cost is so small and the advantages to be gained are so great!

  263. B.Smitty permalink
    August 4, 2010 9:17 am

    Hey D.E.,

    I’m not a huge fan of starting with the LHA/LHDs. They are way too slow and will require significant redesign to operate CTOL aircraft.

    If we decide to continuously produce small carriers to supplement the CVNs, I would just start with a clean sheet design.

  264. D. E. Reddick permalink
    August 3, 2010 6:54 pm


    I’ve previously suggested a modification to the Wasp / Makin Island / America LHD & LHA types for CATOBAR, STOBAR, & STOVL functioning. This would be an angled-deck platform with one or two catapults and also a ski-jump (angled away from the forward catapult). I posted it in one of the Aircraft Carrier Alternatives threads several months ago.

  265. B.Smitty permalink
    August 3, 2010 5:59 pm


    Agreed on Sea Gripen. I especially like how small a deck spot they have compared to the competition. However the chance of the USN buying them is nil. So it’s Super Hornet, F-35B/C, keeping the Harriers alive somehow, or building something different, as Chuck suggests.

    I have a sinking feeling the F-35B will endure a long sequence of cost escalations and testing delays and then deliver an aircraft that’s just too big to be a good STOVL small-carrier bird.

    I somewhat disagree that you always have to have all of the “irreducibles” on every carrier. The idea here is for a small carrier that would operate under the protection umbrella of a CVN in high-threat situations, but could provide a “useful” amount of airpower for lower-threat situations where a full CVBG is unnecessary.

    Say you have 18 spots on a STOBAR plus single-cat SCS in the Gulf of Aden,

    – 8 SH
    – 6 UCLASS w/maritime radar
    – 4 Helo

    Keep two SH’s on deck alert, fly 4 persistent UCLASS sorties looking for pirates. The remaining SH’s just rotate through a deck alert cycle.

    There is no air threat. The SH’s are just there to respond to pirate attacks and provide task force self defense, if needed.

    Take that same SCS plus airwing and put it with a SAG in the Persian Gulf during an “Op Praying Mantis/Nimble Archer II” situation. The UCLASS could persistently monitor small boat traffic over much of the Gulf. AEW would have to be from a CVN somewhere else. The SH’s would not be enough to provide a round the clock CAP, but could augment the CVN CAP, or provide rapid response to air or sea threats (more rapid than launching additional sorties from carriers in the Arabian Sea).

    OTOH, just having 18 SH’s totally dedicated to providing round the clock CAP could be very valuable to a convoy or SAG. You won’t pull off a CVN for that but the need may still exist.

  266. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 3, 2010 5:54 pm

    I could see a need for strictly ASW or close air support capable carriers in areas where the air threat is relatively benign, as it was in the Atlantic during WWII. You would want air assets, but a CVN or even a CVF would be overkill.

  267. Heretic permalink
    August 3, 2010 4:11 pm

    Speaking just for myself B.Smitty, if we’re talking “what if” scenarios for an SCS, which is really just a CVE (really) … then it would seem that basing the plan around the forthcoming Sea Gripen rather than an F-18 E/F/G plan for fixed wing might be a prudent choice if maintainability and budget are serious considerations. I say this because as carrier size shrinks, it behooves you to switch to light(er)weight fighters for sustainability reasons and lightening the entire logistics footprint.

    And there are certain “irreduceables” that come with carriers where it becomes impractical to shrink any further, lest it become a self-licking ice cream cone … or in other terms, a wasting asset. One of those demands is being able to establish a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) to defend the carrier, 24/7 while on deployment. Any CAP operation is going to want to not let any fighters in the air get below a half tank of fuel, so right there is a limit on how long any 2-ship flight on CAP is going to stay in the air (even with in-flight refueling for safety). And for pilot fatigue reasons (among others), you really wouldn’t want any CAP flying for more than about 4 hours (or so) before landing to send the planes below for routine maintenance and cycle up the next CAP flight. That then implies a minimum of 6 CAP rotations daily, which in turn drives a requirement for at least 12 planes, and that’s assuming a 100% mission readiness rate. Build in the assumption of a 75% mission readiness rate (which is reasonably conservative) and you’re looking at needing to embark 16 planes just to provide a minimal CAP to protect the carrier indefinitely during routine sailing, even in peacetime.

    If you want to up the ante on CAP, with 3 hour patrols rather than 4 hours, you’re looking at needing eight 2-ship flights instead of six, which then requires 16 planes at 100% mission readiness, and 20 planes at 80% mission readiness … assuming you don’t have individual planes flying more than one CAP per day. If you “double up” your planes and crews on CAP, you can “get by” with flying eight CAP patrols per day, with each plane and crew flying twice per day, giving each plane and crew about 7-8 flight hours a day (over about a 13-14 hour stretch) for 3+3 hours actually flying CAP rotations (on/off/off/on/off/off/off/off). This then requires 10 planes at 80% mission readiness, or 12 planes at 66% mission readiness.

    Probably the “safest” CAP rotation would be a variation of the 4 hour/6 flights which would be a 2 hour/12 flights in which each plane and crew flies two 2 hour CAP flights a day, which could easily turn into a good 5-6 flight hours a day per plane and crew, all things considered, just to fly 4 hours of CAP daily. That gets you back to 16 planes at a 75% mission readiness rate though.

    My point here is that you really want to be able to dedicate at least 16 embarked planes to the “job” of providing CAP service to defend the carrier, and that trying to get below that number makes all kinds of things risky and dangerous. It’s aircraft in excess of this lower bound which you’ll have available for both Strike and Recon missions for offensive posturing, as opposed to merely self-defense.

    This is why I strongly suspect that your “18 Super Hornets” notion won’t go very far, simply because it doesn’t give you much of anything beyond the “self licking ice cream cone” scenario where you’re using (almost) all of your fixed wing aircraft for self protection. The 22k ton Invincible class carried 12-18 Harriers, depending on how many helicopters were embarked, and were essentially designed to handle 22 fixed and rotary wing aircraft (the 1 aircraft per 1000 tons “rule” of ship design).

    I think the British experience with the Invincible class of carriers makes for a compelling argument as to what the lower bound of embarked aircraft on a carrier ought to be, when designed for fixed wing operations, as far as numbers go. That lower bound of the Invincible class is 22 aircraft … and I’d argue that even that is “pushing it” into going too low.

