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#761 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 1358 PM

Well compare and contrast the crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth, 679.  Then compare it with the USS Gerald Ford, which has over 4000 people. Now Ill grant you, the QE number probably doent include maintainance crew. Lets say and 300/400 people for sake are argument. So the Americans are getting a 40 percent bigger vessel for over x4 as many people as the QE. Which to my mind does look a trifle overmanned, particularly compared to how small US Airwings are these days.

 

Ill be the first to admit the F35B is unproven. But as far as combat capabilities the only apparent offset it has against the C is range, and you can make that up with buddying. The only real advantage im seeing from a cat is the ability to use Hawkeye, and it does not strike me as impossible to build a variant of Opsrey (or as we are doing, EH101) and do that.

 

There is a video on youtube from an Admiral who played a part in the design of the Gerald Ford, and he completely rejected the VSTOL carrier out of hand because you cant do so much with it. Which is true, except when you look how purged the air wings have become in recent years its also becoming increasingly irrelevant.


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#762 Daan

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 1535 PM

That's a QE's complement without air crew and staff. The Gerald Ford should be over 4500 with air crew and staff, including those needed to operate the nuclear reactor which gives it a much better endurance and speed.

 

The catapult provides it with the capability to launch aircraft at greater speed than a ski jump, allowing for a larger payload in terms of fuel and ordnance. Moreover, the catapult system can launch heavier aircraft such as the C-2, E-2 and previously the F-14. It is no wonder that the Chinese are set to switch to a catapult system for their next carrier. Supposedly, their current ski jump system allows the J-15 only to launch with very little fuel and weaponry.

 

The F-35B has only 67% of the internal fuel capacity of the F-35C and its ski jump launch may well restrict the amount of external fuel to be taken on a mission. In addition, the landing requires more fuel than a catching a wire on deck. The relative lack of internal fuel on the F-35B is not compensated for by a buddy system, as this sacrifices aircraft that could have been used for other missions. This results in weird antics like the French Super Etandards operating over Afghanistan with 2 aircraft carrying just a single 500 pound bomb between them.

 

US carrier air wings may no longer be as voluminous as in the past, but I would be surprised if a QE is seen to be carrying more than a dozen or so F-35Bs on operations; befitting the great British tradition of 'fitted for, but not with'.


Edited by Daan, 09 May 2019 - 1549 PM.

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#763 Josh

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 1607 PM

I believe J-15s can launch with full fuel and a normal A2A load, however only from the third launch position all the way at the edge of the angle deck. So sortie rate is slow, along with the fact that the lander pattern is occupied during launch cycles using that position.

 

US CVs are rather under utilized compared to the massive airwings of the 80's, but this partly due to a huge decrease in specialization (A2A, attack, and interdiction are the same aircraft now) and also the fact that free deck space helps with sortie rates overall during high temo operations. That said I'm sure the admirals would love another attack squadron and another ECM/AEW or two in the CVW. In the future perhaps drones can fill in the free space left by the small air wing. Also in war time, it would be possible to surge additional squadrons to deploy CVs so long as they were currently qualified.


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#764 Adam_S

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 1620 PM

The deciding factor for the UK taking the F-35B IIRC was that it was easier to keep pilots carrier qualified. Similar to how Joint Force Harrier used to operate, the idea was to have a small, standing airgroup of Fleet Air Arm personnel which could be topped up to full strength by adding RAF squadrons if needed. I guess the RAF went along with the idea to stave off the possibility of buying the F-35C and giving them all to the Navy instead.


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#765 Daan

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 1634 PM

According to the wiki, in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010:

 


It was also announced that the operational carrier would have catapult and arrestor gear (CATOBAR) installed to accommodate the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter rather than the short-take off and vertical-landing version.

 

The decision to convert Prince of Wales to CATOBAR was reviewed after the projected costs rose to around double the original estimate. On 10 May 2012, the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced in Parliament that the government had decided to revert to its predecessor's plans to purchase the F-35B rather than the F-35C, and to complete both aircraft carriers with ski-jumps in the STOVL configuration.

