Monday, August 13, 2012

Giving eyes to the aircraft carriers



I will start this article by making it clear that I deem extremely unlikely (unfortunately) the scenario that sees the UK buying the V22 Osprey, fascinating and militarily attractive as this solution arguably is. I don’t think the MOD has the money, the will and perhaps not even an impelling enough necessity for doing it. It is a lot more believable, instead, to talk about the US Navy exercising its option for the buy of 48 Ospreys, to use mainly for Carrier On-board Delivery (COD) and, eventually, Search and Rescue (SAR) and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR). And, perhaps, at some point the US Marines will want an Aerial Early Warning platform capable to operate from the flat-deck amphibious vessels, who knows.

With the return to the F35B and, as a consequence, to a STOVL-configured CVF, rumors have been prone to come up every few minutes about the UK possibly buying a number of Ospreys for AEW and COD and AAR roles. Not without a reason, since the V22 AEW was a contender in MASC (Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control) for the replacement of the Sea King ASaC Mk7 AEW, with some interesting collaboration going on between the UK and the US Marines, who showed quite a bit of interest in fitting the british Cerberus AEW suite to the Osprey. In addition, the Royal Navy was pretty eager to demonstrate that it would be able to operate with an airplane as large and complex as the V22, even on a deck as “small” as that of an Invincible-class carrier.

A lot of things have changed, however, and not for the best. MASC has become Crowsnest, and it is now pretty much certain that the new AEW solution will be Merlin HM2-based, with the helicopter being fitted with the Cerberus system, migrating from the Sea Kings, or with the new Lockheed Martin Vigilance podded radar system. A marked backwards step from the earlier Navy hopes of procuring around 10 dedicate AEW platforms: under the new scenario, the already hard-worked fleet of Merlin helicopters, while going down from 42 (4 in storage) to 30, would be loaded with yet another role, in addition to ASW and Maritime Security in the Gulf.
Even worse, there is a very real risk of having to face and AEW gap of several years, with the Sea King Mk7 bowing out in 2016, with the replacement only available possibly as far away as 2021 or 2022.

From this scenario to a buy of V22s for specific navy use… well, I think it is evident why I find it real hard to consider the Osprey option anything other than a nice dream. However, it is a subject worth treating, and, who knows, perhaps I’ll be proven wrong.
I’d love it.



AEW, AAR, COD  

The core role that needs to be met, urgently and categorically, is the Airborne Early Warning one. The Falklands have well shown what happens when the surface ships are left on their own, trying to react timely to airstrikes that their mast-mounted radars can only detect at short distances. Highly deployable airborne radars capable to provide the commanders with a complete picture of what’s happening in the air and on the surface have proven relevant and indispensable in many, many more occasions: name a recent conflict the UK has been a part of, and the Sea King MK7 was there.
It was there in 2003 to provide 3rd Commando Brigade with the necessary airborne surveillance capability. It was there in Libya, it was there to protect the Olympic games and it is used to great effect in Afghanistan.

Crucial to the Sea King MK7’s success is the Cerberus system, with the Searchwater 2000 radar. This system, delivered from 2002, turned the Sea King MK2 (a pure AEW platform) into a multimission surveillance and control system: the Searchwater 2000 is a very capable radar that can track targets on the surface and in the air, processing three radar modes at once.
The two observers flying into the Sea King MK7 can share the battlefield picture obtained thanks to the radar with the commanders on ships / on the ground, via Data Link 16 and an extensive Secure Communications equipment.
In any moment, the Observers can be asked to re-task, and look over a particular area. For the almost totality of a typical 3.5 hours sortie, the Sea King MK7 is an all-seeing eye over the battlefield.
There is no exaggerating the impact of this kind of capability.   

The radar, multimission by nature, makes the Sea King better, under certain aspects, than an immensely more expensive, much bigger E3D Sentry: the AWACS has very little use as a ground-target tracking platform.
In addition, the small sizes of the Sea King, and its ability to take off vertically have been important, making its deployment a lot easier when compared to the use of huge E3D Sentry and/or Sentinel R1.
On the other hand, the Sea King’s typical sortie lasts a fraction of that of a Sentry or Sentinel, and the helicopter can only fly at a much, much lower altitude. And there’s a price to pay for this: the radar has to be placed as high as possible, as altitude means increased range, and increased range means detecting the enemy earlier, and having more time to react. And time is never enough in certain situations. Every additional second counts.

Delivering 24 hours coverage with the Sea King is not easy. The MK7 will often fly two missions a day, but even so, you need no less than 4 airframes to ensure constant coverage. And there is no remedy to the altitude issue.
These two being the reasons that make the V22 attractive.

The V22 is fully compatible to a STOVL carrier, and is almost as deployable as Sea King: it does not need big runways to operate. On the other hand, it is much, much larger than Sea King, so deployment on small ships such as frigates and destroyers is a no.
On the other hand, the V22 offers greater mission endurance and flies at a much higher altitude, with a service ceiling of 24700 feet. A Merlin-based solution would fly at 15.000 feet at most.

The MV22 is also much faster, at between 250 and 262 knots maximum sustainable cruising speed against Merlin’s cruise speed at 150 knots. Even in “economic” cruise speed, the MV22 would undoubtedly lead by a great margin.
The MV22 has at least 4 hours endurance with a load of 24 combat-ready troops, but its mission normally is not described much in terms of endurance, but in terms of range and speed: it can carry the 24 Marines out to 325 naval miles and return to the ship in record time.
The Special Forces CV22 has additional fuel tanks, and its mission is to carry a 18-man team out to 500 naval miles.

In March 2008 Boeing was already proposing a V22 ASaC solution which would incorporate the CV22 additional fuel tanks, improved power connectors, secure communications and a Link 16 antenna. A rigid radome would contain the Searchwater 2000 radar. As of 2012, the proposed V22-Cerberus is still mooted, as Totally Organic Sensor System (TOSS).  

The US V22 plan calls for the acquisition of 458 V22s, of which 360 for the Marines (MV22 variant), 50 for the US Special Forces Command, via USAF (CV22) and 48 for the US Navy (HV22). As of 2010, 216 Osprey aircrafts had been procured, 185 for USMC and 31 for USAF. The 48 Navy Ospreys haven’t yet been ordered.
Recent buys have been conducted under the terms of a 10.4 USD billion contract signed on March 28, 2008, valid out to FY2012 and covering procurement of 141 MV22 and 26 CV22, giving an average cost per unit of roughly 62,3 million dollars for the multiyear contract. When the over 10 billion dollars of Development costs are added, the unitary cost is 109 million each over the planned 458-strong fleet.
The V22 is not a cheap airplane. However, it is worth remembering that the UK is paying for 14 new Chinooks a billion pounds (including 5 years of support), and that means north of 100 USD million per airframe.