    To be honest with you, if I were laying out the requirements, I’d want a Sea Control Ship capable of embarking at least 24, but preferrably 32, fixed wing fighters. Add in fixed wing AEW and other support helicopters, which should easily add another 8 embarked aircraft and you’re looking at needing space for 32-40 aircraft. This then pushes you towards a 32,000-40,000 ton CV design, almost by default. And if it’s the US building such a ship, I’d want it to be designed to fit within the locks of the Panama Canal, which means Panamax dimensions.

    Which, by incredible coincidence … just so happens to be right about the size of a Wasp class LHD. Funny that.

    So all that really needs to happen is to modify a Wasp class LHD would be to add a ski jump at the bow on the flight line and EMALS to it and we’d have a CVE. The addition of EMALS would probably necessitate a bunch of other changes to the ship, such as increased electrical power generation, which could in turn bring about a host of other design changes (podded electric drive azimuth thrusters anyone?) and improvements … and at that point you’re almost talking about a new class of ship, rather than a drop/swap modification of components on an existing ship design.

    And if we’re talking about “evolving” the Wasp class in this way, I’d want to stretch the ship from 844 ft (257 m) long with a 106 ft (32 m) beam and a 28 ft (8.5 m) draft … to being 885 ft (270 m) long, a 106 ft (32 m) beam, a 28 ft (8.5 m) draft … which is still within Panamax dimensions. If there is no angled deck, then this would easily allow for a good 754 ft (230 m) or so worth of *flat* axial flight deck run before reaching the ski jump at the bow. But if you’re wanting to launch and land E-2D Hawkeyes, the question of an angled deck becomes academic … because the E-2Ds will drive a requirement for an angled deck and EMALS. And an angled deck will pretty much require a change in the size and placement of the island topside … so once again, we’re talking about a substantially new ship design, rather than a drop in and replace modification of the Wasp class LHD.

    Ah … the joys of napkin engineering!

  268. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 3, 2010 3:34 pm

    Certainly should be able to handle some very capable UAVs off of a CVE sized ship. Creating a new aircraft of the type suggested should actually be relatively trivial, since it is hardly pushing the technology. I think there would be a large market for such an aircraft. Combining the COIN and small aircraft carrier market for AEW, ASW, COD etc.

    The OV-10 might be the easiest solution, but in so many ways it was less capable than the Avenger, I know we could do a lot better. That the Gannet was actually a twin turbo prop was kind of amazing. Having so much more horsepower I would have expected it to perform much better than the Avenger, but it didn’t seem to be much of an improvement.

    The A2D Skyshark was supp0sed to have been able to operate off Casablanca Class CVEs. It would certainly still be useful and the airframe would likely have been as adaptable as the Avenger or Skyraider.


    * Maximum speed: 435 kn (501 mph, 813 km/h)
    * Range: 1,900 nmi (2,200 mi, 3,520 km)
    * Service ceiling: 48,100 ft (14,664 m)
    * Rate of climb: 7,290 ft/min (37 m/s)
    * Wing loading: 47 lb/ft² (230 kg/m²)
    * Power/mass: 0.27 hp/lb (440 W/kg)


    * Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) T31 cannon
    * Other: 5,500 lb (2,500 kg) on 11 external hardpoints

    The Rolls Royce AE2100 used on the C-130J or the AllisonT56 used on the C-130, P-3, and E-2 are well proven and would provide over 4,000 HP. Should be able to make a good aircraft around one of those.

  269. B.Smitty permalink
    August 3, 2010 12:57 pm


    I’ve wondered that too. IMHO the problem is, developing any new aircraft will cost major $$. Boeing recently offered a new OV-10(X) for the Air Force LAAR program. Maybe one could piggy-back off of that.

    OTOH, none of these can hold a candle to Sea Avenger in terms of persistence (20h endurance, 400+kts, 3000lb payload).

  270. Chuck Hill permalink
    August 3, 2010 11:59 am

    B. Smitty, to take your idea in a different direction, we certainly have the technology to do what was done almost 70 years ago, and that is to operate fixed wing aircraft off of 10,000 ton ships with 500 ft flight decks. We just need to encourage someone to create the airframe which could then serve as ASW, AEW, COD, tanker, EW, and missile carrier with a range and speed much better than that of helicopters at much lower cost than MV-22.

    The one airframe for multiple mission has already been done a couple of times:

    (Notice how close the specs are for the Gannet and Avenger, surely we could do better now, while retaining the ability for short take-off)

    There are also the OV-1 and OV-10 that demonstrate a baseline of what might be done.
    The Wiki entry on the OV-1 said it was designed to be operated off of CVEs.

  271. B.Smitty permalink
    August 3, 2010 10:23 am

    Easy folks.

    Ok, new silly idea. How about a non-STOVL Sea Control Ship? Why you ask? There are situations today that cry out for a true aviation ship, but we can’t afford enough supercarriers to satisfy the need. Piracy off the Gulf of Aden, for example. It doesn’t justify a supercarrier deployment, but having fixed wing airpower in the thick of things would permit rapid response to pirate attacks.

    How small/inexpensive could we make a STOBAR carrier able to carry, say, 18 Super Hornets or a mixture of aircraft, UAVs and helicopters? Harrier is really ideal for the SCS, but the production line is dead and the existing aircraft are aging. F-35B is too big, way too expensive, and has potentially troubling deck characteristics (e.g. heat, ablative exhaust). Super Hornets are still rather large, but much less expensive.

    In my ideal fantasy world, such an SCS would have a single EMALS waist catapult for launching UCAV/UCLASS and E-2D. Fighters would launch via the STOL bow ramp. This would restrict their payload, but they could launch faster.

    For a Gulf of Aden deployment, it SCS might carry 8 Super Hornets, 2 E-2Ds, 4 UCLASS (Sea Avenger) configured for maritime patrol, and 4 helicopters.

    The UCLASS and Hawkeyes would fly most of the sorties.

    Is this a 3 billion dollar boondoggle?

    Another use would be to sail them as part of a SAG into the Persian Gulf in times of crisis with Iran. Super Hornets, helicopters and UCLASS could make short work of the small boat threat, and the short distances would permit higher sortie rates than aircraft coming from the Gulf of Oman or Arabian Sea.

  272. Heretic permalink
    August 3, 2010 9:32 am

    Heretic, I don’t want to get down to your angry level



    Heh. You fail your own test.

