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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 28th Apr 2021, 16:09
  #6181 (permalink)  
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Just a few extra thoughts:

1. Ten Crowsnest kits being ordered. We are not going to be operating them all at once, but I think that some see the kits as a one for one replacement for the Sea King 7.

2. All the Merlin HM2s are having the modifications to carry the kit. Does that help explain why 820 NAS is not taking nine aircraft?

3. As this Italian guy notes, the Merlin was designed to have modular system so that rapid reconfiguration is possible:

Without disembarking the consoles (but disembarking the sonobuoys launchers) and with full four men crew, the Merlin HM1 can lift a 3400 kg payload, or carry 8 stretchers plus paramedic personnel. It can carry ten equipped soldiers, and with a L118 Light Gun under slung at the cargo hook it can stay in the air for a good hour, deploying the gun up to 100 km away from the ship. Up to 16 men can be carried in transfer flights. Disembarking the dipping sonar to free up cabin space when ASW is not a priority, 8 seats plus a rack of 4 stretchers can be fitted.

4. He also states that the carriers normally carried six Merlins, alongside a flight of three ASaCs Sea Kings, Sea Harriers (until March 2006) and Harrier GR7/9s (until late 2010), and a utility/ SAR Sea King from 810/771.

Normally, when a flight of six Merlins deploy on a UK carrier, it comes from this squadron, which is probably the most active ASW unit of the whole fleet.

5. Why six ASW cabs? The Merlin replaced the Sea King in the ASW role, and the CVS took squadrons of nine to provide two aircraft on station around the clock, plus SAR and utility roles. If we consider that one of those Sea Kings would have been doing utility roles of parked near the ramp on SAR standby, can six Merlins provide as much time on station as eight Sea Kings?

For Merlin - On an anti-submarine warfare active dipping mission over a radius of operation of 50 nautical miles, there is sufficient fuel in the internal fuel tanks to provide 190 minutes on station with a 20-minute fuel reserve. Fully armed on an anti-submarine warfare passive sonobouy mission, the helicopter time on station is 210 minutes at a radius of operation of 100 nautical miles, and 90 minutes at a radius of operation 200 nautical miles.

How does that compare with its predecessor - and rivals? I became mathematically confused when I tried to use Little's Theorem to work out how many helicopters you need to maintain two aircraft on station, 100 nm from the carrier with a) Merlin with five hour endurance, or b) Sea King with four hour endurance? Perhaps someone clever like can help? Does have 25% more endurance mean that 25% less aircraft are needed for the same coverage, or am I being simplistic, as the the sortie will include the outward transit flight, the time on station, and the return transit. Although Merlin is faster than the Sea King, the transit times will not be much different, so things are not quite as linear as I thought.

If we assume that the transit times are the same, then it does appear linear...

Or are we still planning on a rotary wing force (aboard the carrier) of nine ASW Merlins, plus Crowsnest, plus Junglies?
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Old 28th Apr 2021, 16:37
  #6182 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
Or are we still planning on a rotary wing force (aboard the carrier) of nine ASW Merlins, plus Crowsnest, plus Junglies?
I suspect the "plan" is for however many HM2 the MHF @ Culdrose and HC4 CHF @ VL can generate.
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Old 28th Apr 2021, 18:14
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Originally Posted by Navaleye View Post
I would have thought it would make more sense to put a Merlin on each of the T23s and a Wildcat on the T45s. Interesting that Sea Venom will be carried. I didn't notice they declared IOC.
One wonders what the available numbers of HM2s are. 824 nominally have 8 for training purposes, several are/were involved in Crowsnest D&T, last I heard some are being given the necessary Crowsnest mods and others undergoing normal maintenance. I thought that following their absorbing of 829 the Tigers were the largest Merlin HM.2 unit, so why indeed no Merlin ships flights going along? As part of 42 Commando will be onboard, why no 847 presence or indeed no AH-64s ? (He asked naively - especially with the majority of the latter having gone to Huntsville for parts recovery. )

Four 815 NAS Wildcats will be embarked in HMSs Kent, Richmond, Defender and Diamond. "Bringing Martlet, Sea Venom, M3M, Snipers and Stingray to the strike group to protect HMSQNLZ."
.
Earlier this month HMS Seahawk tweeted a short video for consumption by Joe/Jo Public narrated by 820's SOBS (Baggers) Lt Cdr Phil Clark. I gather they will have a crew of 1P & 2Os like their predecessors.
https://tinyurl.com/j4cae7et
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Old 28th Apr 2021, 22:25
  #6184 (permalink)  
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I am still convinced that we would be able to send more Merlins to sea if we did not need some for the forthcoming flying trials of HMS Prince of Wales, and a number of them were not being modified to be able to take the Crowsnest kit.

