Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 24th Jun 2018, 09:37
  #5101 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: London
Posts: 7,072
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Why? You have never seem to have shied away from having a go on open Forum
Too true!!! But I try & avoid personal mud slinging or insults (whatever I mutter under my breath)
Heathrow Harry is offline  
Old 25th Jun 2018, 21:26
  #5102 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 793
Originally Posted by George K Lee View Post
WEBF - One could probably state that the genesis for the QE ships was the very rapid evolution in US combat aircraft plans post-Cold War and post-Desert Storm, including the demise of A-12, the invention of all-service STOVL/CTOL/CV fighter concepts by DARPA, Lockheed, Macs and Boeing, and the early-1993 binning of A-X and MRF.

The subsequent emergence of JAST/JSF magically "solved" the Marine/RN problem, which was not just the difficulty of defining a supersonic STOVL Harrier replacement, but the fact that funding such a thing was hard to justify in the Cold War and almost unthinkable after it. I don't think anyone would have been very excited about building new carriers to operate a Harrier III.

Of course, it was purely an accounting gimmick and not a real solution. Developing a stealthy STOVL fighter (including a monster engine you didn't otherwise need) was always going to cost a ****ton of money, but if you rolled that in with the CVs and CTOLs and projected you'd build 4000+ units, the program acquisition unit cost - (R&D + Production)/Units - didn't look ludicrous. Basically, most of the STOVL cost ended up on the USAF and CV Navy tab, which I suppose that (if you are RN or USMC) is as close to an economic miracle as you can get.
George,

I'd like, if I might, to offer a couple of observations on your post. Others might find them of some interest. (or probably not).

Yes, 'one could probably state' all sorts of theories about the genesis of the QE class. The QE class were approved in 1998 by the then UK Labour government. Studies into large carriers were certainly underway in the UK in the late 80s and the early to mid 90s. I'm not sure that you can reliably link the genesis of the QE class to the demise of a US programme in 1993. Where I would (sort of) agree is that by 1995, in large part thanks to the efforts of certain RN officers located in the US, the UK was well aware of what was going on in the US with regard to JSF.

A supersonic STOVL Harrier replacement was certainly defined - I know the guy who wrote the original Naval Staff Target - as to how hard it was, I can't comment. I would wholeheartedly agree that developing an all new aircraft to meet a probable buy of around 65 aircraft for the RN was always going to be a non-starter. By 1995, STOVL JSF was most certainly the 'front runner'. mainly driven by the UK's desire to use its STOVL expertise as a lever to get the best possible deal from the US. (That actually worked to an extent, as it was the reason the UK got its 'Tier 1' status)

However, the 'CVF' Requirements document took some pains to keep STOVL and CV options open from the start, with F/A-18, Rafale and even a non-existent 'navalised Typhoon' listed as possible aircraft.

I do have to gently demur from your assertion that the JSF programme was an 'accounting gimmick'. As I've previously posted, the US DoD made a deliberate decision to push the USAF and USN to adopt a single seat, single engined design solution to their next generation tactical aircraft needs. STOVL made an excellent lever to achieve this, as the technology to make a twin engined STOVL aircraft (I mean here an aircraft with two main propulsion engines, like an F/A-18 or an F-15) din't exist then, and doesn't exist now. The reason that they did this was the massive and costly failures of a number of tactical aircraft programmes over the preceding decade or so (e.g. A-12, ATF, NATF, etc). The common thread that the DoD staff identified was that large (heavy) twin seat twin engined aircraft are always expensive. And the F-22 programme was busy proving the point, even with a single seat. At this range (remember they were having to do this stuff in the early to mid 90s), their logic is understandable. As I've often posted, it's easy to criticise future planning staffs when you have 20/20 (years) hindsight. Their jobs are often terrifyingly hard. What I do know is that, at the time, cost projections for a set of 'next generation' large tactical aircraft to meet USAF, USN and USMC requirements were eye-wateringly high.