In terms of capabilities offered, a MV22 AEW would mean a big leap forwards, thanks to greater speed, altitude and endurance. Besides, the Osprey can refuel in flight, and while the Merlin (the HC3 variant, at least) can also be air refueled, the UK currently is unable / unwilling to exploit this particular characteristic.  
The TOSS envisaged 3 workstations on board, adding one compared to Sea King MK7, and better accommodating teamwork with UAVs, that the UK has been experimenting as part of MASC since 2005. Namely, the Sea King MK7 was back then trialed working in team with the Scan Eagle drone, which the future AEW platform could send ahead to visually observe a target acquired on the radar, for example.
This year the Scan Eagle will again be trialed by the Royal Navy from a Type 23 frigate, but this time it’ll be an operational trial, since the drone will be used in the Gulf, during a routine deployment.
An April 2012 image of a possible V22 ASaC shows two workstations, but probably there is quite a lot of flexibility in how the AEW equipment can be arranged on board.

The AEW Osprey is shown equipped with a palletized Cerberus, rather similar to what was proposed in 2010 by Thales and AgustaWestland for adoption on the Merlin HC3. The radome containing the Searchwater radar is lowered out from the rear ramp, while a pallet fitted with the electronics and workstations

As a Carrier On-board Delivery platform, the V22 offers respectable performances: it has an internal cargo bay volume of 739 cubic feet, and can carry a 20.000 pounds load, with the floor rated for a pressure of 300 pounds per square foot.
The length of cargo space available is 20.8 feet, which means a load of, for example, four 48x48 Warehouse pallets, or two 463L pallets. The cargo space can take containers as large as 68 inches wide, 66.23 inches high, and 250 inches long as long as they can achieve the necessary restraint criteria.
For external loads, there are two cargo hooks, either of which can support a 4358 kg load (10.000 lbs). Alternatively, both hooks can be used together, to stably lift a 15.000 lbs load.
There is also a rescue hoist on a removable boom. Good for SAR work, it is rated for 600 pounds. Fastrope equipment can be fitted under the tail, allowing men to rope down from the rear ramp with the Osprey hovering.

As an Air to Air Refueler, the V22 is fitted with a palletized 660 lbs kit with a single drogue unit, deployed centrally from the rear ramp. Two auxiliary fuel tanks are installed in the cargo bay, each for 430 gallons, for a combined 5590 lbs of weight.
The installation of this kit takes around 1 and a half hours. Max speed is 230 knots in this configuration, enough to safely refuel fixed-wing jets, F35 included. The central position of the drogue keeps the plane that is being refueled safe from the vortexes of the two massive rotors of the V22.
Internally, the MV22 carries 1720 gallons (117000 lbs), with the CV22 carrying 2040 gallons, so that, with the auxiliary tanks installed, there’s at least 17290 lbs of fuel on board, much of which is transferable.
It is not much, when you consider that a F35B carries more than 13.000 lbs of internal fuel, but for sure it is enough to provide an helpful top-up to several F35s in a single sortie, extending their range and endurance considerably. 

The ISR-C2 variant shown seems to be equipped with the TOSS system based on the Cerberus and Searchwater radar. The trademark "bag" of the radar is well visible.

The deck footprint of a V22 is quite huge: 84,6 feet in width and 57,3 feet in length. When folded for storage, however, the width reduces to just 18,11 feet [5.8 meters], while the length increases to 63 feet. The V22 can be brought down into the CVF’s hangar without being folded, as the lift and hangars are big enough to take the airplane. The hangar is also high enough, at least for part of its length, to take the unfolded V22, which is 6,7 meters high, reducing to 5,5 meters when folded down.

If the UK ever got around to buying the Osprey, there would also be an opportunity for collaboration and joint maintenance in the UK, as the US are deploying a squadron of CV22 Special Ops Ospreys to the airbase in Mildenhall.

There is no doubt that the V22 would make available some very interesting capabilities to the Royal Navy, but at a quite high cost. I don’t think the Navy will ever be able to justify said costs. To the scrutiny of the MOD and Treasury, the Merlin helicopter is probably going to result perfectly adequate for the AEW role, and COD and AAR roles are not immediate requirements, much as they would of course add a lot to a carrier task force’s capability. 

Data from: 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/89698817/v22-brief#download - thanks to SNAFU - Solomon for putting this online 

http://www.marines.mil/unit/mcbjapan/Pages/Around/MV22GB.pdf

Arnie Easterly (January 2004) "Navy V22 Concept of Employment, US Naval War College" 

 

Crowsnest: the Merlin AEW

Indeed, as said also in the Royal Navy 2012 handbook, the Crowsnest is by now set on using the Merlin HM2 platform as base for the AEW role.
The HM2 is the soon to be in service upgraded variant of the Merlin HM1 sub-hunting helicopter. Originally, 44 Merlin HM1 were purchased, but in the years 2 have been lost to accidents and 4 have been mothballed. Of the remaining 38, 30 are being updated, while an option for modernizing the other 8 seem set not to be exercised.

The Merlin HM2 fleet will routinely be asked to provide 6 or 8 Small Ship Flights for the Type 23 and then 26 frigates, with more potentially earmarked for Type 45. A requirement also exists for providing larger (4 to 6 helicopters) flights to big ships such as RFA Argus (it has become a common solution for Somalia anti-piracy deployments) or the Fort class replenishers, and of course to the Aircraft Carrier in future. Then there are additional security tasks, training needs and other requirements to be met.
If we consider that all ship flights ideally should be triple (one training, one deployed, one recovering after deployment), we can immediately appreciate the full dimensions of the problem, and of the work that the already stretched Merlin family does. Meet all calls from a fleet of 30 aircrafts will be a real problem.

As I said, I deem it highly unlikely that we get an Osprey solution. My greatest hope is to see Crowsnest adjusted to involve the upgrade and use of the 8 – 12 HM1 airframes not currently part of the HM2 upgrade. This upgrade could do away with everything relating to the dipping sonar and sonobuoys, and focus on delivering the core software and hardware modifications of the HM2, to remove obsolescence and make the fleet logistically common to the main one. This way, the two AEW Squadrons could be retained as a separate force, like now, and the requirements could better be met.  
If we were to obtain this, it would already be something worth cheering for.

