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Future of the USN Carrier Force

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Future of the USN Carrier Force

Old 10th Mar 2020, 09:03
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Future of the USN Carrier Force

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/03/...ers-exclusive/

Beyond the Ford: Navy Studies Next-Gen Carriers


WASHINGTON: The Navy is launching a deep dive into the future of its aircraft carrier fleet, Breaking Defense has learned, even as the Secretary of Defense, dissatisfied with current Navy plans, conducts his own assessment. The two studies clearly show the deepening concern over how China’s growing might and the Pentagon’s eroding budgets could affect the iconic, expensive supercarriers.

The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force, which the service plans to announce next week, will take six months to study how carriers stack up against new generations of stealthy submarines and long-range precision weapons being fielded by China and Russia. It comes at a fraught moment time for the fleet, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper has taken personal ownership over the service’s force planning while publiclylambasting the Navy’s deployment model as broken.......

For decades, American aircraft carrier strike groups, led by massive big decks bristling with fighter planes and surveillance aircraft, have been the key to US power projection. But with new generations of long-range precision weapons that can smack into a carrier from well beyond the horizon, military planners have started rethinking the risks of putting a 100,000-ton supercarrier anywhere near a contested coastline.

“The Navy is realizing they need to change that approach and perhaps think about using carriers in more peripheral ways in a fight,” Bryan Clark, senior fellow at Hudson Institute, said. Instead of launching aircraft for strike missions deep inland, as they’ve been used in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re more likely to “hang out out of range and do sea control,” covering down on large swaths of ocean.

In February, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower performed just such a mission, sweeping a path across the Atlantic for cargo ships full of Army equipment bound for major ground exercise in Europe. The expercise, run under the newly reconstituted 2nd Fleet, was the first drill simulating a contested crossing of the Atlantic since 1986.

The Ike, along with an unidentified submarine sweeping the depths of the ocean for unexpected Russian guests, sailed well ahead of the convoy while fighting off simulated electronic warfare and undersea and aerial attacks in a stress test for how prepared the Navy is to punch its way across the Atlantic.

As the Pentagon and Navy hash out what the Navy of the future should look like to meet challenges posed by China, they are experimenting everywhere. Navy and Marine Corps leadership have warmed to the “lightning carrier” concept, designed to pack amphibious ships with Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and sail them to the hotspots to cover places the big decks aren’t.

Late last year, the USS America photographed in the Pacific with 13 F-35s on its deck, something the services want to do more of as the so-called Gator Navy reinforces more decks to handle the fifth generation fighter. The Marines and Navy are working on a new strategy to more closely align their operations, which would allow both to provide more punch, and give the Marines the ability to launch from both ships and from small ad-hoc land bases to support the fleet.

Any potentially smaller carrier of the future will not be as small as an amphibious ship, as those ships can’t support high sortie rates over long periods of time like a Nimitz or Ford carrier. They would, however, certainly be smaller than the hulking Fords...........
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 13:19
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
In February, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower performed just such a mission, sweeping a path across the Atlantic for cargo ships full of Army equipment bound for major ground exercise in Europe. The expercise, run under the newly reconstituted 2nd Fleet, was the first drill simulating a contested crossing of the Atlantic since 1986.
I believe there was an exercise in last 15 years relying on a NATO convoy enforcement across the Atlantic which provided lots of learnings and none of them good.

The Ike, along with an unidentified submarine sweeping the depths of the ocean for unexpected Russian guests, sailed well ahead of the convoy while fighting off simulated electronic warfare and undersea and aerial attacks in a stress test for how prepared the Navy is to punch its way across the Atlantic.
But sitting on bottom completely silent waiting for convoy was what Wolfpacks did 75 years ago, irrespective of escorts that were ahead. Why would that strategy change ?
Add in underwater drones etc etc and it becomes a bit more of a difficult exercise to protect shipping.