  273. MatR permalink
    August 3, 2010 8:53 am

    Heretic, I don’t want to get down to your angry level, but re. ‘left a bit, right a bit’. I was joking dude, lighten up. (Do you ‘get’ subtleties of tone of voice? Or has that kind of thing long eluded you?)

    Look, I’m perfectly familiar with the welding argument, people have known about things like this since the Baghdad Battery – but as you pointed out, it has to be *different metals*. Gah.

    Can I give you a tip? At least I back my stuff up with web info showing analagous projects that qualified people are currently working on. A little less anger, a bit more reading what I say (and less misreading) and people would listen to you more. Personally, whenever I hear someone shouting, I tend to tune them out. Can you empathise with that?

    In the meantime, I guess you can ignore the marine enginers who’re ploughing on with underwater recharging schemes, and the USN’s own research into underwater recharging and tethered power. They must have done some math wrong, because a guy who isn’t a marine engineer says so.


  274. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 3, 2010 4:18 am

    Airpower for Japanese Marines? From David Axe at War is Boring:

    “Helicopters and UAVs could provide close air support for Japanese Marines but for the air-superiority mission manned fighters are still the only answer. Aside from simply making do or building new airfields, there is that third option: converting 22DDH “helicopter carriers” to carry fixed-wing aircraft, which, with minimal modifications, they would be quite capable of doing.
    A carrier would put all fighter aircraft at sea, where they would be more difficult to destroy than on fixed land bases. A carrier could also stay close to the action, providing local air cover. Japan would need fewer new carriers than it would new airbases, which in Japan carry their own set of problems, particularly with the locals.
    And what aircraft would Japan put on the converted helicopter destroyers? Why the only game in town, of course: the F-35.”

  275. Heretic permalink
    August 2, 2010 9:55 am

    MatR, you have now convinced me that you have *NO* idea what you are talking about, outside of ROV operations.

    I don’t care how much duct tape you use … it’s not going to tow nearly 2000 tons of submerged SSK in excess of 20 knots.

    Yelling “left a bit, right a bit” only works if you’re driving at the same speeds and matching vectors. In case you haven’t heard, SSNs can move at much higher speeds than SSKs can, thanks to nuclear power. If they aren’t driving at the same speed … ie. the SSN is towing the SSK … uh … what was the problem again?

    Disagree with extrapolation of the physics as you may have noticed that subs are often made out of the same stuff. Also, we’re not talking about just inducting current through a steel hull like the charging plate on a kettle. And any electrical charge can be dissipated later or dumped through an earth into the seabed.

    A very good friend of mine is an electrical engineer who builds sonars for the US Navy. Suffice it to say, I’m NOT pulling straw men out when talking about dielectric differentials due to different metals getting dunked into flowing sea water. Crews have been electron welded into their subs and couldn’t get out until a shipyard worker opened a hatch with a blowtorch after deploying with incorrect materials engineering built into the hull of their sub. Your solution is equivalent to wanting to mainline 120V AC house current into a DC power AA battery operated toy and not expecting anything “bad” to happen because you’ve got a grounding wire running to the plastic case. DON’T WORK LIKE THAT.

    Also, you fail to explain why you couldn’t charge two stationary subs by using a ROV to hook up a cable.

    Because the only place *secure enough* to want to do that with a submarine is within friendly waters … meaning there’s a friendly port nearby. It also means that in order to execute the maneuver, the two subs need to coordinate and communicate … and communications can be intercepted and used to reveal position, heading and intent … all of which are “bad” to give away when in the Silent Service.

    As to it being a one-way trip on a dorsal piggy back: I don’t suggest a dorsal piggy back, and I have every faith that subs can navigate precisely and meet up again using their proven, excellent inertial guidance to get to the rendevous point, then a ROV to locate one another.

    You …
    … have …
    … faith.

    Well that solves everything, now doesn’t it?

    When you actually solve the problem without skipping Step 2 on the way to PROFIT! … let us know will you? Until then, simply saying “And then a miracle occurs!” is not going to cut it in an environment where a COLLISION between submarines would ruin everybody’s day.

  276. MatR permalink
    August 2, 2010 4:54 am

    I promise to shut up after this! ;o)

    I’m not sure low speed is a crippling problem. There’s a major payoff in simply being able to base AIP subs or ROVs/AUVs in an area and know that they can recharge from a nuclear boat. Or, transit somewhere slowly but stealthily.

    There are some interesting sites detailing how ROVs have been powered by electrical cables from subs rather than onboard batteries; and how ROVs and AUVs have been able to take advantage of recharging stations on the seafloor.

    Additionally, there are a number of presumably competent marine engineering firms and universities working on large arrays of tethered bouys and turbines, often in areas of fast flowing currents that generate electricity and transfer it to grids, or actually make it available to underwater vehicles. I know that a tidal speed of 5 to 10 knots isn’t all that zippy, but a) the turbine blades, often steel, move much faster; b) such projects demonstrate that with earthing, there’s no notable risk of charges building up; c) there seem to be no insurmountable issues with power transfer.

    These are just a few links, but there’s a lot out there:

  277. B.Smitty permalink
    August 1, 2010 5:16 pm

    If you want to take advantage of the SSN’s sustained 20+kt speed, then the SSKs will have to dock. If not, then the whole enterprise will be restricted to low speed, which doesn’t really help very much.

    I wondered if we could have a large SSN carry multiple, “midget” AIP subs either in Trident tubes or some other large bay? The SSN mothership could launch, recover, rearm and refuel the midgets, while the midgets spread out across a larger area to do the work.

    Still would have to work out a system for the midgets find their ride when they’re done.

  278. MatR permalink
    August 1, 2010 12:15 pm

    Anonymous, you fail to realise the power of a) duct tape and b) yelling ‘left a bit, right a bit’ when driving.

    Disagree with extrapolation of the physics as you may have noticed that subs are often made out of the same stuff. Also, we’re not talking about just inducting current through a steel hull like the charging plate on a kettle. And any electrical charge can be dissipated later or dumped through an earth into the seabed.

    As to your insistence that one sub would have to tow another – well, that’s just an insistence on your part. People used exactly the same ‘certainties’ to explain why air to air refuelling wouldn’t work, or pre-radar aircraft couldn’t find carriers in the expanse of the ocean.

    Also, you fail to explain why you couldn’t charge two stationary subs by using a ROV to hook up a cable.

    As to it being a one-way trip on a dorsal piggy back: I don’t suggest a dorsal piggy back, and I have every faith that subs can navigate precisely and meet up again using their proven, excellent inertial guidance to get to the rendevous point, then a ROV to locate one another.