Just as well that they have been practising a quick turnaround:


Anyway - Little's theorem is probably not useful for numbers of ASW helicopters as it deals with stationary systems. I have struggled with why only three aircraft were needed to keep an AEW Sea King on station all the time, but nine were needed to keep two ASW cabs on station at all times. Then I reread the link about Exercise Deep Blue.

Throughout the Exercise, the Merlin aircraft were embarked on HMS Illustrious. Aircrews and engineers worked round the clock alongside pilots and aircrew operating on a non-stop ‘sleep-eat-fly-sleep’ rotation to support three aircraft aloft at all times with two on ready status.

If you did away with the ones on alert on deck, you could maintain two on station with six aircraft. I have to say I wonder why you need ones on alert on deck if you have Merlin equipped frigates - what am I missing?

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 28th Apr 2021 at 22:37.
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 20:13
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Will personal be away for over 6 months or will there be a changeover halfway through?
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Old 1st May 2021, 17:22
  #6186 (permalink)  
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CSG21 has started.


SLXOwft/N_a_b

With respect to the Merlin HM2 - I believe that the whole fleet is undergoing modifications at Yeovil, which will take a few away from the ready fleet, and HMS Prince Of Wales put to sea yesterday. Does she needs to embark some for whatever trials and training that she will being doing? As for 847 and Junglies in general, we are sending an amphibious force on NATO operations - so I espect that they will take a few Cabs. Maybe even some frigate borne Merlin HM2s?


dctyke

Ships' companies do not changeover on this type of deployment.
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Old 1st May 2021, 17:52
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I think he means the 617 pers....
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Old 1st May 2021, 19:11
  #6188 (permalink)  
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Remember that 617 is jointly RN and RAF - including the CO/XO roles.

This (news from September 2020) suggests that six dedicated ASW cabs will be the norm:


The RN website has a news page on her forthcoming exercise: Carrier Strike Group prepares for final test

The exercise, which will run for two weeks, will see the task group pitted against warships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 in waters off north-west Scotland to prove it is capable of undertaking high intensity operations against the most demanding adversaries.

In other words, an opposing force of fully armed surface warships, and submarines (quiet NATO SSKs), and aircraft. It will not be the last contribution to NATO made by the CSG in the next few weeks and months.

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 2nd May 2021 at 12:00.
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Old 2nd May 2021, 09:56
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WEBF,

The current CO is jointly RAF and RN?

What does that mean?

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Old 2nd May 2021, 12:08
  #6190 (permalink)  
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Post amended. I meant that each squadron will have both dark blue and light blue personnel in senior roles. The current boss of 617 Sqn is RN, the future CO of 809 NAS could be RAF. Likewise does it matter if a repair was overseen by PO Bloggs or Sgt Bloggs?


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Old 2nd May 2021, 12:20
  #6191 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
Post amended. I meant that each squadron will have both dark blue and light blue personnel in senior roles. The current boss of 617 Sqn is RN, the future CO of 809 NAS could be RAF. Likewise does it matter if a repair was overseen by PO Bloggs or Sgt Bloggs?
Out of interest, do embarked Squadron personnel concentrate on servicing/maintenance of aircraft with deck operations handled by the ship's crew, or is it more mixed?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 07:19
  #6192 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
Post amended. I meant that each squadron will have both dark blue and light blue personnel in senior roles. The current boss of 617 Sqn is RN, the future CO of 809 NAS could be RAF. Likewise does it matter if a repair was overseen by PO Bloggs or Sgt Bloggs?
PO Bloggs wont be bothered as he knew what he was in for when he signed on the dotted line. It might matter to Sgt Bloggs after over six months away at sea.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 08:20
  #6193 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by dctyke View Post
PO Bloggs wont be bothered as he knew what he was in for when he signed on the dotted line. It might matter to Sgt Bloggs after over six months away at sea.
I know it's not quite what you mean but at the F308 Offer of Service Interview the airman is told and signs to acknowledge that they may be required to serve alongside the Army or at Sea with the Navy....
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Old 4th May 2021, 12:25
  #6194 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
....... If you did away with the ones on alert on deck, you could maintain two on station with six aircraft. I have to say I wonder why you need ones on alert on deck if you have Merlin equipped frigates - what am I missing?
Hiya WEBF, always good to see your interest in such matters!

You asked if you were missing something as your figures for SK vs Merlin weren't adding up. I think, in some of your analysis, you may not be making correct assumptions which is why your figures don't add up or seem not to make sense to you. In reality, it was all a bit more fluid. Now, where's a PWO(U) and a PWO(A) when you need them!!! I'll give this a go but my memory is, shall we say, a bit iffy!

