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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

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Future Carrier (Including Costs)

Old 19th Apr 2007, 16:00
  #1081 (permalink)  
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The report doesn't really mention any specific forces except SF and Helicopters - hardly an espeditionary capability. A proper expeditionary doctrine will likely always need Carriers and Amphib Forces (as well as strategic AT) as these are likely to be the only early entry capabilities the Government will have. In general an Army has to go by sea to get to wherever it needs to be as there simply will never be enough AT to get them there. The only was the US could get TACAIR into Aghanistan was by CV.
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Old 19th Apr 2007, 21:01
  #1082 (permalink)  
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Didn't they use at least one of the other 'Stans' for F-16s?
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Old 19th Apr 2007, 22:46
  #1083 (permalink)  
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Manas - Kyrgyzstan.

Karshi - Uzbekistan.

In February 2002, U.S. troops quietly began joint military exercises in Kyrgyzstan. Manas quickly proved to be a useful base for Afghan operations, as its 90-minute flying time to the war theater dwarfed the six to eight hours flight time from other potential launching areas, such as ships or U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia.

Besides the U.S. forces involved in Operation Enduring Freedom, Manas hosted personnel from France, South Korea, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. Spanish, Dutch, Danish and Norwegian C-130s flew cargo missions; France contributed six Mirage 2000s and two C-135 re-fuelers; Australia sent two Boeing 707 refueling aircraft; and Spain offered HT-211 Super Puma rescue helicopters.

Within about six months of September 11, the Pentagon established 13 bases in nine countries in and around Afghanistan. By October 2001, U.S. combat aircraft had flown over 900 sorties and logged more than 4,200 combat hours (Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center, July-August 2002).
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Old 20th Apr 2007, 20:43
  #1084 (permalink)  
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There was another recent article on STRATFOR regarding US naval strategy. I do not have a URL so I'll just post a link to an ARRSE thread on it........

Sea Power in US Grand Strategy

One of the dangers of wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan is that they soak up resources and intellectual bandwidth. It is said that generals always fight the last war. Another way of stating that is to say they believe the war they are fighting now will go on forever in some form. That belief leads to neglect of capabilities that appear superfluous for the current conflict. That is the true hollowing-out that extended warfare creates. It is an intellectual hollowing-out.

Elsewhere there have been other carrier related discussions. Additionally, there has been discussion of the scarcity of carrier capable aircraft post Sea Harrier.
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Old 21st Apr 2007, 10:28
  #1085 (permalink)  
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Could it be true?

Say what you will about the red-tops, occasionally they get it right...


Fingers crossed!
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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 13:44
  #1086 (permalink)  
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And now from the Financial Times:

Anglo-French aircraft carriers proposed

And from Defensenews.com:

And Then There Was One
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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 15:39
  #1087 (permalink)  
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The SUN says:

"Aircraft will be able to land vertically after missions."

Sadly, probably not - well not if the weather is slightly warm or they've still got excess weight on board.

Now if you put in that catapulty thing and stretch 4 wires across the back end then Robert's your mother's brother.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 08:20
  #1088 (permalink)  
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The only was the US could get TACAIR into Aghanistan was by CV.
Absolute hoop. I was an AWACS guy during the initial ops over Afghanistan from Oct 01 and there were numerous F-15E, F-16C, B-1B and B-52s from the very first days. A handful of marathon sorties were also flown by B-2's from the US with a crew swap carried out during RTB at Guam. It's also worth remembering that USN CVN assets regularly used land bases as FOBs, as well as their usual reliance upon land based combat support ISTAR and AAR.

Afghanistan is an interesting illustration in the benefits and disadvantages of land based and carrier air power. USN CVNs certainly generated the majority of Tacair sorties during the first few months of OEF, but they actually dropped less weapons than their USAF counterparts. Even ignoring the disproportionate payloads of B-1Bs and B-52s, USN FA-18 and F-14s would often rock up with only a couple of GBU/JDAM whereas USAF F-16 and F-15Es would have greater warloads. The FA-18C in particular also suffered from poor 'bring-back' capability which resulted in dozens of unexpended weapons having to be dumped prior to recovery. This wasn't a problem in the early target rich days but became an increasing waste as ops progressed.


a. We need both a robust CVF air wing as well as decent land based assets.

b. Be careful about using Afghanistan as a case study in how great carrier aviation is.

c. Get your facts right.