    I think you’re setting up straw men to knock down?

  279. Anonymous permalink
    August 1, 2010 10:17 am

    The only way any sort of link between SSN and SSK is going to work would be pretty much to have one dock (via docking ring) onto the other. Anything else is not going to “work nicely” at speeds of 20+ knots for towing (yes, TOWING!) an almost 2000 ton SSK. For one thing, any sort of umbilical hose attachment strong enough to pull that kind of tonnage is going have some rather interesting accoustic characteristics while underway. Worse, you couldn’t do this in a side-by-side arrangement since then the SSN would have to slow down to the SSK speed, negating any advantages.

    Doing an aft to forward umbilical offers its own problems … first and foremost being that large screw on the aft end of the SSN, which would stand significant chances of fouling of if the umbilical were deployed from forward of the screw. Deploying the umbilical from aft of the screw doesn’t give you a whole lot of options, and rapidly becomes “far more trouble than it’s worth” to engineer. And as if that alone wasn’t bad enough, you’d need the two subs to be made out of the same hull material, otherwise you’ll get a dielectric differential when moving through salt water, which will act like a battery and WILL over time electron weld the umbilical into place, irreversably linking both boats together (until they get back to port).

    No … the safest way for a SSK to “piggyback a ride” on an SSN is to do a dorsal/ventral docking behind the SSN’s sail. This will *NOT* however make the SSN skipper all that happy, since the SSK will do “interesting things” to the SSN’s accoustic signature while the two are linked together by docking ring.

    Furthermore, this would totally be a One Way Trip … since the only time you can be assured of an SSN and SSK successfully hooking up to dock with one another like this is when they’re both in port at the start of a deployment (ie. very friendly and controlled waters). Good luck “finding each other” RELIABLY for a return home trip from an area of operation.

    Very very silly idea.

  280. MatR permalink
    July 31, 2010 3:19 pm

    Fencer: I love the idea of a conventional sub swimming beside or behind an SSN – AFAIK, it’s something our hunter-killers trained for when stalking Soviet subs in the Atlantic. If they’re connected by an umbilicus, there’s no reason it couldn’t be computer controlled with both subs receiving precise real-time info on the other’s position, speed etc. If they can do it on all the submarine movies, they can do it in real life, is what I say :o)

  281. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 31, 2010 3:18 pm

    “recharging the batteries of AIP submarines and mini-subs from nuclear submarines.”

    The modern version of the “milch cow”! I like it. MatR is on a role!

  282. MatR permalink
    July 31, 2010 3:14 pm

    When I mentioned the possibility of the Falklands moving its defence into land-based missiles, it got an interesting response!

    Here’s my ‘director’s cut’ of how the UK’s military posture could develop. (I think of it as cheap, effective and common sense.)

    The UK has 14 overseas territories, in the North and South Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean and Middle East.

    Some of these territories are very sparsely populated, including Diego Garcia, St. Helena, Tristan de Cunha and the Pitcairn Islands. These four locations have less than a thousand civilians between them, and they are surrounded by hundreds of miles of empty ocean. This makes them ideal locations for the UK’s nuclear deterrent, based in hardened silos.

    Ballistic missiles fired from these last three locations can reach almost every part of the globe, including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, the African continent, North Korea, etc. (Typical ballistic missiles with the requisite range include including Trident D5; French M45, M51; Indian Agni-V; and others. The technology is not vapourware.) To protect the civilian populations, we could offer generous relocation packages at many times their current income levels – plus guaranteed jobs if they come to the UK – at several hundred million initial outlay, then a few tens of millions extra a year. (Or, less than the purchase and operating costs of a high-end destroyer.)

    Conventional deterrence could be bought cheaply by using cruise missiles based across our 14 territories. At current levels of technology, low end cruise missiles can reach major population and economic centres in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Argentina, Egypt, Chile, Venezuela, Somalia, Libya, Ukraine, Russia, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia. The technology and range is improving all the time: Taiwan and South Korea, for example, both recently developed cruise missiles with a range of about 500 miles, and have both roughly doubled this within a five year period. C0ld War cruise missiles had ranges in excess of 2000 miles as long as thirty years ago. (Also, the UK, like other countries, has a well-developed UAV programme, as its stealthy Taranis UAV shows. These too could carry cruise missiles such as storm shadow.)

    By combining stand-off cruise missiles with UAVs or crewed aircraft (such as Nimrod, Poseidon, P-3, CASA 295, and so on) almost every country on Earth is within a few hours reach of prompt global strike by the UK. If we really wanted to, we might base a cheap AIP sub at each of the four least populated territories, giving us a very low-cost way of attacking every country on earth using cruise missiles, nuclear-armed or otherwise.

    With modern precision guided munitions, we could use stand-off weapons to counter all manner of aggression – or an aggressor might face their roads, power plants, factories, government buildings and infrastructure being shredded. Certainly, such a disposition would allow for a far faster and more forceful response to any global crisis, than is currently offered by our existing forces. It took weeks to respond to the crisis in the Falklands, and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Fleets take weeks to move.

    Just four such ‘super-bases’ would also allow the UK to maintain special forces troops available at short notice, or anti-piracy patrols. Even invasions would be deterred: with the ability to redirect modern cruise missiles in flight, we could use cluster warheads to shred invading armoured columns even as they are on the move. Or, we could use our maritime patrol aircraft to deter sea-based invasions of third parties.

    I really think that strengthened silos and hangars on the UK’s overseas territories would work, and work well. People claim that modern weapons like LGBs spell death for all manner of bunkers, but that really isn’t the case. Those images from Gulf War 1, of smart bombs smashing Iraqi bunkers? Those installations were hardly state-of-the-art even for the time. 30 years ago, the Soviets had constructed remarkably tough bunkers using aggregates, polymer fibers, rebar, and slag. The Iranians have done similar – that’s why we hum and haw about the practicality of air strikes against their nuclear sites. Our own civilian contractors and universities have done it. Add in reinforcing steel a foot or two thick, and a cruise missile or JDAM turns into scrambled egg when it hits. Adequate modern bunkers can stand up to anything in the NATO arsenal, short of massive conventional penetrators dropped out of the back of a C-130, or successive nuclear penetrators. And, naturally, I suggest that the bases have cheap, low level air defences to counter the C-130s. You don’t need anything fancy to shoot down a Hercules, we’ve got lots of Rapier and Starstreak in the UK.