Again, as I've posted a number of times, it's clear that the JSF (then F-35) hasn't delivered the cost advantages the DoD sought all those years ago. Reasons why? Many, but my list would include (in approximate chronological order):

1. Underestimates of levels of technical risk, especially in the areas of electrical flying controls and integrated power packs
2. Over optimistic plans - good old optimism bias, common on both sides of the Atlantic. Anyone remember the original ISD for 'Eurofighter'?
3. Failure by LM and the JPO to carry out adequate requirements development after contract award - the top level requirements document (the JORD) was, in my view, pretty good, but LM failed completely to properly decompose those requirements into the comprehensive and detailed set required to drive the design.
4. Failure by LM to control the weight of the aircraft. This was especially difficult to understand, given the fact that the main KPP for the STOVL aircraft explicitly required a light airframe. They got it so wrong that the F-35A and C were also horribly overweight. Putting this right delayed the programme by around 15 months all by itself.
5. Failure (again my LM and JPO) to adequately control and manage the mission systems development. This was compounded by the lack of requirements decomposition (see 2 above) and led to huge rewrites of initial software loads. The situation was compounded by the decision not to build a second mission systems integration rig. The single rig has not been able to provide enough run time to test and clear software in the timescales required.

There are others, but that's my stab - I know others will be able to do better.

The people I know who are working the programme (experienced professionals, and not 'fanboys') are more than happy at the aircrafts' capabilities and performance. They are busy working out the best ways to exploit this capability from the ship, and deliver it reliably and effectively under all conditions. For what little it's worth, they have my vote.

Best Regards as ever to all those doing the long days and nights' work to take UK Naval Aviation into the future,

Engines

Last edited by Engines; 26th Jun 2018 at 11:29.
Engines is offline  
Old 26th Jun 2018, 11:42
  #5103 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Portsmouth
Posts: 82
Can only echo Engines' fine post and add that the CVSG(R), CV(R) and CV(F) requirement definition work was all aircraft-agnostic, in that it was not centred around STOVL JSF (or SSF, CALF or other predecessors). While the advantages of the JSF programme in terms of exploiting UK STOVL were acknowledged and it was assumed up until the late 90s that STOVL = smaller, cheaper ship, CTOL and STOBAR options (and variants thereof) were treated as equally valid.
Not_a_boffin is offline  
Old 26th Jun 2018, 15:43
  #5104 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 763
Some excellent posts above thank you. I do have a concern, most here seem to think in military terms about projects and accept they take years and along the way are bound to meet problems for a variety of reasons outlined above. Politicians do not think along those time scales and the impression I get is that taxpayers/voters and politicians are losing confidence in the whole idea or way in which the UK hopes to project power and influence.

Many are deeply suspicious of military adventures abroad, do not want to see anymore personnel coming home in a box and are weary of project cost overruns for systems which are viewed as unnecessary or anachronistic. While much of this is directed at Trident, the Carriers and the F35 are perhaps a close second and the comments directed at the MOD this week by the PM suggest she is rather angry or exasperated about demands for more money.
Bigpants is offline  
Old 26th Jun 2018, 16:38
  #5105 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 1,292
Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
Can only echo Engines' fine post and add that the CVSG(R), CV(R) and CV(F) requirement definition work was all aircraft-agnostic, in that it was not centred around STOVL JSF (or SSF, CALF or other predecessors).
Indeed, one published RN study for a future aircraft carrier in the late 90s had FA-18E/F and E-2C 'boxes' marked on the hangar plan. Regarding a navalised Typhoon, there was a minor effort by BAE to promote such a thing, including a STOLVL variant, and there was another attempt to sell the same idea to India more recently

It's interesting to note that as early as 1997, it was being rep[orted that the RN's preference was the STOVL version of what was then JSF

https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarch...0-%200800.html
Davef68 is offline  
Old 26th Jun 2018, 17:03
  #5106 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Portsmouth
Posts: 82
Ah that brings back memories. RTR Phillips and Malcolm Bird. That article dates from early 97 at a guess, when DNA&FP thought the 40 aircraft ship was a 40000 tonner powered by WR21 (lucky escape!). At that time, people still thought a STOVL ship would be significantly smaller than a CTOL ship -one of the main reasons for the assumed "preference" for STOVL.

It predates the phase in 99-2000 where the deck management aspects were first properly considered, which identified that as you ran more sorties with more realistic packages and flypros, the size driver ceased to be aircraft launch and recovery mode and tended towards deck park size. An effect compounded when you looked at minimising deck moves between launch and recovery events, which means you don't need as many chockheads. It included quite a bit of work/cross-pol with the NavAir chaps at Lakehurst.
Not_a_boffin is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2018, 14:49
  #5107 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Devon
Posts: 2,510
This week, training and preparations have continued with Exercise Crimson Flag, with RN helicopters testing their ability to counter submarine and surface threats, as well as a 736 NAS Hawk playing the part of a F-35B in countering an air threat, directed by the venerable Sea King ASACS (doing what will soon be the Crowsnest) role:


As for day four:


Wildcat were tasked to defeat small vessels attacking @HMSStAlbans under the control of a Sea King helicopter, who was also controlling a Hawk simulating an F-35. Such sorties will be used to develop Task Group protection tactics.