Based on my time back in CVS SK days, the ASW Screen was based on 4 hour sorties designed to operate a long-term screen against a target difficult to locate (very little other Intel to assist you/provide early warning) and then track/destroy so the idea would be to maintain a continuous 24/7 barrier up-threat supplemented by Towed Array (T/A) and, also, other ASW helos which would only, if available, really jump in to help with a kill if something was detected. That could be a SK from an RFA or even a Lynx (or Wasp!) acting as a weapons carrier. The T/A sort of served as an "Early Warning" system. A SK on an RFA or wherever could also be tasked to perhaps extend the screen but that was independent - the main barrier was run by the CVS Sqdn alone using 3 cabs as the core Screen system.

Sometimes there was only one "on task" at any one time with one out-bound and one in-bound with, maybe, some overlap at handovers. With a buoy screen you could manage that. Other times there were 2 on task the whole time, with one always in transit to/from the CVS. You really did need 2 on task for active "pinging". So it all depended on how far out the screen was and what was happening etc, etc, etc. We could plod along Ripple-Three Double-Bubble (R-T D-B) for a couple of weeks if needed - tho it was knackering for all inc us Engineers.

The plan was a crew did a double 4 hr rotation .... out - back - RR refuel - out - back - crew change - out ....... etc, etc, etc. Your "alert on deck" generally was for 2nd SAR (as it was mutual SAR between the 3 in the ripple) and to then slot in to the R-T D-B when servicing became due on an A/C in the screen or an A/C went U/S on the Screen. Sometimes we had spares up the ying-yang ...... other times it was more "interesting" shall we say! Other lines were then generated from the additional "S" Cabs for HDS or whatever else was thrown our way but your 3 + a spare we tried not to touch! And you only ever shut down a SK when you really had to - they were happiest just chugging along.

The Baggers never, certainly in my memory, ever did anything approaching that. Why? I think its because ASW is very different to AAW. Certainly in the North Atlantic (main Op area at that time), you would get initial threat warnings for a land-based air strike from friendly nations or maybe a Frigate way out "up threat". So, effectively, you'd run a CAP for very much shorter durations (measured in hours not days) once an initial alarm had been raised. Your Sub threat is much more persistent and difficult to track once the boats were in the Atlantic where they could sit for weeks on end - hence the continuous screen - basically to cover a N Atlantic crossing. Also, operating at greater altitude, the Bags operated closer to the CVS IIR. I know positioning was based on some odd tactical constraints which often meant a Bag would be located in a seemingly odd position. I'll not discuss why here!

Also, there are other reasons why the SK and Merlin read-across may not work exactly. I don't have reliability figures but the Merlin-generation technology should (one hopes as that was the plan!!!!) be more reliable than the poor old SK so you need fewer assets to maintain a given Flypro. It could, as several have alluded to, be as simple as we have far less Merlins than SKs so they are spread more thinly - again, probably based on increased reliability predictions when Merlin was first being defined (plus the reduced ASW focus after the Cold War ended - cue another hot debate!!!), and maybe s also caused numbers to be trimmed back (shurrly not!!!).

Anyway, that's what could be screwing up your read-across. As I say, this was all some time ago now so just how I recall things ran from memory. Anyway, hope this helps a bit. Hopefully someone else will chip in if I've got it wrong.

Cheers, H 'n' H
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Old 5th May 2021, 07:57
  #6195 (permalink)  
 
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Baggers not so easy now

H "n" H
I also remember the days of the 9 cab ASW CAG. We would always have one in Min strip, leaving 8 to play with. The routine we worked was "long day, short day" or modified 10 about, I must admit the 8 about the Puff jets worked was not very attractive. we worked this routine from embarkation to disembarkation, and it always made us laugh when the ship would make pipes praising themselves for being in defence watches for "2 days now!" or similar. The baggers (Mk2s) would generally fly when the jets did and they did have an easier time than us. We used to rib them about it, but being from Culdrose, we all knew eachother so it was good natured. That all changed when the mk7 baggers came in and I found myself on an 849 unit, my initial, "this is going to be easy" thoughts were soon dispelled as the capability of the aircraft became known. Lets just say 10 days continuous flying from a pool of 3 aircraft, plus milk/mail collecting, viptax and SAR (the 771 cab was bust) off Somalia was an eye opener.
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Old 5th May 2021, 16:32
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Ah oldgrubber, I didn't realise it was like that with the Mk 7's. The way the Mk. 2's operated linked to the Stovies is how I remember it. We always enjoyed it when the Stovies called it a day from emulating "Top Gun" and slunk off to their scratchers as we knew the Bags would soon be off to bed too. After that it all became much more "civilised" and we had the whole deck and the LIFTS (Yay!!!) to ourselves. None of this "No you can't use the lifts! The SHARs are on Alert 120 (or similar)!!!!".