    (And, just as importantly, not many countries have military assets with the reach to hit our overseas territories – certainly not with massed fleets of bombers or strike aircraft. Their remoteness is our strength.)

    By using four super-bases rather than buying expensive carrier battle groups, incredibly pointless armoured divisions, or expensive but short range fighters like Typhoon, we could save many billions, even as we dramatically upped our stocks of cruise and ballistic missiles, drones and surveillance assets – upping our ‘stowed kills’. And we’d have lots of money left over for low-end assets like patrol boats, RFAs, landing craft, etc. We could actually have more hulls in the water than we do right now. I don’t say scrap all the armoured vehicles or all the Typhoons – far from it. But I don’t think we need nearly as many as the Army and RAF would like.

    By basing our nuclear deterrence and offensive capabilities on such non-UK super-bases, we would dramatically lower the risk of our populations being hit in nuclear (or other) first strikes against our military installations. We would have cheaper nuclear and conventional deterrence. We could strike faster – truly within hours – around the globe. We would risk far fewer service men and women in combat. And we could afford more low-end assets for the everyday, peace-time work of our military.

    Even better, our relatively unique position as one of the European powers to expand across the world, then retreat with a few bits of rock left in our possession, means that no non-NATO country is in the position to use this strategy against us – they don’t have the overseas territories. North Korea and Pakistan don’t own any islands in the Atlantic.

  283. Fencer permalink
    July 31, 2010 3:12 pm

    MatR, sounds like an excellent idea if technologically feasible. Taking it a step further; what if the SSKs could remain attached to the SSN for the duration of a high-speed transit and not even use their batteries/fuel cells.

  284. MatR permalink
    July 31, 2010 1:34 pm

    How about this: recharging the batteries of AIP submarines and mini-subs from nuclear submarines.

    A nuclear sub could act as a ‘mothership’ to smaller and quieter conventional subs, able to shepherd them across the globe without the need to surface. Power might be topped-up by a remotely operated vehicle carrying an umbilicus, or a robot arm carrying a power coupling. Perhaps even a hose and drogue combination would be possible. Recharging on the move or whilst stationery would depend on what actually worked out best in tests, and depend upon engineering constraints, obviously.

    The nuclear sub might find its transit speed reduced by power demands, but I think that this might be a low cost way for navies with nuclear subs to buy force multiplication at a low cost. The technology for ROVs, for example, is well-proven and affordable. The Royal Navy has used them since the 1950s, and modern navies use them for mines and harbour protection. They’re well-proven in the offshore oil and gas sector.

    For the French, Americans and British, it would mean that AIP subs no longer remain coastal boats.

  285. elgatoso permalink
    July 30, 2010 7:56 pm

    alex (the orriginal) :Care to develop more about Storm Shadow?

  286. July 29, 2010 6:21 pm


    seriously, there are about 3 roads on the falklands, the rest are tracks at best, and frankly there is hardly any cover or trucks there so they would stick out like a KISS fan at a Britney Spear concert.

    even the chinese after decades have not got the Infrastructure in place for the ASBM yet…and they have their own independent program, something which Britain does not.

    Storm Shadow is not that good, really its not the exocet of its generation, and no where as good as the Tomahawk, the TLCM which is in service with the RN; now putting those in underwater silo’s would work….but to put them in place you would have to put massive concrete bunkers under water, and they could probably be spotted and take out by either torpedo or frogman quite easily.

    yours sincerely


  287. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 29, 2010 5:37 pm

    An economical Falklands Defense-Mobile land based missiles. The UK version of of the Chinese “Carrier Killer” missiles. An ASBM might not be viable for this yet, but modern cruise missiles would. A Land-based version of Storm Shadow? Even better, a conventional supersonic French ASMP-A. Place them on truck-mounted launchers, keep them moving about the Island. No vulnerable land bases to worry about.

  288. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 28, 2010 4:45 am

    More British Trident Alternatives via RUSI for Continuous At-Sea Deterrence–

    A ‘Normally-CASD’ Submarine Force – Extend the Vanguard-class submarines, delay the start of peak spending on the renewal programme until 2019/2020 and redefine what is meant by ‘CASD’ to cut the fleet of boats from four to three.

    2. A ‘CASD-Capable’ Submarine Force – Abandon CASD in normal circumstances, but maintain a credible capability to reconstitute it if required. This option could cut the fleet of successor submarines from four to two and delay peak spending until 2023/2024.

    3. A ‘Dual-Capable’ Submarine Force – Rationalise the submarine fleet around a single model of boat, which could be used either for conventional or deterrent roles. This new model would eventually replace both Vanguard and Astute class submarines.

    4. A Non-Deployed Strategic Force – A more radical option, this would abandon the UK’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent, maintaining only a non-deployed arsenal. Offering the most substantial financial savings, this option would still aim to provide a guaranteed – but not prompt – ability to retaliate against future nuclear attacks.

  289. Scott B. permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:20 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Or several times smaller!”

    A very Paleo-Burlesonian philosophy…

    IOW, a fatally flawed dogma, as Stuart Slade explained in Norman Friedman’s “Navies in the Nuclear Age” (p.108) :

    ““On several occasions, significant advances in weapon and propulsion technology have given the appearance of making possible an equaliser; a small, inexpensive, highly lethal warship that will drive conventional fleets from the seas.

    On each occasion, a clique of supporters has coalesced around the ‘new concept’, damning those who question its infallible lethality as hidebound reactionaries who are terrified that the ‘new ideas’ would upset their ivory towers.

    In every case, be it the torpedo boat, the CMB, the MTB/MGB/PT boat or the FAC-M, as experience with the new design has grown and countermeasures have been developed, natural design evolution has turned the radical new concept into a minor variant of a traditional warship type.

    In every case, the hidebound reactionaries who have patiently argued that warships designed with regard to a broad spectrum of real military requirements and conditions will prove more viable and effective than those optimized for maximum performance in a very narrow part of the military and environmental spectrum have been proved correct.

    It is probable that within a few years, new propulsion and weapons technologies will lead to a new generation of equaliser and the whole cycle will start again. History strongly suggests that such developments need to be treated with extreme caution.”

  290. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 27, 2010 6:29 pm

    “a hull several times the size.”

    Or several times smaller!

  291. Scott B. permalink
    July 27, 2010 3:49 am

    Smitty said : “Essentially take the combat system of your favorite frigate (or corvette), and bury it in a hull several times the size.”