What is airlift capacity required for transferring a complete division from US to Europe ?
Yes I know it woukld be substantial but aircraft would be doing 14 flights a week V shipping.

As the Pentagon and Navy hash out what the Navy of the future should look like to meet challenges posed by China, they are experimenting everywhere. Navy and Marine Corps leadership have warmed to the “lightning carrier” concept, designed to pack amphibious ships with Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and sail them to the hotspots to cover places the big decks aren’t.
Late last year, the USS America photographed in the Pacific with 13 F-35s on its deck, something the services want to do more of as the so-called Gator Navy reinforces more decks to handle the fifth generation fighter. The Marines and Navy are working on a new strategy to more closely align their operations, which would allow both to provide more punch, and give the Marines the ability to launch from both ships and from small ad-hoc land bases to support the fleet.
Any potentially smaller carrier of the future will not be as small as an amphibious ship, as those ships can’t support high sortie rates over long periods of time like a Nimitz or Ford carrier. They would, however, certainly be smaller than the hulking Fords...........
They still fixated on manned aircraft where as the unmanned are a fraction of the cost. Services will want mega budgets even when they are unsustainable.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 17:29
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Originally Posted by racedo View Post
But sitting on bottom completely silent waiting for convoy was what Wolfpacks did 75 years ago, irrespective of escorts that were ahead. Why would that strategy change ?
Add in underwater drones etc etc and it becomes a bit more of a difficult exercise to protect shipping.
I believe you'll find the wolfpacks primarily operated on the surface up till mid 1943 as since they were faster than the convoy they had no problem keeping up with it. This continued until the widespread introduction of radar and air cover across the Atlantic forced them to submerge.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 20:25
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Originally Posted by racedo View Post
What is airlift capacity required for transferring a complete division from US to Europe ?
Yes I know it woukld be substantial but aircraft would be doing 14 flights a week V shipping.
.
Reading a piece today on M1 Abrams which indicated that during GW1 using C5 Galaxy that US transported tanks, 2 at a time to Saudi Arabia and did a maximum of 2000. However weight now is 20 % greater so this will reduce carrying capacity.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 21:19
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Originally Posted by SamYeager View Post
I believe you'll find the wolfpacks primarily operated on the surface up till mid 1943 as since they were faster than the convoy they had no problem keeping up with it. This continued until the widespread introduction of radar and air cover across the Atlantic forced them to submerge.
Yep. The most numerous type the Type VII were not true submersibles, in fact they were very agile boats on the surface, and could only go to a max depth of around 200-240m, and not for long periods either, so no way were they sitting silently on the bottom waiting for the convoys.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 21:22
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Originally Posted by racedo View Post
Reading a piece today on M1 Abrams which indicated that during GW1 using C5 Galaxy that US transported tanks, 2 at a time to Saudi Arabia and did a maximum of 2000. However weight now is 20 % greater so this will reduce carrying capacity.

Submersible unmanned carriers carrying unmanned strike aircraft.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 22:28
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Any potentially smaller carrier of the future will not be as small as an amphibious ship, as those ships can’t support high sortie rates over long periods of time like a Nimitz or Ford carrier. They would, however, certainly be smaller than the hulking Fords...........
Sounds like they are talking about a couple on non-nuclear powered Aircraft Carriers designed for the F-35 and operated by a somewhat friendly nation.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 22:40
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Originally Posted by racedo View Post
Reading a piece today on M1 Abrams which indicated that during GW1 using C5 Galaxy that US transported tanks, 2 at a time to Saudi Arabia and did a maximum of 2000. However weight now is 20 % greater so this will reduce carrying capacity.
C5M upgrades add 20% to payload with new uprated engines so that should counter the above.