The total cost of the work that had been done on the conversion to a CATOBAR configuration, and of reverting the design to the original STOVL configuration, was estimated by Philip Hammond to be "something in the order of £100 million". In later testimony before a parliamentary committee, Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, revealed that even though the carriers had been sold as adaptable and easy to convert for CATOBAR, no serious effort had been made in this direction since 2002.


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#766 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 0221 AM

That's a QE's complement without air crew and staff. The Gerald Ford should be over 4500 with air crew and staff, including those needed to operate the nuclear reactor which gives it a much better endurance and speed.

 

The catapult provides it with the capability to launch aircraft at greater speed than a ski jump, allowing for a larger payload in terms of fuel and ordnance. Moreover, the catapult system can launch heavier aircraft such as the C-2, E-2 and previously the F-14. It is no wonder that the Chinese are set to switch to a catapult system for their next carrier. Supposedly, their current ski jump system allows the J-15 only to launch with very little fuel and weaponry.

 

The F-35B has only 67% of the internal fuel capacity of the F-35C and its ski jump launch may well restrict the amount of external fuel to be taken on a mission. In addition, the landing requires more fuel than a catching a wire on deck. The relative lack of internal fuel on the F-35B is not compensated for by a buddy system, as this sacrifices aircraft that could have been used for other missions. This results in weird antics like the French Super Etandards operating over Afghanistan with 2 aircraft carrying just a single 500 pound bomb between them.

 

US carrier air wings may no longer be as voluminous as in the past, but I would be surprised if a QE is seen to be carrying more than a dozen or so F-35Bs on operations; befitting the great British tradition of 'fitted for, but not with'.

 

Agreed, but I find it difficult to believe its going to add up to more than 1600, and probably a lot less. That is as many berths as they have on board. You have a ship 40 percent smaller, and just over a quarter of the ground staff.

 

No sure about external fuel issues. I did read on the Harrier they had an issue with the speed at hitting the ramp which could cause nose wheel damage damage if it was too fast. But in F35 thats yet to be proven an issue.

 

Here are 2 advantages of the lack of cats and traps. You only have one ramp, yet you can keep it running continuously, no need for a reset or having to set stream pressure (not an issue in the Ford admittedly). And you can land on more than one aircraft at a time. As you are probably going to use about 2000lbs of fuel just flying the circuit to come onboard, that is something of an advantage.

 

Yes, that was Camerons brilliant idea to further impoverish the Carrier project. Though looking back I think it was done purely as a justification for retiring the Harrier early, and it backfired. Without access to American catapult equipment, it was never going to work. At least we have avoided the cat problems the Gerald Ford ran into.

 

Fair one on buddy systems, im just illustrating with an airwing of 42 aircraft (I guess we have that already near enough) we can afford to have a couple with tanks and a buddy system. Its less of an issue on these ships than it would have been on the Invincible class (not that we ever employed it to my knowledge) 

And its not as if the RAF tanker fleet isnt very long ranged. Ive been picking up Voyagers flying over my house direct from Brize Norton to the Falkland Islands. Thats a capability worth thinking about in supporting carrier operations, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 10 May 2019 - 0222 AM.

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#767 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 0224 AM

The deciding factor for the UK taking the F-35B IIRC was that it was easier to keep pilots carrier qualified. Similar to how Joint Force Harrier used to operate, the idea was to have a small, standing airgroup of Fleet Air Arm personnel which could be topped up to full strength by adding RAF squadrons if needed. I guess the RAF went along with the idea to stave off the possibility of buying the F-35C and giving them all to the Navy instead.

 

They are still fighting a rearguard action to bin the rest of the F35B and buy F35A. Im not quite sure why, the Typhoon is completely adequate to the task of defending UK airspace. And who needs to overfly enemy airspace when we have stormshadow?