    A very Neo-Burlesonian philosophy…

  292. elgatoso permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:01 am

    Now you need to make this ships submersible

  293. Scott B. permalink
    July 26, 2010 8:46 pm

    Another Arsenal Ship design :

    Metro Machine

  294. B.Smitty permalink
    July 26, 2010 4:49 pm

    Scott B said, “Silly or not silly : that is the question !!!

    I read through his concept slideshow a few years ago. The parts I found most interesting revolved around his passive survivability features.

    It got me wondering if a real “Littoral Combat Ship” should be much, much larger, double-hulled, with massive reserve buoyancy, shock and splinter protection, automated firefighting, and extensive compartmentalization. Essentially take the combat system of your favorite frigate (or corvette), and bury it in a hull several times the size.

    You can’t always avoid taking hits in the littorals, so might as well build your ships to absorb a few of them and keep fighting.

  295. Scott B. permalink
    July 26, 2010 3:06 pm

    Rene Loire has written three books to explain and refine his vision of the Striker.

    The first one, titled “The Striker : A Warship For The 21st Century”, was prefaced by the much regretted VADM Joe Metcalf, but is now out of print.

    Those interested in Loire’s concept may nevertheless try to contact Rene directly (e-mail at the bottom of the page below) :

    Rene might still have some spare copies of the book, and will, in any case, be pleased to answer queries regarding his baby.

  296. Scott B. permalink
    July 26, 2010 2:55 pm

    Al said : “It looks like another arsenal ship.”

    Considering my friend Rene Loire published his first article on the subject back in 1989, his *Frappeur* (aka Striker) is not *just another arsenal ship* : it is THE ORIGINAL arsenal ship !!!

  297. July 26, 2010 2:32 pm

    It looks like another arsenal ship.

    Here’s another page on the ship:

  298. Scott B. permalink
    July 26, 2010 6:57 am

    A Neo-Burlesonian concept :

    Striker (aka Frappeur) by Rene Loire (32-page slideshow)

    Silly or not silly : that is the question !!!

  299. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 25, 2010 5:16 pm

    Or rename this “Ideas, Silly & Otherwise” or “Ideas, Silly or Serious”

  300. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 25, 2010 5:10 pm


    That certainly isn’t any sort of ‘Silly Idea’.

    Perhaps that name should be changed to “LCS Acronyms & Other Ideas”.

    Or, “Discussions & LCS Acronyms”.

    But then, why not simply subsume “LCS Acronyms” underneath “Dept. of Silly Ideas”. It would certainly fit, given what the LCS program has morphed into…

    Then, an “Open Discussion” section could be created.

  301. elgatoso permalink
    July 25, 2010 1:16 pm

    A silly idea .We can use the lcs acronym (last time used May)as a informal forum.

  302. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 24, 2010 10:54 pm


    As long as I’ve been here, I haven’t found any cause to be worried about being patronized by you or anyone else on New Wars. There is hardly ever a derogatory comment here. New Wars has to amongst the top of all mil-blogs for cordiality and congeniality amongst its contributors. It helps to set it apart from many commonplace blogs where there’s a culture of insulte de la journée ou le moment. You set the pattern, and New Wars has done well by it.

  303. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 24, 2010 6:15 pm

    D.E. One more thing, wasn’t trying to be patronizing with the “Silly Ideas” thing. It just inspired me at the right moment. Again, I appreciate all your support.

  304. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 24, 2010 6:09 pm

    D.E., haven’t been ignoring you. I appreciate all your suggestions. WordPress is kind of a tricky platform for what you are suggesting. I don’t have unlimited bandwidth still using the free template, and with the economy like it is, I intend to stay with the cheaper alternative indefinitely.

    In an attempt to find an outside host for a separate program, the idea was voted down by the majority, who reminded me of the extra time consumed for a forum, or its like for the Breaking News.

    As it is I’m pretty swamped, however, if you care to host one on your own, I would be greatly supportive as well as appreciative.

    Thanks again for your interest and all your help.

  305. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 24, 2010 4:04 pm

    Duh… Edit time.

    I wrote: “It would be content that is newsworthy.”

    That should have stated: “It wouldn’t be content that is newsworthy.”

  306. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 24, 2010 4:01 pm


    You stated: “I never feel comfortable just throwing in a comment in the “Breaking News section, since it would not be breaking news.”

    I have on two or more occasions suggested to Mike that New Wars needs a general discussion thread. I’m not sure that the ‘Dept. of Silly Ideas’ meets that requirement. And I concur that ‘Breaking News’ certainly isn’t properly suited to such commentary. So, I’ll repeat my suggestion for the third (or 4th, maybe 5th?) time.

    Mike, a ‘General Discussion’ or ‘Flowing Discussion’ needs to be created. Or, maybe entitle it ‘Floating Discussion’… That would certainly conform to the generally naval-centric content of New Wars. It would be content that is newsworthy. And it certainly wouldn’t be things that seem ‘Silly’, at first. But, it would be a place for an ongoing, ‘Floating Discussion’.

  307. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 24, 2010 1:46 pm

    D. E. Reddick,

    In addition, I never feel comfortable just throwing in a comment in the “Breaking News section, since it would not be breaking news.

    LSVs are the true successors to the LST that proved so useful in so many different roles including being mother ships/mobile bases on the rivers of Viet Nam, a big box you ca stuff with anything and engines that can move it to where you want it.

  308. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 24, 2010 3:59 am

    Not Chuck’s fault but my own since I intended to mention the source, and then forgot. Sorry elgatoso.

  309. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 24, 2010 12:06 am


    Since you’re mentioning those two helo-optimized LSVs in service with the Philippine Navy, then you should be commenting about them in the Breaking News section (not here within the Dept. of Silly Ideas). That’s where Elgatoso brought the topic of LSVs up as examples of what is possible.

  310. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 23, 2010 6:18 pm

    Be sure to follow the links and take a look at the Philippine Navy version too. They are potentially mother ships for helos and patrol boats too.

  311. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 23, 2010 4:53 pm

    A $32 million Littoral Ship? And not just the small corvettes and gunboats New Wars usually advocates but a 5000 ton warship! Here is Craig Hooper reporting from Defense Tech:

    “Think what you will about that strategic goal, but, as far as the platform goes, an LSV–with its slow speed, tiny draft, mid-sized crew (a core of about 30) and long legs (5,000 miles) would be a perfect “presence” tool for Africa and the Pacific Islands. Capable of carrying the equivalent of 28 Abrams M1A tanks, the LSV can bring a lot of stuff to a lot of places…

    For low-threat presence and long-standing, watch-oriented pirate/anti-smuggler missions, the LSV is a cost-effective way to get modest capabilities to the field. But…why aren’t these cheap assets being used?”