Last edited by Chidken Sangwich; 10th Mar 2020 at 23:27.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 23:26
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Originally Posted by Capt Kremmen View Post
Submersible unmanned carriers carrying unmanned strike aircraft.
It is another option or aircraft (large drone) dropping drone swarms circa 100km from target and the drones having capacity to stay in the air for 24 hours or longer to attack if needed or large drone drops smaller drone which heads target and then 10km before target breaks further down into mega swarm.
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Old 10th Mar 2020, 23:36
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Originally Posted by Chidken Sangwich View Post
C5M upgrades add 20% to payload with new uprated engines to that should counter the above.
Gets back to original question. A rough estimate of tonnage required to be shipped by air or sea for 10,000 personnel from US to Europe including all their equipment and ammunition / spares. Assumming can use current Military airlift capacity and whatever is required from Fedex / UPS etc.

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Old 10th Mar 2020, 23:41
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Sounds like they are talking about a couple on non-nuclear powered Aircraft Carriers designed for the F-35 and operated by a somewhat friendly nation.
But are the not also major targets ?

Is this the old - Lets fight the new war on basis of old war, when an enemy is not wedded to this because it hasn't invested so heavily in it. Like Capital ships in WW1 / 2.
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 01:09
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Racedo,

History proves that we do seem to fight the new War using the last War's equipment and strategy.

That certainly is not the wise way of doing it.....and what is worse we. have found no new ways to lose a way as efficiently as we have from Vietnam forward.

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Old 11th Mar 2020, 11:19
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Originally Posted by racedo View Post
Gets back to original question. A rough estimate of tonnage required to be shipped by air or sea for 10,000 personnel from US to Europe including all their equipment and ammunition / spares. Assumming can use current Military airlift capacity and whatever is required from Fedex / UPS etc.
It isn't just tonnage. There are area and volume limits and flying bulk ammo is also "interesting" in terms of load plans - for ships - and I would assume for aircraft as well. Vehicle transport tends to be measured in LIMS (Linear metres) which are the number of metres of a standard width (somewhere between 2 and 2.2 m if memory serves). There are outsize elements to that (mainly heavy armour which is weight limited and some vehicles / aircraft which are height limited) which need careful planning.

The attached paper, gives you some idea of the quantities of vehicles involved, but not any additional spares, ammo etc. There's a reason no-one in their right mind considers intercontinental large scale deployment by air. You'd probably only get one return sortie a day out of your airlifter, which for a fleet of 50 aircraft (of which you might have 40 available) is going to take a long time to move 5000 vehicles (broadly what's in that paper). You're also assuming the reason for doing so is that they're somehow more survivable.

http://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a264943.pdf

Trying to make an armoured force air-portable is how you end up with a comedy like FRES.....


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Old 11th Mar 2020, 14:41
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Racedo,

History proves that we do seem to fight the new War using the last War's equipment and strategy.

That certainly is not the wise way of doing it.....and what is worse we. have found no new ways to lose a way as efficiently as we have from Vietnam forward.
True

The best way to win a war is to decide whether you should be fighting it first, FDR / IKE etc understood that with sole aim of overthrowing the Austrian Painters regime being the only focus.

Sadly everytime US gets involved there is a huge long list of what they want to achieve rather than a single aim, think it was Congressional Audit Office that looked at Afghanistan aims of this administration, there were pages and pages of them such that everybody could find something they supported, problem was it is great supporting it from Topeka but no one in Afghanistan knows or cares. This didn't even look at the private companies that sucking billions out of wars, if your company is making $50 million a year from a war then your house image and lifestyle will ensure you fund politicians who continue the war.
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 15:43
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Sounds like the carriers could use a carrier based twin engine MPA/ASW aircraft with good endurance, good sensors and payload capability for these cross ocean sea control operations. Oh wait, the US Navy retired the S-3 Viking, that still had plenty of fatigue life left, went with helos for short range ASW, and abandoned any replacement aircraft to pay for more "fighters" for the land strike mission ........
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Old 11th Mar 2020, 17:06
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The current edition of "Proceedings", published by the US Naval Institute, has several articles about interoperability of Allied Fleets and the need to be able to counter multiple nation threats rather than just the Russian Navy.