Task Group protection - the carrier protects the entire task force as part of a defence in depth approach. Some seem to think a carrier only protects herself - WRONG.
WE Branch Fanatic is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2018, 22:14
  #5108 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,995
Are you seriously suggesting that the F-35's role is to provide CAPs for a task force?

Short legs, no AAR, limited AEW and low aircraft numbers make an uncomfortable 24 hour defensive capability for a UK TF. The USN can do it but our capability falls considerably short of the mark.

The UK's vision is for carrier-enabled strike - aka floating airfield. It requires other ships to provide defence for it. Using an F-35 to provide defence against small boats is equally questionable.
Just This Once... is online now  
Old 1st Jul 2018, 09:11
  #5109 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: London
Posts: 7,072
Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that the F-35's role is to provide CAPs for a task force?

Short legs, no AAR, limited AEW and low aircraft numbers make an uncomfortable 24 hour defensive capability for a UK TF. The USN can do it but our capability falls considerably short of the mark.

The UK's vision is for carrier-enabled strike - aka floating airfield. It requires other ships to provide defence for it. Using an F-35 to provide defence against small boats is equally questionable.
That's the problem - once they are out there do you expect the SO in charge of the Carrier Group to sacrifice CAP cover, however limited, over strike? It's a multi Bn quid ship, named after the Head of State and Flagship of the Navy..... They will totally prioritise its defence at the cost of anything & everything else

PS I'm not a fan of the Carriers but even so they cost around 7 Bn to build and have 1600 crew on board - that's a lot to risk without ensuring they are kept reasonably out of harms way in normal ops... Think of the Falklands and "Burma Star" Woodward.... and he had TWO platforms

Last edited by Heathrow Harry; 1st Jul 2018 at 09:56.
Heathrow Harry is offline  
Old 1st Jul 2018, 17:30
  #5110 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Hampshire
Age: 73
Posts: 820
I wonder how much of the cost of these carriers includes a religious element?
Watching HMS Queen Elizabeth returning to Portsmouth recently, I was struck by this apparition at the leading edge of the ski jump:
Ship Photos, Container ships, tankers, cruise ships, bulkers, tugs etc
And a close up of the same bloke:
Ship Photos, Container ships, tankers, cruise ships, bulkers, tugs etc
I couldn't figure out if he was a vicar or a mullah!
KelvinD is online now  
Old 1st Jul 2018, 18:58
  #5111 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 77
Posts: 16,745
I see that improvements are to be made to the F35a to encourage the UK to consider buying it.

With 48 B on order and further buy being questioned might the UK opt for a type split?
Pontius Navigator is offline  
Old 1st Jul 2018, 20:48
  #5112 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: London, New York, Paris, Moscow.
Posts: 3,631
Originally Posted by KelvinD View Post
I wonder how much of the cost of these carriers includes a religious element?
Watching HMS Queen Elizabeth returning to Portsmouth recently, I was struck by this apparition at the leading edge of the ski jump:
Ship Photos, Container ships, tankers, cruise ships, bulkers, tugs etc
And a close up of the same bloke:
Ship Photos, Container ships, tankers, cruise ships, bulkers, tugs etc
I couldn't figure out if he was a vicar or a mullah!
lol maybe he can "ward off" BrahMos by getting his dick out?

Seems to be a recurring theme amongst fanboys when confronted by the salient facts!

Carry On!!

Last edited by glad rag; 1st Jul 2018 at 21:05. Reason: that's actually only partially tongue in cheek !!
glad rag is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 07:36
  #5113 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: In front of a computer
Posts: 2,032
Looking forward to the Royal Navy's version of this video from China.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9MbRjbKWj4&feature=youtu.be

Love the "Doctor Evil" style minions deck crew ranked in colour order.

PS Why no film of the J-15s landing on?
ETOPS is online now  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 08:31
  #5114 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Devon
Posts: 2,510
Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Are you seriously suggesting that the F-35's role is to provide CAPs for a task force?

Short legs, no AAR, limited AEW and low aircraft numbers make an uncomfortable 24 hour defensive capability for a UK TF. The USN can do it but our capability falls considerably short of the mark.