There are two different industrial teams putting forwards two modular AEW solutions for adoption on the Merlin HM2. One team is composed by AgustaWestland and Thales, and includes a palletized Cerberus solution, “migrated” from the Sea Kings.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are putting forwards their Vigilance podded radar/ESM solution, developed specifically on the HM2 software and systems, which are a Lockheed product to start with.
In some more detail:

Thales and AgustaWestland proposal

The initial proposal by Thales and Westland was made in the summer of 2010, and aimed at HC3 type Merlins equipped with a rear ramp. The choice of airframe was rather weird, as there is no overabundance of Utility helicopters, quite the opposite!
The possibility of modifying the surplus HM1 airframes to cut a ramp opening into their back was, as far as I’m aware, never confirmed, and anyway such an approach would require quite a lot of work and expense. Westland at the time was planning on the hope that the MOD would acquire around 10 new helicopters specifically to meet AEW needs. 


The original Thales - AgustaWestland proposal, targeted at the Merlin HC3 (or better still at new build "HC3+" with folding rotors and navalization)

In this first proposal, a pallets with two workstations and the electronic equipment would be rolled into the fuselage, followed by another pallet mounted on the edge of the ramp, holding up the Searchwater 2000 radome, which would be lowered once in flight to have unobstructed 360° coverage.

In 2011 the Thales/Westland proposal evolved as it became clear that HM2 airframes would likely to be mandated for the job. The new proposal removes the need for a rear ramp and for pallets, by utilizing modified HM2 workstations (2 of them, no additions) and by fitting a modified Searchwater radome over rails fitted to the side of the fuselage.
The radar pod would slide up and down the rails: up to clear the way for landing, and down to obtain unobstructed view once in the air. 

The revised Thales proposal, with rail-mounted radome. The "bag" slids upwards prior to landing.

This new proposal involves minimum modifications to the base helicopter, and would enable quick re-roling of the Merlin if most or all of the HM2 fleet was fitted with the rails and software mods.   



Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman proposal

The Lochkeed Martin/Northropp Grumman Vigilance AEW radarpod is a 280 to 300 kg pod, entirely self-contained, which houses a powerful Northrop Grumman AESA radar, said to be related to the AN/APG80 and AN/APG81 radars of the same company. The AN/APG81, in particular, is the “super radar” of the F35.
Said AESA radar is said to offer quite unbeatable performances, with SAR and ground targeting capability, and powerful air to air AEW mode.

The Vigilance pod also contains the processor and power system, an IFF interrogator, GPS/INS, ESM sensors and its own cooling system. Two of these pods, mounted on the torpedo hardpoints of the Merlin HM2, can give 360° degrees of AEW and land surveillance capability. They only need a single power source connection, and can work with the software and tactical workstations (2) of the Merlin HM2, even if two more stations could be added for improved performance in the various roles made possible by the multimission nature of the radar. 

The Vigilance radar pod fitted to a Merlin HM2 for tests
The Vigilance pod contains IFF, AESA radar and integrated cooling system

Again, this solution requires minimum modifications to the helicopter (very possibly even less than required by the Thales solution) and would be quickly adoptable on potentially all of the HM2s.

The Vigilance pods could almost certainly be fitted to the V22 as well, leaving more space in the cargo bay to install auxiliary fuel tanks and expand endurance. The pods are indeed offered for adoption on a huge variety of rotary and fixed wing platforms. Validated on the Merlin HM2, the Vigilance is offered for platforms all the way up to the C130.



The odd and fascinating one

News of Royal Navy interest in hybrid airships surfaced on the press some time ago and generated immediately quite some interest.

The Bedfordshire-based Hybrid Air Vehicles is producing its HAV304 airship platform for the Northrop Grumman’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), an airship that will offer the US Army a 21 days loiter time at 20.000 feet (plus possibly the equivalent of 2 days loiter in range of deployment), with a wide range of sensors and cameras installed as part of a 1800 lbs payload.
With a crew of men onboard, loiter time reduces to 5 days at 16.000 feet.
The hybrid airship can loiter at 30 knots speed and cruise at a max speed of 80 knots.

The LEMV has made its first flight in the last few days, some 16 months behind schedule: it had to be in Afghanistan by the end of 2011, and it won’t be there before 2013.

The Royal Navy interest was apparently for the HAV314 variant, however, a larger heavy lift airship with a payload of 50 tons. Now known as AIRLANDER 50, this hybrid airship can land on water or on any reasonably flat ground surface. It does not need a runway, but it does require around 4 times its length in open space to safely land and take off.
Range is 2600 nautical miles (at full payload of 50 tons?), and the body of the airship is fitted with a cockpit for a 2-man crew. The cargo area is separated in two zones: the first area, just behind the cockpit, has a raised floor and offers 2.8 meters (9 feet) in height and 10 meters (33 feet) in length, with a minimum width of 5,64 meters. The second cargo section offers 3.93 meters (13 feet) in height and 20 meters (66 feet) in length and can take 6 standard containers in two rows of 3. In the rear, a vertical crane assembly is provided, which can lift 20 tons, and pull up or lower a container on a truck or on the ground.
Landing and take off speed is 40 knots, and cruise speed is around 80 knots or higher. 




With 200 passengers, it can cross the Atlantic in around 36 hours. According to the Telegraph report, the Royal Navy was even considering the Airship as an assault vessel, carrying up to 150 Royal Marines and a number of RHIBs that could be lowered into the water via crane, or deployed after landing the airship on the water. Fascinating, even if I wonder what the range and endurance would be, what kind of accommodations the Royal Marines would have on board and what exactly would be the mission of such platform.

As an AEW/ISTAR platform, an airship is both attractive and problematic: how would it deploy? Self-Deploying at range over a naval task force in open sea might be a real issue, and the airship definitely can’t land on the carrier’s deck, even less on a smaller vessel.
Would it be possible to refill, maintain, refuel and support the airship by landing it on the water, or would an airship-support vessel be required?
With an airship costing 60 million pounds, reportedly, the solution is already far from cheap, at least in initial procurement (the savings come over the service life of the platform, which requires a lot less support and a lot less fuel than helicopters and airplanes), without needing to buy a (huge) support vessel capable to embark at least a couple of airships, the number needed to ensure continuous coverage.
Even assuming that a Cerberus-like payload can be integrated, and then operated remotely from on board the carrier to maximize the time the airship can spend in the air, and at maximum altitude, the problem of deploying the airship over the task force and keep it flying needs a solution.

As air-tanker, the Airship has no chances, as it is way too slow to enable fast jets to refuel from it.
As a COD platform, with a 20 ton crane capable to lower standard TEU containers on the deck of CVF, and with the capability to carry 50 tons or 200 passengers, the airship is quite unmatched.

But the only way I can see an airship used in the Royal Navy is as an additional capability, not as a Crowsnest solution. A small number of airships, fitted with a payload of sensors and surveillance cameras and with a remaining significant payload margin for transport and COD missions would certainly be useful.
But would they be useful enough to justify their cost in a crowded and always tight budget?