Last edited by Boldface; 24th Apr 2007 at 12:23.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:02
  #1089 (permalink)  
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From The Scotsman:

Navy set to keep 30-year-old ships in service over £3.6bn carrier delays

THE Royal Navy could be forced to delay the retirement of Britain's ageing aircraft carriers because of delays in the programme to order replacement vessels, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

The decision would mean the mainstay of Britain's naval power in the next decade will be two ships which are both more than 30 years old.

The prospect of prolonging the life of HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal will only heighten concerns about the state of the Royal Navy.

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Old 25th Apr 2007, 00:17
  #1090 (permalink)  
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what would you guys do without the newspaper online!
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 06:46
  #1091 (permalink)  
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WEBF is going for the all time link-posting record.


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Old 30th Apr 2007, 09:36
  #1092 (permalink)  
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Grauniad: A whiff of corruption

As if they don't have enough trouble at sea, BAE and the Royal Navy are at the heart of one of the biggest standoffs for years in defence policy. The future of the government's defence policy, and defence industrial strategy, could hang on the plan to build two big aircraft carriers - a project eminent critics now say will cost more than replacing Trident.

The navy says it needs the carriers to remain credible, and viable, as a fighting service. BAE says the carrier contract, like that for the new generation Trident submarines, is vital if they are to stay in the naval construction business, worth tens of thousands of jobs in the UK. If they don't get this kind of work, they'll take their bat and ball, and set up as a primarily US-based company. Such threats have done them well in the past, giving them a virtual monopoly in large areas of defence procurement for the UK forces. The news that the US has lodged a serious diplomatic protest about the blocking of the fraud enquiry into BAE's deal for Typhoon aircraft with the Saudis makes the threat to quit UK shores look pretty hollow.

Just before Easter, the government was set to place the main construction contract for two 60,000-tonne fleet aircraft carriers for the navy at an estimated cost of about £3.6bn. According to critics, like the former head of the Ministry of Defence, Sir Michael Quinlan, this would not even be half the bill. He estimates that the carrier programme as currently envisaged would cost more than the project to replace the Trident missile system - missiles, submarines, bases and all. Trident replacement, according to the government's own white paper published before Christmas, would cost between £20bn and £25bn. Critics, some recently retired from the MoD's procurement and logistics wings, believe that the estimate by Greenpeace that Trident replacement, taking everything into consideration like bases, updates, maintenance and refits, would cost something like £76bn over a 30-year lifespan, is much nearer the mark.

Critics of the carrier project as currently conceived come from within the Royal Navy, past and present, as well as specialists like Sir Michael Quinlan. Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, who commanded the Falklands task force in 1982, thinks they are too big and too difficult to manage by the navy and air force at their present size. He would like to see the navy order three smaller carriers, slightly larger than the present Invincible class. These would be able to launch new jump-jet fighter-bombers to protect the fleet and any amphibious force it lands. Sir Michael Quinlan is concerned about the almost total absence of any public discussion on the project, which could become a huge white elephant (my words, not his) particularly if current projects such as the Type 45 air defence destroyer, at £600m a time, are anything to go by.

The plan for the navy to get two big carriers was first made public in the Strategic Defence Review of 1998. The carriers were needed, the review argued, for Britain to be able to mount "expeditionary missions" for the modern age. Since then, the argument has been reinforced by notions that local powers will be increasingly reluctant to give bases to British and allied forces and not permission to overfly. So the expeditionary force has to be launched and supplied from the sea. This is fine in theory, but there are questions about human and fiscal resources to do the job properly. Some argue the navy is too small to be able to provide sea and air crew for such large ships, which will each require a complement of about 3,000 at least, plus shore teams and replacements.

The biggest difficulty is the aircraft. The new carriers are designed to fly the American Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The bill for this aircraft already stands at about $260bn, and it is going north steadily - so much so that there are growing doubts in sections of the Pentagon that even the US can afford the programme. The conundrum is that the aircraft carrier is built round the plane, and not the other way around; and to date, there is no credible alternative to the F-35 JSF. Britain is due to get between 120 and 150 of the new aircraft, to be flown jointly by the navy and the RAF. This is in addition to the 232 Eurofighter Typhoons currently being delivered to the RAF. The problem is that, today, there only enough crew to fly 90 combat planes by the UK forces.

The third unknown is what is termed "combat systems" - the computers, radars, communications architecture, airborne early warning, special jamming aircraft and drones. These, in the main, have not even been designed, let alone costed, and they will amount to more than the £3.6 to £4bn for the hulls. Totting up the cost of the combat systems, the aircraft, the building of the hulls, the maintenance facilities, and the need for at least half a dozen major refits in a 40-year lifespan, you can see how Sir Michael Quinlan has come to his calculation that the carrier programme is likely to cost more than the replacement of Trident.