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#768 DB

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0502 AM

Sigh.
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#769 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0513 AM

This was 2016. Its been repeated since in more or less reputable papers. The last time I saw it repeated was at the beginning of the year.

 

https://www.flightgl...-35-fle-427136/

A Royal Air Force official has revealed that the UK has not ruled out acquiring a mixed fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35s, as the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B that is currently contracted carries out its first display to the British public.

Speaking at the Royal International Air Tattoo on 8 July, where a British F-35B flew, along with US Marine Corps aircraft and US Air Force F-35As, Air Cdre Linc Taylor, assistant chief of staff for capability delivery, combat air said the UK’s commitment to a full acquisition of 138 aircraft may leave room for discussions on also operating the conventional take-off and landing variant.

The UK committed to the acquisition of all planned F-35s in its Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) released in November 2015, although this raised questions about whether it might consider acquiring a mixed fleet of the type.

“What we will do as we go forward into the next SDSR – we have reaffirmed our intent to buy the 138 in the last SDSR – we will look at air force mix,” Taylor told journalists at RIAT. “There is an absolute benefit to maximising combat air power with interoperability with [Eurofighter] Typhoons and the capability from the [Royal Navy's future aircraft] carrier.

“We will look at all of those options as we go forward into the next SDSR.”


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#770 Jeff

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 1011 AM

Agreed, but I find it difficult to believe its going to add up to more than 1600, and probably a lot less. That is as many berths as they have on board. You have a ship 40 percent smaller, and just over a quarter of the ground staff.

 

The question is how much of that reduction is truly not needed and how much of that is due to way too optimistic peacetime needs for comfortable cruising and lazy sortie rates in order to reduce the cost of the complement. The US found that the manning planned for the LCS was way too optimistic. Once you hit wartime use and sortie rates, the need for additional crew to keep mainenance up, repair damage and keep from running your crew into the ground with a fast op-tempo meant the real crew needs were much higher. US CVNs find themselves using wartime op-tempo much more often given the needs for air support and patrol over the hot sandy troublesome spots we find ourselves.


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#771 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 1019 AM

Which is a fair point. I WILL say the USN was exploring something along the lines of a smaller, cheaper carrier. You can here this man who was head of the design team who explored the idea, albeit temporarily. From what he says, the concern was less the personnel (which was a design objective of the Gerald Ford I believe, along with reduced cost) than the lack of capablity it gave. Though as I said before, the air wings on US Carriers are so pruned of anything other than F18's these days, I have to reflect the flexability they put so highly just isnt being utilized.

 

I dont know, the thing that worries me most is that its not nuclear powered, I think we missed a trick doing that personally.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 19 May 2019 - 1020 AM.

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#772 DB

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 1428 PM

There was a panicky set of news stories a month or two ago that mistook the RN decision that the CV's crew needed to be a bit higher with "the RN doesn't have the manpower to run these ships." The latter might be true due to recruitment issues, but wasn't related to the original disclosure.

 

The air group increases the ship's complement substantially - the standard crew is about 700, to which can be added another 900 for the air group and/or up to 250 Royal Marines (i.e. maximum expected is 1600).

 

One can imagine that a lean crew would cause problems if one were trying to have a high op tempo for a sustained period, but quite frankly, before that becomes a problem we'd have run out of national weapon stocks of everything except baked beans and tea bags.


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#773 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 0216 AM

Yeah, I cant see her carrying a full group of Royal Marines AND an F35 air wing. I think its going to be an either/or option as part of the swing role they envisaged, when they decided to bin Ocean. Unless they fancy pitching tents on the flight deck.

 

There has been a minor scandal. The Captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been removed from command amidst allegations he misused the ships Ford Galaxy. Thats right, he commands a ship that consumes more diesel than a family car would get through in an average century, and they are chasing him up over using the sodding car.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48375064

 

You kind of wonder how the MOD would have coped with Nelsons transgressions. :D


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 23 May 2019 - 0217 AM.

