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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 4th Oct 2019, 08:08
  #5641 (permalink)  
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One of the roles of a carrier is providing task group ASW with multiple ASW helicopters:

The pictures show the frigate working with the aircraft from the carrier.
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 12:52
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She can certainly change direction........


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Old 13th Oct 2019, 20:54
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First UK F-35Bs aboard HMS QE during 'WESTLANT 19'...

First UK F-35s aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth

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Old 14th Oct 2019, 09:47
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An excellent set of images in this Twitter thread:

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Old 14th Oct 2019, 18:19
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Originally Posted by Rhino power View Post


Nice one Centurions...

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Old 15th Oct 2019, 01:47
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Videos here:

Ship Engineering Control 00:48 / Automated Weapon Handling System 00:56

RN Video

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Old 16th Oct 2019, 18:42
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Old 17th Oct 2019, 06:24
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”.....Meanwhile, the UK is beginning to consider how it can further the capability of the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers using the unmanned capabilities being developed for the UK’s Future Combat Air System. “The planned service life of 50 years will naturally require us to embrace autonomy, technological innovation and maturation of remotely piloted systems, including those from within our future combat air strategy,” said Connell.

“The intent is to affordably complement our manned strike fighters and rotary-wing assets and make them more effective and lethal,” said Royal Marines Col. Phillip Kelly, chief of staff for UK CEPP, also at DSEI.

He said the first priority for any future carrier-borne UAV will be the provision of aerial refueling—similar to the U.S. Navy’s need for the MQ-25 unmanned refueling platform—extending the range of the F-35 but also supporting the recovery to the ship. Other capabilities foreseen are the ability to carry weapons and sensors, as well as electronic warfare systems to complement them. Other roles could be airborne early warning and even persistent sonobuoy dispensing and monitoring.

Kelly said the Defense Ministry prefers a platform with the same outer mold line to perform all three tasks and reduce the cost of ship-air integration. One solution could be carrier-launched versions of the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft/Mosquito being developed by industry, which aims to provide a reusable but attritable multirole platform at 1/10 the cost of a manned fighter, but also the Royal Air Force’s plans for swarming UAVs to confuse enemy air defenses.......

Conventional fixed-wing platforms are already more than capable of operating from a ship using a ski jump, and UAVs can be rail- or vertically launched if needed, but the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers lack arrestor gear for recovery. Kelly called on industry to consider a high-energy recovery system, rather than parachuting UAVs into the water, while vertical recovery comes with thrust and payload penalties.

“Arrested landing on the carrier allows optimization of the aircraft for range and endurance, as does inflight capture on an escort,” he said.........

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Old 17th Oct 2019, 11:41
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Thanks for an interesting post. There are a couple of points arising from the statement from Col Kelly that I'd like to offer some thoughts on.

1. Apparently he said that: 'Conventional fixed-wing platforms are already more than capable of operating from a ship using a ski jump,..' I don't think they are. A conventional fixed wing aircraft can launch from a ski jump, but only at weights well below normal land based MTOWs. That's because the design basis for most ski jumps (to date) is that the STOVL aircraft they support can use their vectored lift systems to generate an optimal flight profile after ramp exit. They leave the ramp at BELOW flying speed, but at a high positive rate of climb generated by the ramp profile. After ramp exit rate of climb starts to fall, but is still positive. Because they're STOVL aircraft, they set their thrust vector independently of angle of attack to optimise acceleration while ensuring a positive (albeit falling) minimising rate of climb. As speed builds up, wing lift increases, and thrust is vectored further aft. At a known distance out from the ramp, the rate of climb stops falling and starts to increase again. This is known as the 'inflection point', and for a Sea Harrier it was about a kilometre out. Effectively, the ski jump has generated a 'runway in the sky'. This delivers a very significant increase in launch weight. The same happens with the F-35B.

Conventional aircraft can't do this. Their thrust vector is fixed relative to the aircraft axis and when they leave the ramp they have no option but to adopt a high angle of attack to generate as much wing lift as they can, and also get some lift from their (fixed) thrust system. However, that generates very high drag, so more thrust is needed to accelerate the aircraft. The result is a significant reduction in available takeoff weight. I know that some launches from the Chinese and Russian carriers involved the aircraft climbing then descending back towards the sea as they built up airspeed, before climbing away. Pilots tell me that's not an optimal situation. (I'm paraphrasing to remove the more agricultural language most of them used). The Chinese are working on catapult carriers for a reason. It's all about the physics.

