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Help with essay question on carrier aviation in the 60's!

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Help with essay question on carrier aviation in the 60's!

Old 5th Jan 2009, 16:46
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Help with essay question on carrier aviation in the 60's!

Evening,

I have been over to BRNC and have looked through their library and managed to get some good information on this but not enough to write 3000 words. The essay title is: Why did carrier aviation go into global decline by the late 1960s?

Now correct me if i'm wrong but I thought that it was the British that encountered a decline, with possibly a small amount in other Navies but nothing significant?

I'm struggling for good academic work (and not opinions) to use, BRNC for obvious reasons was very UK focused so i'm stuck when it comes to the global part!
From reading through what I have I seem to have bits and pieces but nothing substantial. Our university library is shite for anything maritime related and with it being the Christmas break my lecturer is unavailable.

Any pointers for good online sources?

Thanks
Wannabe
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 17:46
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After Britains' carrier force went into decline many other nations then in the carrier club lost their primary supplier of cheap second hand ships. Britain was and still is the world's largest exporter of aircraft carriers (Colossus/Majestic class and the odd Centaur class...), we invented the Stea Catapult, Angled Deck, Mirror Landing sight, Ski Jump, Jet Engine, Radar, the list goes on. And we gave it all away, including the ability to make most of the above. Smaller nations could only stay in the carrier club if they could replace their existing ships with more second hand ships. After WW2 the production of these ships effectively stopped. Britain completed what ships it could, and failed to build new until the 70s. When America stared building new, it built big, and their older ships were also too big for export (Essex/Midway class) or too obsolete in design (wooden decked like the Independence class CVLs, though one went to Spain in 67 as a helo carrier). Any nation wanting to get into the carrier game now will have to be able to afford a new ship, and that's too much for most.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 18:36
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Amazon.co.uk

Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events: 1946-2006 v. 2 (Hardcover)

Author N Polmer

I would have put the demise of Aircraft Carriers as coincidental with the withdrawl of RN conventional fixed wing fleet circa '78ish, rather then the sixties, a mistake subsequently learned with a lack of UK AEW cover in the Falklands War.

The reluctance for the Argentinians to commit their carrier to sea has to be worth a few lines in your essay. Some would say this was an admission of it being a unprotected target linking submarine warfare to the demise of Carrier warfare. Fairly certain there is a torpedo with Gen Belgrano written on it somewhere.
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 19:23
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TM

For sure, there were a couple of torpedoes with General Belgrano on them and they found their target. In the context of the first post I think you meant to say the Argentinian Aircraft Carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo?
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Old 5th Jan 2009, 19:53
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Doh; Dont you just love it when that happens!
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 04:01
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TM, was probably thinking you inferred the Belgrano was a carrier. Would have meant it was sunk in port a la Taranto. And yes, loved it.

alwayslookingdown, find the cash on the pavement that way (and don't step on the cracks).
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 13:42
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Political Will

Without stirring the pot too much, it is possible carrier aviation declined when Air to Air refueling became generally available. The need for force projection has become an American thing which is why they are the only ones who maintain (or can afford) a large carrier fleet and is therefore not global anymore. Even they sometimes don't use carriers for certain objectives.

e.g. The libyan raids were done by ground based bombers flying from England with air to air refueling.

In Britains case it was political will that dealt the death knell for our carrier fleet.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 17:05
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In Britains case it was political will that dealt the death knell for our carrier fleet
The country was bankrupt, ruined by Unions and a bunch of ex-communist traitors masquerading as a government.
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 08:46
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The Q is flawed: say so. "carrier aviation declined". No. Compare USN CV deployment off SEAsia, end-1960s - numbers, power - with that of today's CVN Groups. Compare ditto, old Majestic hulls then deployed with A-4, with today's AV-8/CVL-types of new entrants Italy, Spain, Thailand. Add on all Air on LPH-types and vessels-which-can-carry one unit, such as NDBs on helos. RN lost one Strike carrier at sea, firstly with Red Beard, likely to cause an "unplanned event", then with 5 WE177A(N), replaced with (sometimes) 2 CVLs, sharing ’69-11/91 with helo-vessels “2 doz. or so” Mk.57/NDB, deploying 8 WE177A(NDB) in Sea King HAS.2 and 1981-92 8 more on Sea Harrier FRS.1. Add attempts by Russia, China. Note India's upgrade. QED. For RN-centric input: E.J.Grove,Vanguard to Trident, Bodley Head,1987
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 13:38
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mostly political will

It was a political decision about budgets which then led to which areas we could/ would defend and the budgetary consequence on the military forces as a result of that, but I agree the question is wrong.