The new carriers, CVF, already named as HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS The Prince of Wales, are to be the keystone of the Defence Industrial Strategy designed by the minister for defence procurement, Lord Drayson. He wants to base his strategy on long-term partnerships with key contractors like BAE, Thales UK, and Finmeccanica, now a major player through Agusta Westland, and the former GEC Marconi companies. Some fear this could hand an unhealthy monopoly to big players like BAE in sectors like submarines. Lord Drayson wants to streamline the naval yards, which suffer from over-capacity, and wants most of the seven to merge. Vosper Thorneycroft says it will only get into bed with BAE if the carrier deal is guaranteed. Drayson says he wants to see the marriage first.

Meanwhile, there is the question of money, and where it comes from. The problem with the Strategic Defence Review of '98 is that it was never properly costed. Gordon Brown has told the defence ministers, according to industry sources, that they can have the carriers, but provided the money comes from within the defence funding laid out in the Comprehensive Spending Review due to be announced later this summer. The MoD says that this cannot be done unless other programmes are cut or halved, such as the one to replace the army's ancient vehicles now being beaten up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some old salts fear that the carriers have such a strong whiff of the Blair era of expeditionary adventures - and that they will be cancelled as soon as Chancellor Brown shifts residence from No11 to No 10. However, much of the building work will be done in Scotland, on the Clyde and at Rosyth, hard by the constituencies of Mr Brown and defence secretary Des Browne.

There is a good case for the fleet having modern, adaptable, medium-sized carriers, like the US Marines amphibious carriers. They are needed to land and protect amphibious forces and keep sea lanes open - but not to launch highly sophisticated fighter-bombers to attack distant capitals. The contradiction at the heart of the present project for 60,000-tonne fleet carriers is its odd mixture of megalomania and desperation. To the eye, it looks like another great defence white elephant is about to be launched, to join the herd with the Eurofighter and the Daring class Type 45 destroyers. To the nose, it has a slight, but distinct aroma of two large grey pork barrels.
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Old 30th Apr 2007, 11:34
  #1093 (permalink)  
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The usual sh1te from the grauniad. Quinlan was PPS to CAS in the early 60s, so it's clear where his views on carriers lie. Funnily enough he spent an awful long time away from the MOD (in Treasury & DoE) before coming back as PUS until 92. Lots of currency there then.

The whole thing is riddled with schoolboy errors. The complementing is wrong (though CVF is probably too light) and the combat system costing assertions are wrong. The US LHDs are far from flexible and are only feasible because of their cramped messing and large size in the first place. You'd struggle to generate the CVF sortie requirement from that deck in any case. Worst of all is the idea that we can change course from a large deck, capable ship to some sort of cut-down alternative and save money. There are NO designs sitting in cupboards or on computers, its CVF or no f/w flying at sea by 2015 - endex. However, given who reads the grauniad, this is probably Gordons first shot (or maybe second, considering what happended to 6 Sqn)
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Old 1st May 2007, 20:58
  #1094 (permalink)  
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Whilst the above article can be safely dismissed as gash, some of the consequences of decisions taken in the last few years are already having consequences that may pose problems for CVF. The reduction in the number of carrier capable (fixed wing) aircraft is one, the reduction in RN Fixed Wing Pilot numbers is another, as is the potential loss of skills by flight deck crews. All of these were predicted (and discussed) on the Sea Jet thread. I feel justified in including this link as these issues were discussed in detail.

Today is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union. I hope that way that the way the various parts of the CVF project are spread over different shipyards and numerous other companies across the UK will reinforce these ties.

Twenty Five years ago today was a very significant day for the Royal Navy and for the Fleet Air Arm in particular. Sea Harriers attacked land targets ashore in the Falklands and engaged a number of Argentine aircraft trying to attack the task force. Sea Kings were busy too, with Pingers maintaining round the clock ASW cover and Junglies putting SAS/SBS reece teams ashore.

Elsewhere frigates bombarded targets ashore.

The Invincible class was originally designed to carry a large number of ASW Sea Kings, with the Sea Harrier being almost secondary, in peacetime anyway. Post Cold War this started to change, with upto sixteen or seventeen Sea Harriers and Harrier GR7s being embarked (in addition to the three ASaCs Sea Kings), with the Merlins that replaced the Sea King HAS 6 being embarked in RFAs. Post Sea Harrier, the CVS carry mostly helicopters (again), which will change again with CVF. Anyone feeling dizzy from going around in circles?