The airship might not be the right solution for the present.
It might, however, be the solution for the future, paradoxically. Enter the Lockheed Martin’s ISIS (Integrated Sensor Is Structure) airship, a gigantic high altitude platform meant to fly at 70.000 feet for up to 10 years per sortie, while carrying a massive integral air search radar capable to detect air targets at a range of 373 naval miles in all directions, while simultaneously carrying a monstrous ground surveillance radar system capable to track multiple static and moving surface targets out to 186 naval miles. The airship would be able to relocate globally in a 10 days time thanks to a sustained speed of at least 60 knots and sprints to 100 knots, and operate without in-theatre support. The control element would be CONUS-based (CONtinental United States).  
This capability would replace at once the E3D Sentry AWACS, the Sentinel R1 and the carrier-borne AEW platforms, offering much increased performances over all of them. The US has been working on the ISIS for years, with the LM contract awarded in 2009. A demonstrator might fly next year.

This airship program, if successful, would no doubt represent a true revolution.  



63 comments:

  1. Gaby

    "Even worse, there is a very real risk of having to face and AEW gap of several years, with the Sea King Mk7 bowing out in 2016, with the replacement only available possibly as far away as 2021 or 2022."

    This gap seems to be becoming more and more of a probability, not just a possibility. Any chance of the Navy "running on" the Sea King fleet, not only in the AEW role but also perhaps in the "Commando" (HC Mk4) airborne lift role too? (I don't know whether the Merlin naval airborne lift aircraft will be fully ready by 2016 either). We already have the Sea King aircraft and an upgrade would not be that expensive, would it? They are sturdy airframes.

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    1. I fear the Merlin will initially be used in Commando role with no real naval features, and the AEW will simply be gapped. Horribly stupid a thing as as it is.

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  2. Surely it's an almost certainty that Crowsnest will be stuck on-to Merlin?

    I also thought it was pretty obvious that the 8-12 spare airframes would be utilised for this, thus not impacting on the 30 strong ASW Merlin fleet?

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  3. Several points:

    1) As noted, the V-22 is large only for the CVF. Can it fit Bulwark and Albion if folded up? Would this deter the purchase of the aircraft?

    2) V-22 is a troop carrying aircraft. Performed ok so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. Would it be a low Value-for-Money in purchasing and modifying it only for AEW?

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    1. Albion and Bulwark have no hangar. Their deck is big enough to take the V22, though, so it could operate off them, at a stretch.

      Using the V22 for AEW, COD and AAR refueling would be excellent value for money. But it just costs too much, and i don't think it'll ever happen, at least not in the UK. The US navy might well do it all (or part of it, they have Hawkeye E2D in the AEW role, they only need COD and AAR unless they want AEW on the big amphibious vessels too).

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    2. Given the size and air group of the QEs, it's highly unlikely the UK needs or wants a COD. One or two RFAs would do it plus simple Merlin or any helo vertical replenishment.

      I thought the US Navy hates the V-22. They are comfy with the funny F/A-18 refueling thingy.

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    3. Not really, COD would still be handy and needed when on actual operations. Look at the French, they had to least a couple of Greyhound COD aircrafts from the US to properly support ops in Libya last year.

      As for the USN "hating" the V22, i don't think that's the case. It is looking more and more likely that they will indeed adopt it.

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    4. Until they thoroughly sort out safety issues, i wouldnt want to fly in one, the Japanese are rightly angered at the posting of this aircraft there, it has claimed a lot of lives

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  4. This is one of those issues that just goes to underscore the shambles that is the UK aircraft carrier and manned deep strike aircraft replacement. We have 70,000+ tonne ships, the second largest aircraft carriers in the world, being equipped with STOVL aircraft with all the drawbacks that come with that. These are amongst the most advanced A2A platforms yet created but they will rely on helicopter based AEW. Simultaneously STOVL aircraft that has less range and less weapons payload than its CTOL/land based equivalents will replace the RAF's dedicated deep strike platform: it really is a farce.

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  5. @hamster

    Well, no one I've read has put it that succintly and incisively before. It is a farce.

    Still, I suppose that the original idea was that the new carriers should carry STVOL aircraft at first and then switch to cats and traps and aircraft with longer range and greater weapon payload as well as fixed-wing AEW later. (No doubt Gabriele will put me right if I am wrong on this).

    Maybe that will still happen but there seems abolutely no sign of it at the moment. The economy has been banjaxed by over a decade of overspending and here we are with an emasculated Navy, Army and Air Force! It's tragic.

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    1. My vision is for QE (1st carrier) to be a strike platform and PoW to be an amphibious/strike platform. That is provided they have sufficient 35s and other assets.

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  6. A bit of curved ball idea...But any thought about the use of AgustaWestland AW609. Payload and Altitude seems okayish ??
    What are your thoughts

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    1. Helicopters as AEW? Might as well not built a monster like QE then.

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  7. Hi Gabriele,
    Nice article.
    Not that i am an expert on the subject, but I like the Vigilance AEW radarpod.
    But as you say, it all depends on how much money there is.
    Regards
    Phil

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  8. The AgustaWestland AW609 seems the way to go equiped with Vigilance AEW pods! Low cost solution to COD and SAR roles to!

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    1. The AW609 solution would present similarities with the V22 option. The difference is that the V22 is proven and already operated by the US in hundreds. There is also going to be US V22s based in the UK, and there are US Navy studies already done on adapting the V22 for AEW, COD and AAR.

      AW609 is a prototype. Targeted at civilian applications and without a rear ramp, as far as i'm aware.
      It would be a start from zero, with all risks and costs connected to it.
      Would it be "cheap" once ready? Unlikely.
      There would be no US money, research and activity to exploit, and it would still be an odd mini-fleet in the force, with zero commonality with other in-service platforms, so with bespoke logistics and support and costs.

      Unfortunately, an AW609 solution is even less likely than a V22 one.

      Regarding STOVL, it is well known that i am a supporter of CATOBAR approach. I've said it many times.
      Unfortunately, since 2001 all work went towards STOVL. The adaptability of the vessel to CATOBAR was largely sacrificed to cost cutting if we are to believe the politicians and their version of the return to the F35B...

      This said, the STOVL aircrafts offer some deployability advantages. We should not forget that the Harrier GR7 and then GR9 were able to deploy and operate in Afghanistan on infrastructure that could take no other airplane.
      Everything is a compromise in life. I wouldn't call it a farce, that's excessive. However, there's no denying that too much is being done "on the cheap". AEW is a big example of that.

