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If only we had a carrier with ‘Cats and Traps’!

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If only we had a carrier with ‘Cats and Traps’!

Old 4th Jun 2018, 22:27
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If only we had a carrier with ‘Cats and Traps’!

i see the new General Atomics MQ-25 is shaping up. Unmanned AAR for probe and drogue plus a maritime ISTAR capability. But not for the UK with no ‘cats’ and no ‘traps’!

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Old 5th Jun 2018, 07:12
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 08:24
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I wonder if whoever signed off on the carriers and the B models ever considered at the time if it might not be the best of ideas?
I wonder if they have changed their mind since?

If I could be bothered I'd post a photo of an E-2 - I see they have also been shaping up nicely for a while too!
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 08:54
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 09:04
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If you have a spare £2Billion per ship for the conversion to cat and trap, please feel free to chip in. Money is the sole reason they weren't fitted so.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 09:30
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Have a listen to The Fighter Pilot Podcast for some fascinating explanations of carrier ops, including the use of a tanker for launch and recovery in blue water ops. For those of us who just 'got in the way' in an MPA, it gives a whole new level of respect!!! Night landing when low on fuel in the middle of the Pacific on a pitching deck? I'll take the honkers stew and fly back home option thanks!
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 10:14
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I wonder if whoever signed off on the carriers and the B models ever considered at the time if it might not be the best of ideas?
We were told in 2003 that it was a nil-cost modification. The reply was unprintable.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 12:37
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It was looked at in 2010 and the reality was the cost and risk was so high that the RN would only keep one of the two CVF class in service. The other would have been scrapped as soon as it was completed.

The risks were considerable and would have massively delayed return to fixed wing carrier ops for very limited benefits (the CTOL carrier offering fairly limited operational advantages for the likely air wing that the UK would concievably use). The value of the design is not that great, and I'd rather see the money spent on more ships, than buying a fanboy platform of limited value.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 13:07
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I guess it all depends on affordability. If you decide you can't afford dedicated aerial tankers (even unmanned ones) or dedicated AWACS aircraft, or dedicated jammer aircraft, or fixed wing COD, then the choice between cat & trap vs STOVL carriers is pretty easy. Plus, if you haven't had cat and trap carriers in several years, how hard will it be to relearn how to do that? It's as much art as science. So yet more pressure to go STOVL

On the other hand, once you're committed to STOVL carriers, you're committed to no tankers, no AWACS, no jammers, and no COD for the life of the carriers, or about half a century. And let's say a five decades goes by with no cat & trap carriers. How difficult and expensive will it be to recreate everything that cat & trap requires when you haven't done if for several decades? Neither the Russians nor the Chinese have been able to pull it off. At least not yet.

Last edited by KenV; 5th Jun 2018 at 15:23.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 13:16
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
We were told in 2003 that it was a nil-cost modification. The reply was unprintable.
should have got in writing.......
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 14:55
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
I guess it all depends on affordability. If you decide you can't afford dedicated aerial tankers (even unmanned ones) or dedicated AWACS aircraft, or dedicated jammer aircraft, then the choice between cat & trap vs STOVL carriers is pretty easy. On the other hand, once you're committed to STOVL carriers, you're committed to no tankers, no AWACS, and no jammers for the life of the carriers, or about half a century.
Right on Ken. The price jump from STOVL to full Cat and Trap is eye watering- and it's not just the "cats and trap"- a new E-2D makes the F-35 look cheap. When you figure in an air wing of several types, increased training (carrier quals) and the infrastructure, it becomes unaffordable pretty quickly.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 16:12
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Originally Posted by sandiego89 View Post
Right on Ken. The price jump from STOVL to full Cat and Trap is eye watering- and it's not just the "cats and trap"- a new E-2D makes the F-35 look cheap. When you figure in an air wing of several types, increased training (carrier quals) and the infrastructure, it becomes unaffordable pretty quickly.
Pilot carrier quals for F-35 is already gone, and its going away for Super Hornet (Magic Carpet). It'll take a long while for it to go away for the E-2. Gotta love automation.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Obi Wan Russell View Post
If you have a spare £2Billion per ship for the conversion to cat and trap, please feel free to chip in. Money is the sole reason they weren't fitted so.
Also the extra manpower needed for catapults and arrestor gear, the lack of steam, the desire to have a common aircraft for RN and RAF, and for it to be possible for the carrier to be rapidly reinforced, and training issues (CTOL has a huge training burden).