Despite cutbacks and other problems, the Fleet Air Arm continues to be busy, as this page from the RN website shows. The deployment of two Merlin squadrons and two ASaCs squadrons on active operations, in addition to Lynx and Merlin aircraft embarked on frigates and destroyers (and Endurance) and Junglies ashore, demonstrates the value and utility of naval aviation.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 21:54
  #1095 (permalink)  
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Spot of bother over the pond about the value of the STOVL JSF...
Navy Argues Against Marine Variant of JSF - Marine Corps Times
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Old 3rd May 2007, 06:32
  #1096 (permalink)  
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Not a boffin,

I'm curious why you think an LHD is 'far from flexible'? To my mind a boat that's only slightly bigger than a CVS that has 1000+ grunts on board, a platoon of tanks, a bunch of LARs, artillery + a stack of hummers + CH53s, Cobras, Hueys and AV8Bs might in some way be a bit more flexible than the mighty CVF that can.... launch F-35s. During OIF the LHD I was on carried 1500 odd grunts to the beaches, then reconfigured to 'Harrier carrier' and operated 24 Harriers for the duration and we didn't scrape the surface of the armouries on board. But you're right in one thing - the accommodation isn't salubrious. They are built to be warships though, not cruise liners/cocktail party venues.

I don't know for sure, but I'd hope the new LHX would be even better? If shipyard jobs weren't an issue, we could probably afford half a dozen for the price of the CVF programme.

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Old 3rd May 2007, 08:45
  #1097 (permalink)  
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Hopefully the Spams will can the B variant. Then the UK will be forced down the conventional role, and Dave C, to be honest, is really the way we want to go.
The Dave C will be more capable, have greater range and payload and achieve much more from the bigger deck.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 09:03
  #1098 (permalink)  
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I didn't mean to imply that LHD wasn't a good platform - it is for what it is designed to do. If we're lucky the LPH(RC) programme (pause for hysterics) will deliver something similar to replace Ocean and the LPDs. However - at 40000 tonnes LHD is substantially bigger than CVS.

The throw-weight is impressive, but what was the sortie count/mission profile when she was covered in Harriers? If she was running CAS/BAI missions only, the deck park required is much less than for integrated strike packages against any sort of IADS, with some sort of DCA posture. Thats the driver behind CVF size. Putting UK accommodation standards on LHD would result in a ship much bigger than CVF. It's not a cruise liner v warship argument either - 2SL has decided that for retention purposes, they want much higher standards (including iPod sockets!). That costs space and volume.

The last of the Wasps, LHD8, is currently estimated at $1.7Bn for a mod to an existing design. LHD(X) looks like being over $2Bn a copy. CVF is exorbitant, but is nothing to do with the ship size (or even shipyard jobs) and everything to do with the contracting strategy.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 15:00
  #1099 (permalink)  
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What the hell is an "iPod socket" anyway? That to me means a three-pin mains socket..I smell tabloids.

Anyway, the LHD thing is an interesting idea, but frankly, dragging the procurement glacier back up the mountain now is madness.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 17:43
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That is an interesting story...

More interesting still are the Marine counter arguments presented, which bear no relationship to reality.

The Marines say the STOVL aircraft outperforms the C model in all kinds of missions except carrier-based ones. Tosh! The B has markedly inferior weapon load and range, and a higher wing loading in combat conditions which will make it less agile.

(Navy says the B will) reduce flexibility in carrier-deck operations. Marines: That won’t be known until flight tests begin. Horsefeathers. It's entirely feasible to model that. And it would be entertaining in the extreme to watch F-35Bs - creeping slowly to a vertical landing, but needing a goodish run to get off the deck - integrated into a cat-arrest cycle.

(Navy says the B will) not carry a 2,000-pound bomb in its internal bomb bay. Marines: The F-35B can carry one externally, and weapon is needed for only 15 percent of missions anyway. External = no stealth, combined with no jamming and no towed decoy. Let's get shot! Same applies to the Marines' claim that "we can carry JSOW externally."

The fight seems to be over how many of the 680 "Department of the Navy" JSFs will be Bs, and how many As. Underlying this: if the number of Bs shrinks, someone will realize that their total cost - including STOVL-driven R&D - will make the F-22 look like a Hyundai. And someone else will realize that (taking into account the F-35B, the V-22 and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle) the Grunts have become the prime Cadillac-drivers of the Pentagon.
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