Perhaps the OP could do a 'political' and answer the question they would prefer to answer
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 14:47
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can I just ask what are you studying that a question like that would come up ?
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 16:36
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My degree is in International Relations but the module is contemporary maritime power.
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Old 7th Jan 2009, 16:43
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And Southampton University os one of the few that offer university short courses on similar topics. IIRC we had a retired admiral as tutor and the course was in an hotel near Southsea, very civilised.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 14:40
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Small Correction

e.g. The libyan raids were done by ground based bombers flying from England with air to air refueling.
Not quite right. The decision to hit two widely dispersed target areas (3 targets in Tripoli area and two targets near Benghazi) simultaniously drove the decision to split the targets between USAF F-111/EF-111 towards Tripoli and the Benghazi targets to the Navy. Navy A-7 amd F/A-18 provided HARM and Shrike coverage, E-2's provided the threat warning, F-14/18 provided the CAP in the Air Force strike area. There were two aircraft carriers in the area and the strikes could have been done Navy only, but that would have meant that barely covering the targets because only the A-6E was capable of the night LGB delivery required in the tasking.

See James A. Winnefeld and Dana J Johnson's book "Joint Air Operations: Pursuit of Unity in Command and Control 1942-1991" chapter 7 for a good discussion of El Dorado Canyon.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 18:31
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And if memory serves, the AAR element for the Varks was vastly increased due to overflight refusals from a certain nation, leading to a flightpath west of the Iberian peninsula, followed by a left turn at Gib. If the USN CVWs had been Pave Spike/Tack (can't remember which) capable across the board rather than just the Intruders, the USAF strike element might not have been needed.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 19:38
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I remember well that time. Sunday movements at Fairford (normally not permitted) as a large number of tankers landed, then the sound of high speed jet aircraft to the north east of Witney very early on Tuesday morning as they flew home to Upper Heyford.

Only later did we find out why.

France, Spain and Italy had all denied overflight approval.

But that didn't stop the lunatic Reagan.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 19:50
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
But that didn't stop the lunatic Reagan.
Really? I seem to remember that the British Prime Minister gave full backing and that lunatic also won the Cold War unlike some of his predecessors that seemed intent on turning it hot. Attack them before they can attack us.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 20:08
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Pontius,

I agree.

Reagan was no lunatic, ( though the poor sod suffered alzheimers or similar later ) and could be said to have won the cold war & done the whole world a huge favour which I hope future generations will take note of.

I have different thoughts about Thatcher however; I am by no means a leftie, communist or traitor, but I will never forgive her for destroying the manufacturing abilility of the UK at all levels.

Remember she was all for flogging Invincible until Galteiri tried the Falklands to save his own unpopular arse, ending up saving her similar situation.

When presented with the P-1216 supersonic STOVL mockup - which made the JSF look like a Sopwith Camel - at Kingston, ( better performance predictions, but stealth wasn't trendy then ) she didn't hesitate to say no, effectively binning British aircraft manufacture.
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Old 9th Jan 2009, 20:13
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That attack on Libya was the act of a lunatic - shoot 'em up cowboy diplomacy.

Winning the Cold War was something else, I grant you.
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Old 15th Jan 2009, 08:31
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Lunatic clobberer: pro-hobble, anti-nobble.

Grenada was lunacy. Clobbering the Colonel's tent was sane.
Ghaddafi wished to use the "oil weapon" in support of pan-Arab leadership notions, and had a nuclear weapons programme. He believed he had nobbled the Security Council jury, deflecting sanctions, by suborning France. Reagan hobbled him. The neo-con position is of a direct causal line on to dismantling of his nuke work, him then leaving the axis of evil and becoming legitimate, civilised. UN sanctions helped concentrate his mind. Assorted Syrias studied and learned. Saddam had the chance to do ditto likewise after Gulf I, but was addicted to his rake-off, perpetuated by France/Russia sanctions-busting. A second G.H.Bush Administration, neo-con, might have upgraded Deny Flight with smart clobbering of any site from which UNSCOM was excluded. Tenuously "legal".
There's a What If...but far drifting from thread.
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