2. He said that 'UAVs can be rail or vertically launched'. Well, yes, they can - the usual term is a 'catapult'. These are found on most aircraft carriers, but not on the QE class. Unless he's talking about some smaller system. He is undoubtedly aware that any vertical launch requires a very high thrust/weight ratio to enable the UAV to fly away carrying anything resembling an operational payload. Or a reduced payload. Again, it's all about the physics.

3. Lastly, he refers to the 'LANCA' concept being worked by Dstl and industry as a possible candidate to carry out AAR, weapons delivery, sonobuoy drops, EW missions and even AEW, all with a common outer mould line. Nothing I've seen to date on the LANCA concept looks remotely suited for any of these tasks, especially AAR which involves a hefty payload of fuel. The LANCA teams seem to be looking for a small, fast, smart, cheap air vehicle to accompany F-35s and Typhoons. If they are about one tenth the cost of an F-35, a reasonable first guess is that they would be one tenth the weight. That would make them about 6,000 pounds in weight. Even that would need a hefty catapult, especially if they have small wings for high speeds. The MQ-25 drone for the USN, with AAR as its (current) primary mission, weighs in at lots more than 6,000 points. So does the Kratos XQ-58, which seems to be the USAF's 'Loyal Wingman' concept, and they're not even remotely interesting in ship operations.

If the UK wants to develop a next generation of air systems to operate from the QE class ships, my suggestion (and that's all it is) is that they had better start developing a realistic and achievable set of requirements for them to do that, so that the design can be driven the right way. Going 'shopping' around the RAF's future systems concepts like Tempest and Mosquito (none of which appear to be remotely considering operating from ships) and hoping that they will be able to operate effectively from a ship is, in my opinion, a bit risky.

Best regards as ever to all those smart industry and Dstl people trying to work out what the MoD wants and how to get there,

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Old 25th Oct 2019, 10:10
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HMS Queen Elizabeth

Tune in to BBC2 at 2000 (UK) this Sunday to see the first of the three-part series, 'Britain's Biggest Warship Goes to Sea' by award-winning producer/director @ChrisTerrill. The programme follows us during first of class flight trials with F-35B during #WESTLANT18 #QNLZatSea

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Old 25th Oct 2019, 15:05
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I am curious: when hovering, the F35 has a large almost vertical panel projecting from the top of the aircraft. This is presumably open to uncover the vertical air intakes , and is closed in fast horizontal flight. In the above videos I note that it also remains open as the F35 takes off from the 'ski jump', as the aircraft has to use downward vectored thrust. However, the extended panel must also produce enormous drag at a time when rapid acceleration was most needed. At what speed is this retracted? The force of the air on the panel must also be considerable by this time.
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Old 26th Oct 2019, 10:25
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Happy to help explain here.

The F-35B's powered lift system has two 'propulsors'. One is the main engine in the rear of the aircraft - it delivers thrust downwards via a swivelling nozzle at the rear of the aircraft. Two large doors open up under the rear of the aircraft to allow that nozzle to swivel down. There are also two doors on top of the aircraft, located just aft of the large 'vertical panel' you described, which open to form an auxiliary air intake for the main engine at zero and low airspeeds, when the normal engine air intakes would not be sufficient.

The 'large vertical panel' is the intake door for the second 'propulsor', which is a shaft driven lift fan mounted vertically just aft of the cockpit. There is a pair of doors under the lift fan, just aft of the nose landing gear doors, through which the lift fan exhaust exits.You're quite correct - the lift fan door does create significant drag, and its opening angle is automatically adjusted from fully open (around 85 degrees by memory) to part open (around 35 degrees) as the speed builds up. And yes, there are significant forces on that door. Design of the door was a huge challenge: the original 'bifold' system used on the X-35 had some serious problems, and a large number of options were looked at before settling on the eventual design. There were also a number of almost invisible but very significant changes to the shape of the lift fan intake lips and duct.

Development of the lift fan, its intake and exhaust system, and the vectoring system for it (a vane box located just under the lift fan) was a tremendous technical challenge. Between the X-35 and the F-35B, the lift fan system was almost totally redesigned, and called on a huge range of technical skills including advanced aerodynamics, propulsion design, software driven flight controls, acoustics, advanced structural design and so on. PPRuNe readers should know that this magnificent effort was led by extraordinarily talented UK engineers. It was my privilege to be able to watch them at work.

Best Regards as ever to all those talented Brit engineers still working hard on the programme,

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Old 26th Oct 2019, 10:36
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Thanks for the description however was the possibility of a powered slide and lift hatch evaluated and what were the design influences that prevented it's integration?