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    2. I would point out that the solution to only being able to operate Harriers in Afghanistan was rather simple, they just built better facilities.

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    3. Of course they did. Still, not always it is possible, and it will always take time to prepare facilities. Particularly against enemies actually able to deny you the use of said facilities.

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    4. Which is why the better solution is to have an aircraft with a longer range, greater endurance and larger payload that one can base somewhere where ones $100 million+ aircraft is not exposed to being blown up on the ground by insurgents.

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    5. Hi Gabriele
      Post 2020, we should be in a better shape financially. V22 and CVF are made for each other, a Commando rolled CVF, would be able to use all her helicopter landing spots to launch a mass V22 launch. I do believe the Wasp Class are limited to the spots fore and aft of the Island, the Americas have a narrower Island, though the clearances will still be tight!

      Let's start with a Special Forces purchase and go from there..

      Regarding Ground Aircraft losses at Kandahar. If the RAF Regiment Force Protection Wings had been deployed first, they wouldn't have happened. Since their arrival, I do believe none have been lost.

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    6. Most of the time there will only be a carrier at sea, with the second taking her place to keep one always available and operationally busy.

      It would take a major operation like a Falklands remake to have both used at the same time. And even then, it is pretty likely that for a number of reasons airplanes and troops and helicopters would be spread on both hulls. I think the chances of seeing a CVF at sea as full strike carrier and a Commando carrier CVF at sea at the same time are very, very slim.

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  9. Helo gabriele,

    Once again thank you foe a fine article

    However I do think you are unduely dismissive of an AW609 solution. The Osprey and is unlikey and Airships of whatever form not yet mature then it would seem equally fair to consider this option.

    Once again your futher thoughts and comments are appreciated on this matter

    Regards

    Phil

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    1. I think my position on the AW609 is quite realistic and balanced, actually. It would be a solution similar to the V22, but with many additional challenges to be faced. In my opinion, it is even less likely than V22 and airship.

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  10. Why is the F35B procurement a farce? It's got longer legs than an F18E/F and can carry the same amount of ordinance in terms of weight? Has the exact same sensor fit and electronics as the C and A? It gives us harrier like capability (binning the harrier crews, deck crews and conops was dumb) in a supersonic fifth generation aircraft. It's also the original plan.

    It also can land vertically meaning that it's recovery will be simpler and we get rid of the need for on board carrier tanker aircraft. Plus you can generate a higher sortie rate by landing and taking off at the same time.

    Yes the A and C are even longer ranged and can carry more ordinance, so it's a nice to have but not as important as actually having two aircraft carriers with strike aircraft and year round capability. Or do we not want T26 ASW and GP frigates to pay for the cat and traps?

    It only became a farce with the constant chopping and changing. That and the government didn't want steam catapults for an all electric ship, which is what the 'flexible' design catered for.

    What's the point of a cat and trap carrier when you have only one of them, totally redundant and pointless having them without 365 day a year capability.

    I do think the lack of fixed wing AEW gets conflated a bit too much anyway. The US has 11 CBG's and the economy of scale to make that workable and you never know with the marine ESGs being used constantly maybe a decent reason for Osprey based AEW will happen but the US defense budget is sinking and would a marine ESG really ever go anywhere without a corresponding CSG?

    And that capability is not us, we will have one on and one off as pointed out. Having a common fleet is what is trying to be acheived and the fleet we have is Merlin so thats what we will get. A Merlin carried sensor. It would be interesting to see how much the Osprey actually costs per flight hour and how many you actually do need for a 24/7 capability given that we would have only one in essence platform that could use it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to be seriously deluded and have a limited grasp of history to think its not a farce.

      Delete
    2. Well I'll be rather more polite than you. I'll agree that the constant chopping and changing was a farce.

      However would you have rather ended up with a part time aircraft carrier capability and no escorts to escort said aircraft carrier. ASW frigates are pretty important things to have in a carrier strike group.

      Did you also know (I'm guessing not) that EMALS requires twelve generator sets each one weighing 80,000 pounds, and is 13.5 feet long, almost 11 feet wide and almost 7 feet tall. Not quite the simple bolt on solution. Have a read of this

      http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/EMALS-Electro-Magnetic-Launch-for-Carriers-05220/

      In an ideal world with a large budget yes we'd have two cat and trap carriers with fixed wing aircraft and all the trimings however we spend 2% GDP on defence and have had Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in the last decade. Some things are a compromise and this one gives us two aircraft carriers with jets and 24/7 365 day a year capability with escorts to go with the strike group.

      The internet is a wonderful tool theres open source information about F35 key capabilites in its design, royal college of naval architects reports and papers on the carriers. I suggest you go have a read of them.

      Delete
    3. Lol, you are funny, well done learning to use google; daddy will be impressed. Does not make you right though, just another googler.

      Delete
    4. Well at least I can produce a reasoned argument. Or do you just believe newspaper reports that mix up F35 models between B and C models and report on Cats and Flaps what ever those meant to be.

      Delete
    5. Everyone knows what EMALS is, it has been common knowledge for years and DID is hardly a top secret unknown source. We also know that the Harrier replacement has, by accident of history, become the Tornado replacement, that the Merlin is a pathetic AEW solution for a 5th gen supersonic fighter, that using STOVL does not mean that both carriers will enter service, that the cost escalation caused to the carrier programme by the decision to delay it during construction would have largely paid for EMALS, that Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya were almost entirely paid for outside of the normal defence budget (so had little impact on core navy ship procurement programmes) and that the whole CVF, FOAS, F-35 affair is totem to the complete inability of the MoD to come up with a coherent long term plan and stick to it. But please, feel free to carry on thinking you are somehow wonderfully insightful by linking to well known websites, making silly statements about not having T26s and unsupported generalisations about the STOVL decision allowing 365 day a year capability.

      The point is that if MoD was run properly, and this goes for the military as well as civilian side, a coherent, logical, fully costed and ultimately funded plan that well balanced the global deep strike requirement would have been created. Instead, long after the UK fast jet force collapsed beyond the point where it could realistically sustain 3 aircraft types Typhoon, JCA, and DPOC continued merrily and pointlessly as if it was still 1989 and there were 32 front line fast jet squadrons. Nobody is saying that F-35B will not do a good job, the point is that this situation should never have been allowed to arise in the first place and if someone had had a grip on proper forward planning we would not be where we are now. Lets just hope that the new 10 plan and associated rules are kept to but I for one will not be buying the propaganda that this was the best possible outcome when anybody capable of looking back beyond 2010 knows that this is the product of consistent mismanagement going back to 1997 and arguably even Options for Change.