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#774 Chris Werb

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1224 PM

What would 700 people do on a modern ship that boasts considerable automation.
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#775 rmgill

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1258 PM

Damage control. Repairs. Watch Standing over the automation. 


Edited by rmgill, 24 May 2019 - 1258 PM.

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#776 R011

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1410 PM

Yeah, I cant see her carrying a full group of Royal Marines AND an F35 air wing. I think its going to be an either/or option as part of the swing role they envisaged, when they decided to bin Ocean. Unless they fancy pitching tents on the flight deck.

 

There has been a minor scandal. The Captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth has been removed from command amidst allegations he misused the ships Ford Galaxy. Thats right, he commands a ship that consumes more diesel than a family car would get through in an average century, and they are chasing him up over using the sodding car.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48375064

 

You kind of wonder how the MOD would have coped with Nelsons transgressions. :D

 

Word is that he was warned repeatedly that the use was inappropriate and that his wife used it frequently.


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#777 Panzermann

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1414 PM

Damage control. Repairs. Watch Standing over the automation. 

 

that is actually a serious problem for warships today. OTOH less crew, because automation. OTOH that also means less crew for damage control Which limits the size of the ships in relation to crew size.


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#778 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 0241 AM

Here is the thing. We have ships that travel all over the world with  increasingly small crews. Its even possible today to command ships via remote control. In some parts of norway they are already doing it via ferries. Its increasingly ridiculous to not condede that automation inevitably has a role in warships, as it gets more and more costly to build these leviathans.

 

Whilst a carrier is a far, far more complicated machine, it does seem a strange argument you need 4000 crew to stop a carrier under attack sinking. To have a realistic effort to kill a 100000 supercarrier, you are going to have to hit it with a tactical nuke, or with enough conventional weapons to turn it into a cullinder. In either of those circumstances the chances of saving a carrier from extensive battle damage is remote. The example of the Forrestal and the Oriskany is interesting, but how common is that? Its not as if the QE's dont incorporate a lot of new equipment to deal with flight deck fires.

 

If we approached building a carrier in that fashion, we wouldnt have one, let alone two. And whilst I can accept a lot of the arguments the USN are making are good ones, it has to be said they were also looking at a carrier somewhere between an Invincible class and a Queen Elizabeth class carrier as long ago as the 1970's to handle regional security roles. The large carrier mafia dismissed it for the reasons the admiral above did. Overlooking a lot of those capabilities were not very useful in the regional roles the smaller carriers were to be built for.

 

For us, I think we made the right call.  Would I prefer a nuclear powered warship? Yes. Though looking at the Charles De Gaulle, as far as ships crews, we have 2 flight decks for their one. And its a smaller ship.

https://en.wikipedia...arles_de_Gaulle


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 25 May 2019 - 0246 AM.

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#779 Daan

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 0852 AM

The French had intended to built a second CVN, but this never went through due to budget cuts.

 

It is interesting that the French Navy operates 43 Rafale Ms (out of 48 delivered) to have a sufficient aircraft available for training, maintenance, operations on a single carrier etc. The UK has so far ordered 48 F-35s which will have to be split between the airforce, navy and, presumably, two carriers. I know that a number of 138 F-35s is planned, but this still has to materialize.


Edited by Daan, 25 May 2019 - 0852 AM.

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#780 Chris Werb

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 1046 AM

The French had intended to built a second CVN, but this never went through due to budget cuts.

 

It is interesting that the French Navy operates 43 Rafale Ms (out of 48 delivered) to have a sufficient aircraft available for training, maintenance, operations on a single carrier etc. The UK has so far ordered 48 F-35s which will have to be split between the airforce, navy and, presumably, two carriers. I know that a number of 138 F-35s is planned, but this still has to materialize.

 

48 is more than enough for photo opportunities off remote sandboxes and Third World shitholes.


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