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Old 26th Oct 2019, 21:19
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Thank you, Engines. Fascinating and am gratified that the British experts are so involved. It's amazing that the huge amount of drag that the lift fan door incurs (even at a lower 35 deg angle) is acceptable during such a critical part of the flight envelope, and the force to close it against the airflow must be huge. I assume the there must be very good reasons that it isn't hinged at the forward end of the door?
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Old 26th Oct 2019, 21:44
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Originally Posted by pettinger93 View Post
I assume the there must be very good reasons that it isn't hinged at the forward end of the door?
They want air to go through the lift fan, hinging it at the front isn't going to help with that.
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Old 26th Oct 2019, 21:59
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Also the drag of the door is less than it would appear because suction causes the airflow to curve down into the fan rather than impinge directly on the door. The airspeed scheduling of door angle reflects that phenomenon.
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Old 27th Oct 2019, 00:45
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OC 17 Sqn explaining how the balancing act between the main engine and the lift fan works on the F-35B during take off and landing (in simple terms) and good video of all the various doors:

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Old 27th Oct 2019, 07:44
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Thank you Bing, Easy Street and RAF Eng for the explanation, and the video clip makes it obvious. Its not just a lid, but a scoop as well. Clever stuff.
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Old 27th Oct 2019, 12:15
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Some nuggets to post:

1. Another documentary by Chris Terrill coming up. I expect it will also be on BBC iPlayer.

2. F-35B fully loaded

Loaded on to this state-of-the-art jet from 17 (Test and Evaluation) is the weaponry it would typically carry on a strike mission: 22,000lb of destructive and defensive power.

n this case the ‘bombheads’ on HMS Queen Elizabeth – red-surcout-wearing air engineer technicians – carefully loaded inert Paveway [email protected] bombs and ASRAAM air-to-air missiles (for taking out aerial threats) on to the external pylons and bomb bay.

Fully-loaded, it’s known as “beast mode” by crews because of the firepower it delivers – nearly three times more than a Harrier, and as much as the heaviest payload carried by a WW2 Lancaster bomber (a Grand Slam or ‘earthquake’ bomb.

3. Junglies at the heart of the Carrier Strike Group

During Westlant, off the east coast of the United States, the Commando Merlin pilots and aircrew’s day to day work involves them flying stores around the Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG) warships and ashore, keeping everything ticking over on the mammoth operation.

In the old CVS days - how many sorties by the nine ASW Sea Kings onboard would be utility roles such as HDS or VERTREP? If freed of these tasks, does a squadron of six Merlin HM2 provide the same level of ASW coverage as nine Sea King HAS 5/6 - considering things like the increased range and endurance, and the much more capable radar and sonics?

4. I found this Corbett Paper online - I cannot recall having seen it before:

The interoperability of future UK air power, afloat and ashore: a historical analysis

Points to note:

a. To make carrier aviation viable, the aircraft have to get used to embarking and the carrier has to be up to speed with having jets aboard.

b. V/STOL makes it possible for aircraft not solely dedicated to carry operations to embark.

c. Even a V/STOL aircraft needs to be designed or modified to operate from a ship.

d. Post Falklands, nobody thought of a Joint RN/RAF force until the nineties.

e. The Invincible class carriers were busy in the Adriatic in the early nineties, and later in the late nities and beyond in the Gulf - and RAF Harriers joining the Sea Harriers.

f. The loss of Sea Harrier meant having jets embarked less often, meaning the carriers' personnel lost skills.

g. In 1982 the RAF Harrier GR3 had been able to embark aboard Hermes as she was used to having Sea Harrier aboard and fully up to speed with supporting fixed wing aircraft.

h. Points a to g were ignored by Cameron prior to SDSR 10. The STOVL-CV-STOVL debacle did is no favours and the politics made mitigating the loss of having our own jets on deck a lot harder than it would have been. This is one of the things I highlighted from that article - the embarkation of 1 Sqn with Harrier GR3 aboard HMS Hermes in 1982 and the embarkation of Harrier GR7 in the nineties was only possible as the carrier was fully swept up with having fixed wing aircraft embarked.F-35B was the correct choice, perhaps the only choice given the way the UK intends to operate a joint force and one that is not solely carrier based. It also means no need for catapults or arresting gear, and the manpower needed for them. Theoretical best is often the enemy of good enough AND feasible.

It would be interesting to see a documentary covering all the measures taken to maintain and recover skills, but think it very unlikely - not everything is public. Sometimes there were hints, sometimes one heard rumours and made logical deductions...
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Old 27th Oct 2019, 14:43
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An F-35B with 22,000 pounds of weapons could carry 6,000 pounds of fuel and would have an effective range of ~the other end of the runway, even if 22,000 lb could be carried (with only four stations rated above 1,000 lb, and four of the rest rated for AAMs-only). Enough of this "beast mode" idiocy.
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