      Delete
    6. Iraq was consistently funded from within the core defence budget, actually, and the MOD has so far gotten back exactly 0 pounds of the promised refunds.

      Afghanistan was also significantly funded from the core budget, and still a good 3 billion a year of Afghan costs figure in the MOD budget, as certified by documents and NAO reports that arrive all the way to 2011. I have no doubt that around 3 billion of Afghan costs will be in the MOD 2012 budget report too, when the NAO will publish it. It is planned that yearly expenditure for Afghan will hover at around 3 billion all the way out to 2014, in fact.

      Delete
    7. Yes, but they are not core budget, it is MoD funding as the treasury passes on the cash but it is over and above what the MoD would actually receive. NAO reports and others (inc Gray) make it clear that the reason the core programme has suffered so terribly is cost escalation in individual programmes and stagnation (with the odd fall, including of course recently) in real terms defence spending. Furthermore that is why the force structure has been cut to match the procurement cuts (T22 retiring early for instance).

      Delete
    8. The "over and above" is very, very virtual.

      Delete
    9. See that wasn't so hard was it. Those are actually decent arguments.

      Quite why Merlin is a pathetic AEW solution I don't know. It's a fleet protection asset yes you will need more of them to maintain a round the clock capability yes you'll 'only' get (from memory) 350 to 400 miles of coverage if you go with the existing sensor mounted to the HM2. The sensor has air and several ground modes it is a good piece of kit.

      In any strike situation E3 is going to be in use be it ours, the pooled Nato ones or the US.

      The plan from the 2010 SDSR was to fit EMALS only to one carrier, even with the initial 'cheap' estimate. The SDSR plan was to complete QE do IOC with QE and then run it as an oversize LPH before mothballing/selling when PC ended constructor trials and was ready for handing over to the navy. Thats not a year round capability you can't do that with one carrier, it has maintenance periods and then longer refits the RN uses a 1 to 3 system with the crew who 'belong to the ship one on, on one leave and one working up for deployment. Thats why we used to have three aircraft carriers. Two is a stretch for year round capability as it is.

      You really think adding another 4 billion to the core budget wouldn't have killed the T26 program, or left as a tootless piece of junk? We'd be sleping T23s and spend decades running even more worn out and over worked ships.

      Delete
    10. Or should I say POW!

      The MODs funny murky accounting practices are a complete black hole.

      Delete
    11. 1) Adding £4 billion where? If it had been in the programme in the first place it would not have been £4 billion (even the largest estimates for conversion were actually £1.8 billion which makes £3.6 billion)as it would not have required modifying vessels already under construction, it would also have been spread over the entire procurement cycle, could have been found in part by mashing DPOC and JCA together and not delaying CVF by two years (causing a £650 million cost growth) to temporarily balance the budget

      2) NATO will only provide naval E3 because the UK, unlike France and the US, can not- not a logical argument

      3)STOVL does not magically free up O&M funding later in the decade, it does not mean there will be two carriers- at best it means there will be one STOVL aircraft carrier; whatever dreams people may have about balancing the two hulls

      4) Stop putting words in peoples mouths, my point as I have explained to you but you refuse to accept is that had JCA, FOAS/DPOC and CVF been planned properly from the outset (and this goes back well into the 1990s) the UK could have had a much more capable CTOL solution, F-35C flies further with a greater payload (and would thus be a better Tornado replacement), Hawkeye flies higher with a more powerful sensor. F-35B and Merlin AEW will function, but compared to what could have been achieved with proper planning it is sub-optimal.

      Now stop putting words in my mouth.

      Delete
    12. And for people who not what they are talking about MoD accounting practices are not a "black hole".

      Delete
    13. Can you actually explain how SMART procurement is actually supposed to work then and also the yearly planning round system and what actually happens in reality?

      I'm truly interested to know given the comments about mismanagement, overspend constantly moving goal posts, and the inability to make a decision.

      As for EMALS being included on the ship from the get go. Really? Main gate happened in 2007 with an in service date of 2014 (the original main gate plan was 2003 and then shifted to 2005) while the general design was still maturing. EMALS isn't scheduled for acceptance on Ford until 2015. So even based on the vastly later main gate the chances of fitting a totally new un tested design of which the two down selected and now combined industry teams of Thales and BAE would a) have never seen b) in 2007 our ITAR exemption for transfer of American defence related technologies didn't yet exist it was still in draft (not signed until 2010) c) EMALS wouldn't complete testing (on land) with aircraft of types required to be launched until 2012 (ie the original year of completion of QE).

      I was being generous with the 4 billion figure. It was 3 and a bit billion to convert one carrier and 5 odd billion for both.

      We provide our E3D's to the NATO AWACs force as part of our NATO obligation. We use AWACS as our premier AEW system any strike operation is going to be using i,t be it on our own or as part of a US coaliton or a NATO action.

      I can play fantasy money too. Back when we had 10 carriers and the trimmings we spent 6% GDP on defence we now spend 2%. It needs to go up to 3% from 2015 to even afford what we are already planning to do to acheive Force2020. Even with the cuts left right and centre and 'capability gaps'.

      If we hadn't binned CVA-01 we would have had CATOBAR fixed wing aviation in the Falklands we can play 'should have' right back until the early 70s.

      The fact remains we have a 30+ year institutional gap in CATOBAR carrier aviation experience while having the same amount of STOVL ops experience. We have nearly 30 years (next year) of experience operating and developing Searchwater from choppers and we have quite of lot of Merlin cabs even if we had CATOBAR craft the likely hood of buying Hawkeye in such a low buy was highly unlikely.

      Delete
    14. You have invented so many numbers and told so many lies in that post that there is no way I am going to dissect them all. Suffice to say you are dishonest in the extreme.

      Delete
    15. Fine. As I said open source public domain sources. At least it'll give some good reading material that they will understand. I've not made any accusations or pointed any figures so I'll leave it at that. Enjoy or don't as the case may be.

      http://navy-matters.beedall.com/cvf1-01.htm

      http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12594

      In particular read
      "THE DESIGN OF HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH AND HMS PRINCE OF WALES" though there are some other very interesting papers, in particular about hull design.

      http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_48904.htm

      http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/us-uk-treaty-aims-to-ease-itar-export-control-burdens-04371/

      Hopefully you actually know what ITAR is and why it presents a problem re EMALS for a detailed design main gate starting in 2007.

      http://www.asdnews.com/news-38549/EMALS_successfully_launches_E-2D_Advanced_Hawkeye.htm

      Delete
    16. As for Searchwater it was fitted to the Seakings in double quick time for the Falklands conflict in about six weeks to provide AEW capability after the terrible loss of life and shipping.

      http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Radar-and-Electronic-Warfare-Systems/Searchwater-series-surveillance-radars-United-Kingdom.html

      I expect I don't need to provide details of our VSTOL fixed wing aviation history up until the end of 2010.