The UK's vision is for carrier-enabled strike - aka floating airfield. It requires other ships to provide defence for it. Using an F-35 to provide defence against small boats is equally questionable.


I am suggesting the role of carrierborne F-35Bs will depend on the situation, the threat level, what other joint and coalition assets are available, what other priorities exist, and so on. Are you saying no carrierborne F-35B will fly a air defence sortie? Ever? Really? For once we have a truly multirole aircraft. I think the role of the F-35B and other aircraft may well vary from day to day.

Short legs? Compared to what - certainly it has longer legs than previous RN aircraft. Surely the point about air defence is the enemy aircraft come to you? No AAR? Although the new unmanned thing might be different, traditionally carrier aircraft have been refueled by land based tankers, with carrier based aircraft providing fuel for aircraft that miss the wire and need to go around again. Limited AEW? The most important thing is to detect low fliers, which a radar x thousand above sea level can do, we will also have RAF AWACS support in most cases. Low aircraft numbers? Everything I have seen has suggested a figure of 24 jets as routine, and a maximum number of 36, in addition to a full complement of Merlins. Someone else can do the arithmetic.

Naval/maritime task groups need air defence - by aircraft, otherwise the attacker has the advantage of being able to fire anti ship missiles at range, being able to stay just outside of missile range and cause problems, or threatening helicopter operations. There is such a thing as defence in depth.

Last time I looked the term was Carrier Enabled Power Projection and that includes more than just flying strike missions, it includes other task group activities such as amphibious operations, long range Anti Submarine Warfare, and others. It might even include protecting seaborne logistics for Army or RAF operations.

Who mentioned using the F-35B against small boats?

Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry
That's the problem - once they are out there do you expect the SO in charge of the Carrier Group to sacrifice CAP cover, however limited, over strike? It's a multi Bn quid ship, named after the Head of State and Flagship of the Navy..... They will totally prioritise its defence at the cost of anything & everything else

PS I'm not a fan of the Carriers but even so they cost around 7 Bn to build and have 1600 crew on board - that's a lot to risk without ensuring they are kept reasonably out of harms way in normal ops... Think of the Falklands and "Burma Star" Woodward.... and he had TWO platforms
Do you ever think the level of defence will be dictated by the threat level on a given day, what other assets are in theatre, and so on. What if the priority that day is something other than the ground attack sortie rate?

Your comment about Woodward is contemptible. Remind me - did we win that war?

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 2nd Jul 2018 at 08:57.
WE Branch Fanatic is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 09:26
  #5115 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: London
Posts: 7,072
WEBF
I was actually agreeing with you more or less. On the day a judgement has to be made as to relative threats and targets and I'm sure the F35 force will fly quite a lot of CAP in some areas.

Woodward? He was criticised at the time and since for staying well east of the FI............
Heathrow Harry is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 11:08
  #5116 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Aylesbury
Age: 55
Posts: 378
Damn right, the defence of the carrier itself will be at the top of the priority list. Anyone who seriously thinks otherwise needs their bumps felt. There is no way that the current generation of political and military leadership are going to let that thing even remotely close to Air To Surface missile range of anything. During Corporate, Woodward had damn good reason to keep the carriers as far out of the way as he could.

Cant help but think that there are some of the True Believers, who are so determined for this particular solution to succeed in everything they project onto it, despite questions and shortcomings at many levels being raised by the rest of us heretics; But of course, if the day ever comes that they end up picking bits of it up off the ocean floor because of an unforseen/unexpected calamity, the temptation to say "we told you so" might be hard to suppress.

For what its worth, I cant help but feel this entire carrier project from inception to delivery has been a Pork Barrel triumph of industrial strategy over strategic requirements and defence requirements.... but what the hell do I know...?
Jabba_TG12 is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 18:14
  #5117 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 793
Perhaps I could offer some thoughts that might help this thread.

One of the main things any carrier borne air group has to do is to react to changing circumstances. These will change as the ship changes its' position, as events change around it (and its task group) and as the opponent does their thing. If you look at almost any air group on larger carriers, you would see a variety of roles and capabilities. And beyond that, air groups are often 'tailored' or adapted to meet the needs of a deployment. Even on smaller carriers like the 'Invincible' class, the ability of aircraft to launch in a 'swing role' configuration gave them the ability (albeit limited) to offer a range of capabilities to the theatre commanders at short notice.