    Considering the usually benign environments our large amphibious ships normally operate in, it makes much sense to deploy these WW 2-style craft for the peace-keeping missions, saving the real fighting ships for the Big Wars. More importantly, this would get the Marines back to the sea where they belong, without busting the budget! I continue to insist for the Marines to survive in a new decade, they must become more cost effective, not just effective.

    More on the LSVs here.

  312. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 21, 2010 5:34 am

    Lasers on Cutters

    This is via our friend Chuck Hill at the CG Blog

    “Since this was done with commercially available lasers and is expected to be operational as early as 2016, it is clear that beam weapons are coming on faster than we might have expected. A capability not addressed in any of the articles I have seen so far is the ability to blind pilots of manned aircraft even if it does not destroy the aircraft directly. There is also the possibility of having very precise ability to disable boats, or the ability to apply it in a low powered, non-lethal way to force compliance by making individuals very uncomfortable, in addition to use against cruise missiles and small boat swarms. It might even be used against incoming artillery shells.”

  313. Anonymous permalink
    July 19, 2010 5:37 pm

    Another source on reinstating gliders:

    Click to access a051.pdf


  314. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 18, 2010 6:54 pm


    The nomenclature of submersibles has been fairly well standardized for some time by the USN and applied to foreign designs in the English language naval literature and daily usage. SSB and SSG were (are) the non-nuclear-powered versions of what we now call SSBNs & SSGNs. An AIP powered diesel-electric SSB and/or SSG should be a workable concept if one is unable to develop / operate the nuclear-powered SSGN or SSGN designs.

    Ballistic missile submarine

    United States

    SSBN is the United States Navy’s hull classification symbol for a nuclear-powered, ballistic nuclear missile-carrying submarine.[1] The SS denotes a “submersible ship”, the B denotes “ballistic missile,” and the N denotes “nuclear powered.”

    Golf class submarine

    Project 629, also known by the NATO reporting name of Golf class, were diesel electric ballistic missile submarines of the Soviet Navy.

    SSG (hull classification symbol)

    SSG is an obsolete hull classification symbol in the United States Navy. It was applied to the Regulus missile-launching submarines from the 1950s. Only four submarines were designated SSG: USS Tunny (SSG-282), USS Barbero (SSG-317), USS Grayback (SSG-574), and USS Growler (SSG-577). Tunny and Barbero were modified World War II Gato-class submarines, while Grayback and Growler were custom made launch platforms.

    The Soviet Union built the Juliett-class submarines to carry nuclear cruise missiles to attack the United States, but these were later converted to carry anti shipping cruise missiles. Three variants of the Whiskey-class submarines, called the “Single Cylinder”, “Twin Cylinder”, and “Long Bin” were made.

  315. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 18, 2010 2:46 pm

    Why not just SSB or SSBL for submarine, ballistic missile, lake. We are still tacking on an”N” for everything nuclear, ie, SSN, SSBN. Leaving it off means it is conventionally powered. Regular, conventionally powered subs were SS. SSKs were conventionally powered ASW subs.

  316. Anonymous permalink
    July 18, 2010 10:58 am

    What about reinstating glider forces for airborn assaults and special forces.

    See here for more info:


  317. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 18, 2010 7:01 am

    Think Defence-Understandably we have gotten used to nothing but the best, but as you say “eye-watering costs” plus lack of funds are changing many priorities.

    Silly ideas may become tomorrow’s norm!

  318. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 18, 2010 4:14 am

    D.E. wrote ““SSBK”??? The designation SSK means ‘Ship, Submarine, hunter-Killer’.”

    You’re right of course, though I only meant to compare the difference between a nuclear and conventional submarine, since SSN is commonly used for nuclear boats, though it is also a sub-killer. So the “K” is becoming a symbol for just any non-nuclear boat, unless there is another designation I’m unaware of: SSBS?

  319. July 18, 2010 4:10 am

    Mike, I have seen all sorts of estimates for a Vanguard replacement but these also include all sorts of infrastructure costs as well. The main thing seems to be starting from scratch with a like for like design i.e. a dedicated SSBN

    One of the Think Defence commenters came up with the idea of stopping Astute at 4 or 5 boats and designing a batch 2 with a hull plug to accommodate the launch tubes. I then shamelessly stole the idea and added a few frills like using the modular weapons bay idea in the Block III Virginia class.

    The UK faces an unfortunate timing problem, because Vanguard goes out of service much earlier than Ohio we can’t really take advantage of using a common design (SSBN(X)) and this is compounded by the possibility of a Trident replacement using larger tubes. Because SSBN’s are usually designed around the launch tube we face the prospect of having a class of subs in the water whose tubes are too small for the successor to Trident.

    Now that would be rather a poor show!

    By creating an SSGN built not around the dimensions of a launch tube but 3 or 4 modular payload bays the issue of launch tube diameter goes away to some extent. If the missile diameter changes all you have to is design a new payload module, not submarine.

    Because SSBN is a dedicated design not much use for anything else we also have to maintain 4 boats for a continuous at sea deterrence (CASD)

    Having a modular SSGN allows you to draw from a larger pool, the extra boat is not needed.

    There are compromises though but in light of the eye watering costs of a brand new design perhaps its time to accept new ideas

  320. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 17, 2010 9:25 pm


    “SSBK”??? The designation SSK means ‘Ship, Submarine, hunter-Killer’. Somehow, I just don’t believe that any strategic submarine force will be wanting its assets acting as hunter-killuhs…

  321. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 17, 2010 8:56 pm

    Think Defence-Seriously, the SSGN proposal for Britain is brilliant and better than my own for an “SSBK”, or whatever. Any idea on the costs as compared to a regular Trident sub, which I think was estimated 30 billion pounds total?

  322. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 17, 2010 4:42 pm

    Remember the Caspian Sea Monster – the Ekranoplane?

    Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV) – aka Ekranoplane

    Now, our friends over at are discussing the apparent revival of this amazing type of naval vessel/aircraft. The large ones can carry 500 metric tons (540 tons) of payload. One version carried six AShM – ouch! There are a fair number of eye-opening pictures and illustrations in the thread. The first posting of the thread includes a link to an apparent announcement of further development of this type of vessel. Plus, there’s a video on the third page of the thread. While the video’s commentary is in Russian, the whole effect is stunning (especially the launch of an AShM).