I understand that the
US Navy intends to use the MQ-25 in lieu of Hornets with buddy tanks, primarily offering a suck of gas to the aircraft that struggles to get down onto the carrier deck and has to go around again.

Aircraft landing vertically do not have this need.


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Old 5th Jun 2018, 16:25
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Aren't the new carriers designed to be able to accomodate the v-22 Osprey, for which a tanker variant is being developed for the Marines?! Although it's not been financed, that must be a possibility, along with some sort of AWACS option
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 17:09
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
I understand that the US Navy intends to use the MQ-25 in lieu of Hornets with buddy tanks, primarily offering a suck of gas to the aircraft that struggles to get down onto the carrier deck and has to go around again.

Aircraft landing vertically do not have this need.
Ummm, not quite. The MQ-25 has a large fuel offload requirement at a significant range from the carrier. This is to give the fighters making the attack considerably greater range, enabling the carrier to be further out at sea and more difficult to attack. And with the automated landings afforded by F-35 and Magic Carpet on Super Hornet, bolters will become far far fewer, significantly reducing tanker requirements around the carrier. We are entering a whole new world.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 17:14
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Originally Posted by giblets View Post
Aren't the new carriers designed to be able to accomodate the v-22 Osprey, for which a tanker variant is being developed for the Marines?! Although it's not been financed, that must be a possibility, along with some sort of AWACS option
Yes, the new carriers could take aboard V-22's and Tanker, AWACS, armed and COD versions (or capability added to troop versions) of the V-22 have been talked about for years, and a small number of V-22's in UK service would undoubtedly bring a welcome capability, but would likely be cost prohibitive. Tanking capability and COD versions are on their way to US service.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 19:07
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AWACS for the carrier is already planned, it's called Merlin Mk2 ASAC (Crowsnest to you and me), COD can be done either by Merlin Mk4 or CH47...

personally I think there is more chance of me winning the lottery (which I don't play) than the RN having 5 or 6 V22 to support 1 carrier (after all only 1 will ever be at sea at a time)

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Old 5th Jun 2018, 19:59
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
Also the extra manpower needed for catapults and arrestor gear, the lack of steam, the desire to have a common aircraft for RN and RAF, and for it to be possible for the carrier to be rapidly reinforced, and training issues (CTOL has a huge training burden).

I understand that the
US Navy intends to use the MQ-25 in lieu of Hornets with buddy tanks, primarily offering a suck of gas to the aircraft that struggles to get down onto the carrier deck and has to go around again.

Aircraft landing vertically do not have this need.


Steam? How very 19th Century! Surely EMALS is the way ahead and it also reduces the ships compliment as it needs less to service the antiquated steam hydraulics? Also, the unit cost of buying C models would go well below the B if we were buying some Cs - thus offsetting the £2bn retrofit? Plus the C has a better payload and range.

As for VTOL not needing a tanker to hold off until the ship is in suitable viz, I can recall the SHars having to divert to mainland Italy during DENY FLIGHT as their through-deck cruiser was socked out in sea fog. Luckily they were steaming close to friendly airbases.

Nope the lack of cats and traps was a significant issue that has cut down even further the choice of aircraft we can embark - it’s really F35B and helicopters or nothing. Pretty expensive for effectively a helicopter carrier!

Still it’s spilt milk now...
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 21:51
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post


Steam? How very 19th Century! Surely EMALS is the way ahead and it also reduces the ships compliment as it needs less to service the antiquated steam hydraulics? Also, the unit cost of buying C models would go well below the B if we were buying some Cs - thus offsetting the £2bn retrofit? Plus the C has a better payload and range.

As for VTOL not needing a tanker to hold off until the ship is in suitable viz, I can recall the SHars having to divert to mainland Italy during DENY FLIGHT as their through-deck cruiser was socked out in sea fog. Luckily they were steaming close to friendly airbases.

Nope the lack of cats and traps was a significant issue that has cut down even further the choice of aircraft we can embark - it’s really F35B and helicopters or nothing. Pretty expensive for effectively a helicopter carrier!

Still it’s spilt milk now...
I had no idea that the US Navy had EMALS working..... You mean its not ready yet? So what would have been fitted in the interim?
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 22:03
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The FORD has been throwing F18s off its deck with EMALS - see video below:

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