Some studies show the USN needs to have 355 ships....and can not reach that number until 2034 or so with new construction.

A companion article raises the concern that USN Cost Cutting Measures has focused upon Manpower cuts rather than other areas.

We saw a similar issue back during the Reagan/Lehman buildup when ships were built without adequate attention being paid to later years support and crewing demands.

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Old 11th Mar 2020, 23:07
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Oh wait, the US Navy retired the S-3 Viking, that still had plenty of fatigue life left,
Nice to know that the UK isn't the only country to do things like that.
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 18:57
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Oh wait, the US Navy retired the S-3 Viking, that still had plenty of fatigue life left
As at 2015 Eighty-seven S-3s are being kept in mothballs at Davis-Monthan
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 21:50
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Originally Posted by sandiego89 View Post
Sounds like the carriers could use a carrier based twin engine MPA/ASW aircraft with good endurance, good sensors and payload capability for these cross ocean sea control operations. Oh wait, the US Navy retired the S-3 Viking, that still had plenty of fatigue life left, went with helos for short range ASW, and abandoned any replacement aircraft to pay for more "fighters" for the land strike mission ........
The roles and missions debate after the Gulf War of 1991, and the BRAC that followed, left a lot of stuff bleeding on the floor, the S-3 being only one of them. Rummy's aim to shrink the Navy before the decision to head into Iraq sealed the fate of some other systems ... but it took until 2008 to finally retire the T-2 Buckeye. back on topic ...
Ever since I was (in a very small corner of a large room) involved in some JSF (and then F-35) stuff, early 00's, and once I'd operated for real with Global Hawks, Predators, and a few other drones, it occurred to me that F-35 is the last manned fighter we'll ever need. The X-47B UCAV trials on a CV only underscores my feeling on that.
They'll start with unmanned tankers, or at least that's what they said last year.
It may take a few decades, but what I think will happen is that fewer and fewer manned aircraft will be flown or needed, and they'll operate in conjunction with unmanned aircraft from seaborne platforms. But that's gonna take a while to implement and flesh out.
How many carriers are needed, how big they are, and how many people to man them, is the next hard problemn to solve in the mid to long term.
Short term: necessary.
And when we do transition, we still have a whole family of large amphibs that may provide the deck and hangar space needed.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 07:17
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https://www.defensenews.com/naval/20...raft-carriers/

Defense Department study calls for cutting 2 of the US Navy’s aircraft carriers

WASHINGTON – An internal Office of the Secretary of Defense assessment calls for the Navy to cut two aircraft carriers from its fleet, freeze the large surface combatant fleet of destroyers and cruisers around current levels and add dozens of unmanned or lightly manned ships to the inventory, according to documents obtained by Defense News.

The study calls for a fleet of nine carriers, down from the current fleet of 11, and for 65 unmanned or lightly manned surface vessels. The study calls for a surface force of between 80 and 90 large surface combatants, and an increase in the number of small surface combatants – between 55 and 70, which is substantially more than the Navy currently operates.

The assessment is part of an ongoing DoD-wide review of Navy force structure and seem to echo what Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been saying for months: the Defense Department wants to begin de-emphasizing aircraft carriers as the centerpiece of the Navy's force projection and put more emphasis on unmanned technologies that can be more easily sacrificed in a conflict and can achieve their missions more affordably.

A DoD spokesperson declined to comment on the force structure assessment. "We will not comment on a DoD product that is pre-decisional,” said Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt.........

The Navy is currently developing a family of unmanned surface vessels that are intended to increase the offensive punch for less money, while increasing the number of targets the Chinese military would have to locate in a fight. That’s a push that earned the endorsement of the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday in comments late last year.

“I know that the future fleet has to include a mix of unmanned,” Gilday said. “We can’t continue to wrap $2 billion ships around 96 missile tubes in the numbers we need to fight in a distributed way, against a potential adversary that is producing capability and platforms at a very high rate of speed. We have to change the way we are thinking.”

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