      Delete
    17. I also apologise to other readers of the blog for having to come over all Grand Logisitics by link spamming but I rather object to be being called a liar.

      Delete
    18. You were called a liar because you are a liar. You rely on deliberate distortions of reality, ignoring what others have written, and your own lack of understanding to craft an entirely false vision of what has actually occurred.

      Delete
    19. What I have done is referenced documents that contain attributable quotes by ministers, papers presented by SMEs/design authorities from the ACA and cited press releases by either manufacturers or articles which quote manufacturers.

      Not op ed pieces.

      Delete
    20. None of which do anything to support you delusional ramblings and instead simply underscore you lack of understanding.

      Delete
    21. "we get rid of the need for on board carrier tanker aircraft."

      No. We get rid of the CAPABILITY for on board carrier tanker aircraft. As the F35B has a considerably shorter range than the C the NEED is greater than ever.

      Delete
  11. I couldn't agree with eaglemmoomin any more!!

    There are too many types on these forums who are into the whole 'we could have had this/should have had that' argument and go into doom and gloom mode beyond all sense of realism........these guys need to get real, there's the way things should be and there's the way things are.............the MOD is not floating in cash right now so we have to live within our means

    At the end of the day the B version is going to provide us a aircraft that is eminently capable and has some particularly glaring advantages over the C (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTVj_ZSwxGE)

    Ok it isn't as long ranged and carries a (slightly) lesser weapons load but it's still light years ahead of any the RN has ever had, how's about all the Walter Mitty types getting behind it rather than suggesting things that are never going to be afforded/be viable

    What was a joke was the changing back and forth between STOVL and CTOL, the £150 million it's cost could have been put to good use elsewhere (crowsnest for starters) but at the same time it was good to see the Government taking stock of the situation and making a decision when the catapult conversion costs went North

    As for Merlin ASaC I say go for it and make the most out a more capable platform than the Sea King. Every report I've ever read regards Cerberus sings it's praises so why change it?? I ain't an aircraft engineer but it'd be great to see more operator stations and greater endurance if feasible.

    A particular shortcoming of the Sea King AEW was it's Orange Crop EW/Elint system, I have seen mentions of upgrades over the years but nothing solid (correct me on this if I'm wrong).

    Well..........isn't there an MOD warehouse somewhere filled with the EW systems from the Nimrod MRA.4?? Designed for MP aircraft but ultra-modular and capable, I've seen the system (Elta EL/L 8300UK) described as a world beater and fits into a C-212.

    Again, I'm not an engineer but surely somebody, somewhere in the MOD is looking at the kit we have and thinking 'can we make all this work??'

    I hope so, because it's exactly what I'm thinking!!

    Keep up the good work with the articles Gabriele (AEW AW609 is surely a joke, someone is trying to wind you up) and kudos to eaglemmoomin, well said indeed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats because you are eaglemmoomin, that is the only plausible reason for your suggestion that we should not critically review past decisions and should instead just accept the present without seeking to learn from the past. It is exactly the same absurdity that comes from eaglemoomin's low IQ and poor education.

      Delete
    2. I think the descent into name calling and accusations of my IQ and level of education with a lack of rebuttal or references shows the level of reasoned and intelligent debate you providing right now.

      Playing the man not the ball eh old boy?

      Delete
    3. I think the fact that you have set up a shill account to support your strange ramblings tells us what you are all about, and it isn't facts.

      The fact that the UK maintained a tentative procurement programme for a GR4 replacement starting with Air Staff Target 425 in 1993 all the way through FOAS before finally being killed as DPOC in the 2010 SDSR in addition to the JCA (F-35) programme whilst simultaneously procuring and desperately trying to rid itself of excess Typhoon airframes because UK fast jet strength had effectively halved between 1993 and 2010 (without taking into account the 2010 cuts) suggests that something went wrong in the planning process- but please, feel free to carry on thinking that everything is wonderful and there are no lessons to be learned here.

      Delete
  12. Creating a shill account to defend myself. That would be a) childish and b) pathetic. I've no need to. I stand by what I've said. You've done a grand job of trivialising your own arguments without me adding to it with your insults, accusations against my intelligence and quite frankly overly emotional belligerent language.

    It may suprise you to know not everyone holds your opinion. I have provided articles written by design authorities both within the MOD/RN and the ACA, I'm sorry but they are facts.

    For the sake of clarity I very much support a strong navy. I believe the needless delays to T45 and CVF have cost us money, hulls and capability, the constant inability to firm up requirements has caused cost increases and often has occured when designs have matured and caused detailed planning to go out of the window leading to more costs.

    However the plans to go STOVL and chopper AEW were and are what we can afford, far exceeds our existing capability. Denying this is hyperbole and FUD.

    The constant need to gold plate the toilet and play fantasy fleets is what got us into this mess in the first place.

    Did the RAF really need to specify a 254 fast jet fleet of interceptors and not multi role aircraft? Could we afford to run Harrier, Tornado, Typhoon and Jaguar all at the same time. The answer was clearly no.

    None of this changes the fact that the original design and plan for JSF and CVF (STOVL and F35B) is what the service chiefs agreed to, planned for and was the prefered solution. I personally think the RN knows what it's doing. They asked for something they have a chance of getting that meets our needs.

    The only lesson is that it should never have been mucked around with once main gate had been passed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, still lying and still refusing to accept reality.

      1) You used a shill account, its obvious so just admit it.

      2) Your so called sources have demonstrated none of your claims

      3) Your refusal to look back beyond main-gate and ask fundamental questions about about the conception of the project marks you out as an idiot.

      Delete
  13. Why on earth would I use a shill account? I'm quite secure in my argument and I'm not a child. I don't believe in throwing insults and accusations around as it doesn't get us anywhere, unlike you, clearly.

    My main sources regarding CVF are two papers,
    "R.N. AIRCRAFT
    CARRIER STUDIES" written by J.F.P. EDDISON, RCNC (member of the CVF project in the Director Naval Architecture & Future Projects). Presented at the Warship 97 Symposium on Air Power at Sea at the Royal Institution of Naval
    Architects in May 1997. Which shows how the CVF key user requirements were shaped.

    The paper titled "THE DESIGN OF HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH AND HMS PRINCE OF WALES " written and presented by S T D Knight (Platform Design Director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance at the time of the paper, and an ex member of the MOD Directorate of Future Projects (Navy)) at the Warship 2009 – Airpower At Sea Conference, which was organised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects". Shows how the requirements and design then evolved up to main gate in 2007 and beyond.