So, I'd suggest that any deployed F-35B wing will be required to carry out a range of jobs as the circumstances demand. I'd suggest that the obvious ones would be offensive strike missions, counter-air missions, either over the fleet or over the strike battle space, and what us old guys would call 'reconnaissance' - finding out what's going on further out from the fleet. It won't be 'only strike' or 'only CAP'. These are 'just an old retired guy's suggestions, probably couched in the wrong terminology. I apologise for that. I hope I don't come across as a 'True Believer'.

It's worth repeating that no carrier has been successfully attacked, damaged or sunk since WW2. One reason is that using Air to Surface (Air to Sea?) missiles is not that straightforward when you have to find the damn thing first. Then you meed a missile that can get a lock on a moving target. Getting through the outer defences of a modern Task Group isn't exactly a walk in the park either. Those destroyer have some very serious missiles. I'm not saying for one moment that it can't be done, or it won't be done. But whichever way you look at it hitting a land base has to be easier. Yes, I know, you can launch from bases that are (hopefully) well out of harms' way (darn those longer range missiles, eh?)- but then you end up burning hundreds of hours flight time to get limited time over target. Might work politically (seen to be 'contributing' etc.) but militarily not so effective. getting closer to the target without the need for Host Nation Support (which has, time and time again, been denied ) has to be a plus, in my view. The original SDR98 is still available on line. It's not the worst bit of reasoning I've seen.( But then, I'm probably just a 'True Believer').

One final thing. Carriers are not floating airfields. Yes, I know even some senior dark blue types use the phrase, but it's not true, accurate, or useful. Generating 'air power' from a deck (whatever the size) in bad weather, at night, demands a particular skill set, a fully worked up ship, and aviators with a particular set of attitudes and assumptions, plus a grim determination to make it work. Fortunately, the UK has a good track record of doing that.

Best Regards as ever to the new wave of naval aviators, of all uniform colours and all aircraft types -

Engines
Engines is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2018, 19:14
  #5118 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: UK
Posts: 1,785
Oh Dear!
Looks like the USA are getting worried about the UK defence budget. According to BBC, Gen Mattis has briefed concern that the UK will not be a good partner to the USA unless our defence budget is increased. Sounds like our credit just ran out?

OAP
Onceapilot is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2018, 00:19
  #5119 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Far West Wessex
Posts: 2,551
"It's worth repeating that no carrier has been successfully attacked, damaged or sunk since WW2."

Or, to quote the Army-Navy football game program from November 29, 1941...

LowObservable is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2018, 08:54
  #5120 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Devon
Posts: 2,510
HH

Who was it who criticised Woodward? Ignorant fools like Max Hastings?

Woodward conserved the fighting power of his two carriers and aircraft until the real battle he knew was coming - the landings in the face of determined air attacks. This was the critical part of the campaign, so doing so was prudent, considering the limitations the task group faced such as having no AEW, Sea Harrier with limited radar and fuel/weapon loads, Type 42 destroyers with old radars (and Argentina had T42s and could practice lobe pecking), only two Sea Wolf armed frigates being part of the task group, no CIWS.... What sense would it have made to risk losing the war being the amphibious group was there to put the troops ashore?

When the landing came, the carriers moved inshore and both Type 22s escorted the troop carriers into San Carlos water. Hermes had ventured close to the islands to support the SAS raid on Pebble Island before then, Invincible had been to the east of the islands on a special mission. Accusing Woodward or his ships' companies of lacking courage or whatever is not on.

Not only did he know about countering the threat from the Belgrano, he was also able to deal with the submarine threat, and fend off the air threat and conserve his ships and aircraft for the landings, during with the Argentines lost something like fifty aircraft in a few days, which broke their back as a fighting force. He also had to conserve ships and aircraft to support the troops after the landings. We won - remember!

Jabba

What about amphibious forces and the like? Will they be allowed near Air to Surface Missile range? Do you think a task group is better or worse defended with a carrier against air, submarine, and surface threats? Please explain you answer.

Engines

Thanks for that - I cannot understand why people struggle with that.

On other forums (fora?) when carrier topics have cropped up those who have worn dark blue and served in any kind of warship seem to have an understanding of all the parts of ship involved in aviation. An awful lot of sailors play very key roles in making it happen, in different departments aboard the carrier.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 3rd Jul 2018 at 09:09.
WE Branch Fanatic is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.