Re Watch systems I know there were always discussions/debates and the "Long Day, Short Day" is the main one I recall. I do find it difficult to recall how such things worked these days such is the passage of time and me with a shocking memory. Re the "R3-DB", clearly the range of the screen from Mum was key as transit times (including the turnrounds) played a big part in maintaining 2 on screen at all times. After a while you just can't achieve it and I do recall times we only had one on the Barrier as SAR cover was always discussed. Working Passive I don't think it was that much of an issue. Tho it did do my head in trying to recall how the "Ripple" worked when playing with bits of paper yesterday.

Thankfully, I don't have that problem with maintaining "time on station" over at my Local as I live just over the road from it. My "time on station" vs "transit time" is definitely biased in favour of beer-drinking (COVID rules permitting!). Talking of that - 'ave you seen the time????!!!! Got to Launch!!!!!!!! Lashings off.........!!!!!

Cheers, H 'n' H
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Old 5th May 2021, 16:41
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Cheerz, H'n'H and oldgrubber. I have no idea what you were talking about for much of your diatribes - but I have much enjoyed them. I specially like the idea of lashings off for the boozer....

airsound
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Old 5th May 2021, 17:22
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Originally Posted by oldgrubber View Post
H "n" H
That all changed when the mk7 baggers came in and I found myself on an 849 unit, my initial, "this is going to be easy" thoughts were soon dispelled as the capability of the aircraft became known. Lets just say 10 days continuous flying from a pool of 3 aircraft, plus milk/mail collecting, viptax and SAR (the 771 cab was bust) off Somalia was an eye opener.
Interesting that Mk7 actually did SAR. It was a tertiary role, and there was a school of thought that it would never happen, so don't bother - the theory being it would save money in the design. But I left it in, mainly because that part of the programme was a technical and contractual pre-requisite, and any delay would cost us half a million a month in penalties. Another reason was as discussed - uncertainty over Merlin capability. All that was ever said was that 5 Merlins would do the job of 8 SKs. (Hence, around 50 bought). But any assumption about Merlin having better technology, especially in avionics, went out the window when the ISD was missed by about 5-6 years. For example, its comms was older than SK6, which in turn was much older than ASaC and Mk4. I know that in 2001 it was still at a 1984 build standard.

The problem with continuous flying you mention would, in part, be down to the actual requirement being 16 cabs, but capped at 13. And no reserve were allowed. In fact, the RN's endorsement was 10. The extra 3 was purely a MoD(PE) initiative, which I got well and truly clobbered for by one particular beancounter. Luckily an Admiral stepped in and told him to....(obscene Naval term).
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Old 5th May 2021, 21:11
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Originally Posted by airsound View Post
Cheerz, H'n'H and oldgrubber. I have no idea what you were talking about for much of your diatribes - but I have much enjoyed them. I specially like the idea of lashings off for the boozer....
airsound, trust me, you are not the first person to accuse us WAFFU's of talking utter nonsense ........ and, sadly, there will be many, many, many after you who will say the same!!!!! All I can say is .......... it's a fair cop, Guv! But you picked up on the really important bit!!!!!!!!! So "BZ" as we would say!!!

Tuc, forgot all about our convo way back on the Mk. 7 fiasco. I did laugh when I got the GFE list across my desk for the Mk. 2 bits to feed into the Mk. 7 Mods Programme. The 2 was UOR if I recall (hence the hand-to-mouth shuffling of things like pallets) so one would have hoped the endorsed requirement for the replacement would have acknowledged those issues. Seemingly, if you manage to survive on a "beg-steal-borrow" Support Policy long enough ..... why not read that forward for the next Fleet?! Good on you/PE for sorting that out! Was that our certain "do the Mod over the weekend" friend again? And I never realised the Merlin had older kit than the SK 6! Never worked Merlin so always assumed it was a big jump forward. Ah well, H 'n' H was always one to "look on the bright side of life!" as Eric Idle wrote for Monty Python! Actually, "Monty Python" sums up an awful lot of stuff!!! Hey ho! H 'n' H
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Old 5th May 2021, 21:38
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
CSG21 has started.

https://twitter.com/smrmoorhouse/sta...20531100581890

SLXOwft/N_a_b

With respect to the Merlin HM2 - I believe that the whole fleet is undergoing modifications at Yeovil, which will take a few away from the ready fleet, and HMS Prince Of Wales put to sea yesterday. Does she needs to embark some for whatever trials and training that she will being doing? As for 847 and Junglies in general, we are sending an amphibious force on NATO operations - so I espect that they will take a few Cabs. Maybe even some frigate borne Merlin HM2s?
Purely anecdotal, but since 820 disappeared to Portsmouth last week, Merlin activity in the skies over West Cornwall has reduced to almost nothing.
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