    Unless of course we are now saying these two are liars and the papers they presented to fellow peer naval architects and parties just made up on a whim. They show the track of the requirements and design of CVF.

    I know it may seem like the MOD, service customer of whatever hue and industry just throw these things together to you, but it takes years of studies and discussion just to get to main gate.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a child and a liar, that is why you set up a shill account.

      What you are not doing is critically reviewing the pre-maingate process,you are simply taking a short term view of the project without considering the carriers and UK airpower as a whole. The reason you are not doing this is that you lack the mental capacity to do so.

      Delete
    2. Ok Gabriele? I know it's possible on other forums can you verify that KittedBiggles and myself are not the same person? So Mr Anonymous can stop with his strawman argument? Thanks.

      The point, I am making to you backed up by testimony presented in an open forum to members of the Royal Instition of Naval Architects (by members of the MOD Director Naval Architecture & Future Projects and in one case Platform Design Director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance).

      Is that over many years before main gate several CVF designs were considered CTOL, STOBAR, STOVL with small carriers, medium sized carriers and 'super carriers', SLEP of our existing through deck carriers. Many were rejected on cost grounds.

      I asked you before are you calling them liars? A simple yes or no answer will do, please?

      The resultant CVF delta design satisfies the Key User Requirements set out by the MOD. This should never have been messed with in the 2010 SDSR all it has done is cause delay and a big waste of money.

      The combination of the carriers and aircraft provides us with a swing role supersonic strike aircraft that has a longer range than the F18E/F and can carry the same amount of ordinance. It is a true fifth generation stealth airplane. It meets our requirements and our already delayed IOC.

      Did you know the F35B has already undergone sea based testing on the USS Wasp, The marines are hitting for F35B IOC this year. The F35C currently can not trap the arrestor cable reliably necessitating a design change to the hook that won't be tested on a carrier until next year, if the change does not work the F35C is in for a lot of design rework.

      Delete
    3. Haven't been here for a few days and come back to see this waffle. Whoever you are 'Anonymous' you seriously, seriously need to get a life!!! Gabrielle, we've spoken via the forum before, I think I was in here long before eaglemmoomin. And eaglemmoomin, trolls are all over the shop, just a pity they drag things down!!

      Cheers

      Delete
    4. No worries Kittedbiggles I just wanted him to answer my question whether he was calling S Knight and J Eddison liars and all I got were insults and strawman arguments.

      Delete
  14. Yes, we could have just delayed the carriers even more years built three nuclear carriers and put EMALS in and bought F35C but it would have cost a damn sight more than what we are paying now. I know its not apple to apples but the USA will be paying 42 billion dollars for three carriers, let alone the air group.

    Or we could have fitted steam boilers to the CVF and steam catapults (in an electric drive ship, like that was going to happen).

    Neither of things happened due to cost just look at the original Alpha design thats pretty impressive (and still not CTOL) and we rejected it due to cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yet more rambling without actually looking at the situation as a whole.

      Delete
  15. Good post about aircraft that make easy in traveling to long distance.. keep posting more and thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  16. So Britain not only got suckered into staying with a Jump Jet and ski ramp by the Americans. The firm responsible for the assessment of costs for converting the flat tops to Cat & Traps two biggest clients are Lockheed-Martin and the USMC. Without the British buy of F-35Bs the unit cost of each aircraft rises so much that the USMC cannot afford them.
    Now the previous shortcomings in AEW coverage will be even more exposed. Helicopter-borne radar does not provide the altitude, range and most importantly endurance for effective fleet coverage.
    The V-22 looks good, but it appears that most people on this blog only read Bell Helicopters press releases about the Osprey. In USMC and USAF use the Osprey performs only marginally. Range is 25-30% less than advertised. It is hard to fly, requiring high pilot input which has lead to the USMC limiting mission profiles by hours. Currently both the MV-22 and CV-22 are costing 7 and 5 times more to maintain than expected. Spare parts from Bell have been a nightmare, leading to availability rates of less than 50% in Afghanistan operations. On a carrier the logistics and maintenance footprint would be very large for just 2-3 aircraft.
    Modern AESA radar systems are a fraction of the size of older radars. What to put a new system on?
    You've got no CATs, no arresting gear, and no angled deck.
    Boeing is offering new build OV-10 to the USAF COIN aircraft contract. 21st century all glass pressurized cockpit, uprated engines, and modern digital systems. The OV-10X carries a 3,200lbs max cargo load. North American proposed a OV-10T wide body with a 4,500 practical payload.
    Why do I propose the Bronco? Because I've landed Broncos on the USS Saratoga, Kitty Hawk, Guam and others. On Kittyhawk with 20 knots across the deck and a 85knot approach we landed in 130 feet. On the Guam, with the ship stationary we are wheels up in 480Ft. Put the Vigilance pod on a unarmed modern OV-10T and you have 450KPH cruise, 8000 meters altitude and 8 hours of all weather endurance and you solve your COD problem also, with an very simple aircraft that cost little to operate and takes up less than half the shipboard space of the V-22.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting post about aircraft. I love the structure and everything on it. By the way I learn so many things and thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Posted by Eldritch Warships1

    some good news at last
    Public Expenditure

    Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department plans to use the £1.8 billion underspend in its 2012-13 budget. [171180]

    Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 17 October 2013]: The funding carried forward from financial years 2012-13 to 2013-14 and 2014-15 will be used to fund a range of military capabilities, including bringing Urgent Operational Requirements from Afghanistan into the core programme, Future Force 2020 priorities such as bringing Crowsnest into service earlier than previously planned, and the significant investment we are making in cyber.

    Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which categories of expenditure the £1.8 billion underspend in his Department's 2012-13 budget had originally been allocated. [171181]

    Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 17 October 2013]: The breakdown of the Department's underspend in financial year 2012-13 is available in the Ministry of Defence's Annual Report and Accounts for that year, which can be found at:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mod-annual-report-and-accounts-201213

    This was published in July 2013.



    NB:- Taken from Parliamentary written answers Fri 18th Oct.

    http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/23987/Crowsnest-update#.UmVHpfk_urE

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know lets build two superb new big deck aircraft carriers and limit them to small deck aircraft operations. Better still lets make sure our fleet of small deck aircraft is not big enough to deploy on them! Doh! Where do we get them from!!!

    ReplyDelete

Everybody can comment on this blog without needing a Blogger account. It is meant to keep the discussion free and open to everyone. Unfortunately, anonymous accounts keep the door open for spammers and trolls, so i'm forced to moderate comments and approve them before they appear. Apologies for the inconvenience.