    Think of something like these vessels deployed to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and running down drug-smuggling fast boats once UAVs have found them. Deploy some small to medium sized armed GEVs with a drop ramp launched RHIB and a VBSS team. No fast boat can outrun them and a GEV can even follow over coastal marshes or up on a beach to catch the smugglers. Of course, it’s just a different sort of silly idea…

    Caspian Sea Monster 2.0

  323. July 17, 2010 4:14 pm

    Mike, if anyone should be blushing it is me

    Grammar, C-

    What prompted this was the rumour that the Treasury is wanting the MoD to fund the Trident/Vanguard out of the core equipment plan, rather than a strategic fund outside the main equipment plan.

    This would have a very very big impact on the rest of the armed forces so compromise might be the name of the game

  324. July 17, 2010 4:03 pm

    Dude!!!!!! If they nuke Canuck Land where will you Yanks run to?

  325. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 17, 2010 12:05 pm

    British SSGN-Interesting proposal from Think Defence:

    The proposal was to cease production of Astute at 4 or 5 and create a Batch 2 design that had a vertical launch section plugged in amidships, 6 or 8 boats.

    These could be fitted with the US ‘flex tubes’ and Trident rotated with conventional weapons, a single boat taking on the role of at sea deterrent on a rotational basis. Drawing from a larger pool of vessels means availability management becomes easier, you don’t need that extra fourth boat. In time of heightened tension the weapon load could be flexed up and it certainly satisfies my obsession with ‘ruthless commonality’ to drive relentlessly drive costs down. If things were really getting hairy then the additional missiles could be dispersed across all the boats, diversity in location increases resilience and this resilience means the likelihood of a successful counter strike increases dramatically. This may even reduce tension.

    The US Navy is had some considerable success in modifying older SSBN’s by fitting multi tube Tomahawk launch cells, special forces accommodation and swimmer delivery vehicles.

    The difference between us the the USN is that we would be starting from scratch, almost. The astute is a modular design and the experience gained from the tortuous design and build programme means that expertise will never be higher than it is now.

    Can we innovate to reduce cost and increase flexibility, yes, I think we can.

    I might even venture into New Wars territory and say that a suitably equipped SSGN might replace some of the missions planned for CVF.

    Can you see me blushing?

  326. Anonymous permalink
    July 17, 2010 7:44 am

    D.E. Reddick,

    Okay, you’ve convinced me.


  327. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 17, 2010 12:20 am


    You forget, if anything is ever built – it’s location will be known.

    Whether through:
    … congressional testimony;
    … satellite intelligence;
    … plain old espionage.

    The location of such fixed silos will be known and some manner or fashion of attack will be formulated by an enemy.

    Thus, mobile launch platforms – whether they be AIP SSBs or SSBNs are far more safe than any fixed launch facility (even if limited to the three largest of the Great Lakes).

    There is absolutely no value to be had from fixed missile silos situated in the Great Lakes.

  328. Anonymous permalink
    July 16, 2010 9:52 pm

    D.E. Reddick,

    I don’t think we would advertise exact the location of our underwater silos. The general “in Lake Superior” would be enough.


  329. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 16, 2010 7:16 pm


    Yeah, the Great Lakes do form a sort of bastion. And nobody else around ol’ planet Earth has anything similar. Hudson’s Bay might be nearly as good (if guarded). The Black Sea is deep enough but has too many conflicting interests surrounding it for it to be usable by any power bordering it. The shallow Baltic Sea is even worse. The Caspian Sea – well, no further comment is necessary…

  330. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 16, 2010 5:44 pm

    Sounds like the ultimate “bastion” strategy. Think we would have to talk to the Canadians first though. We have a treaty with them to keep the Lakes demilitarized (worked around it in WWII but some people still get upset when the Coast Guard practices with .50 cal on the lakes.)

  331. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 16, 2010 1:54 pm


    Then the silos would be static, stationary targets – suitable to attack. The subs could be slow-moving AIP SSBs instead of faster SSBNs and would still be workable. It’s just so long as the several of them are moving around, unapproachable by an enemy, that would make a potential adversary think very hard about how the three larger Great Lakes could prove to be a death’s knell for nuclear adventurism.

  332. Anonymous permalink
    July 16, 2010 12:42 pm

    D.E. Reddick,

    Great idea, but why bother with subs? Just build missile silos on the bottom of the lakes.


  333. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 15, 2010 10:23 pm

    Boomers for the Great Lakes! Think of it…

    Construct SSBNs without any torpedo tubes and minimal SONAR equipment and employ them in the deeper of the five Great Lakes. An enemy would have to saturate bombard the entirety of each of two or three of the lakes with ICBMs to get the subs. And he might be too late, since the lakes could be wired to issue launch commands the moment an enemy’s launches are detected.

    Check out the maximum and average depth for the Great Lakes. At least three of them seem feasible as locations from which unapproachable SSBNs could launch SLBMs. The bathymetry (relative elevations, average depths, maximum depths, & volumes) are to be found in the following. Lake Superior is really the superior lake for this purpose:

    Great Lakes

  334. Anonymous permalink
    July 15, 2010 4:38 pm

    The Submarine Aircraft Carrier: A submarine capable of carrying four-five of the submersible aircraft being developed by DARPA, releasing and retrieving them underwater.


  335. Joe permalink
    July 15, 2010 2:23 pm

    JSF Alternative: F-15SE

    Amen brother.

  336. elgatoso permalink
    July 15, 2010 9:07 am

    EFV as patrol boat.At 25 miles in water ,armored and with a 30mm cannon,no pirate can stand.And only have like 3 crewman.

  337. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 15, 2010 8:00 am

    Joint Strike Fighter Alternative-F-15 Silent Eagle

    Perhaps not so silly since the Israeli’s are considering it:

    “The Israeli Defense Ministry is talking with the Pentagon about buying Boeing’s F-15E1 because of delays in developing Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israel’s first choice for its next major fighter purchase, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday…

    It will reportedly cost around $100 million per plane, which conforms with the ceiling the Israelis have put on acquiring a fifth-generation fighter.”

    The affordability, payload, range, and reliability of the proven F-15E, plus the stealth of a 5th Gen fighter! What’s not to love?

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