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#21 RETAC21

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 1048 AM

 

 

 

 

The RN deserves more credit than it gets. Its pioneered all the major innovations in carrier airpower barring nuclear power. So maybe we should cut them a bit of slack here is all im saying.

 

Not really, AEW was "invented" by the Americans, open hangars too, deck layouts and parking, too, the angled deck and the lens system are just components of a wider system.

 

More to the point, why use a large V-22 when a smaller drone will suffice?

 

 

Angled decks, traps, AND the 'ball'. And pioneered the operation of Jets off of aircraft carriers. And the Ski Jump which I notice your own Navy has adopted. These are not trivial achievements.

 

 

They are not, but didn't happen in a vacuum, they were required due to the smaller size of RN carriers and the new jets, same as the steam catapult, and while not detracting from British ingenuity, eventually they would be invented. Ski jump is the same, needed if you fly Harriers mainly, the others copied it.


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#22 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 1053 AM

And not forgetting the steam catapult. :)  Oddly enough, the first landing on a ship at sea took place a few miles from the site of my home (which would not be built for another 20 years). 

 

I wasnt sure where the yanks invented the steam catapult so I left it out, but fair enough. For better or for worse, we made damn every innovation in carrier air, the only exception was the nuclear reactor and that was largely because Rickover was a complete nutter. :)

Ive always had a soft spot for the sopwith pup. There was a Galbraith who was an ace in ww1 in the RCNAS, no relation though afaik.

 

 

To me, it makes no sense to have a twin engined turboprop with 5 people on board, when you could just as easily do this job via drone and a data-link. Or even, as the Iranians found, buddy data-link and a good fighter radar. Its perfectly true we REALLY needed a proper AEW in the Falklands, but that is, astonishingly, 37 years ago. We are nearly as far from the Falklands as the Falklands veterans were from WW2.  Technology moves on.

 

There I promised I wouldnt argue so Ill shut up now.


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#23 Chris Werb

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Posted 03 August 2019 - 1747 PM

With antennae there is no substitute for size. Whether the platform is manned or not, it is going to be pretty hefty. Compare the size of Global Hawk with the U-2. You obviously gain in some ways, particularly endurance.
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#24 RETAC21

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 0748 AM

With antennae there is no substitute for size. Whether the platform is manned or not, it is going to be pretty hefty. Compare the size of Global Hawk with the U-2. You obviously gain in some ways, particularly endurance.

 

Or you use more antennas. If you needs a really big one then you use a land based AWACs. but several smaller ones will give better coverage.


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#25 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 0818 AM

 

With antennae there is no substitute for size. Whether the platform is manned or not, it is going to be pretty hefty. Compare the size of Global Hawk with the U-2. You obviously gain in some ways, particularly endurance.

 

Or you use more antennas. If you needs a really big one then you use a land based AWACs. but several smaller ones will give better coverage.

 

 

Yes, thats my thought also. And if the F35's capabilities are anything like claimed, that is pretty much what we are going to get. Doesnt strike me as impossible you could mount an antenna on the back of an X47 either.

 

Also, it should be remembered, on many occasions carriers will be operating in range of a land based AWAC's. Ok, perhaps something more of a challenge if you are going to the South Atlantic, or the mid pacific, but its not impossible.


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#26 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 0904 AM

If you use smaller drones with smaller antennas, you're going to need more of them. They will also have to be a lot further away to give the same distance coverage, will be more vulnerable as they will have to get closer to the enemy, take up more time transiting to and from their patrol zones,  and during the launch/recovery cycle. They will also almost certainly take up more space on the ship (unless they're stackable)


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#27 RETAC21

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 1528 PM

If you use smaller drones with smaller antennas, you're going to need more of them. They will also have to be a lot further away to give the same distance coverage, will be more vulnerable as they will have to get closer to the enemy, take up more time transiting to and from their patrol zones,  and during the launch/recovery cycle. They will also almost certainly take up more space on the ship (unless they're stackable)

 

All of those factors are dependent on the size of the drone, if you are going for large ones, then yes, but then you have a larger antenna, and you need less, etc. if you are going for smaller ones, you can base them off the carrier and free deck space for strike assets. If you are rich, you can have both, as that seems to be the path the USN has taken with the MQ-8C and the MQ-25. Note the MQ-25 is the size of an F-18 so smaller than an E-2


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#28 Burncycle360

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 1529 PM

Could a helicopter or V-22 probe and drogue off a ship like a hummingbird?


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#29 shep854

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 1659 PM

Could a helicopter or V-22 probe and drogue off a ship like a hummingbird?

Called HIFR, for Helicopter In-Flight Refuelling. I think it is a pretty routine drill.
The helo hovers close to the ship and hauls up a fuel line which the cabin crew plugs in .

Edited by shep854, 04 August 2019 - 1700 PM.

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#30 Chris Werb

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 0219 AM

If you're basing them off the carrier they're still going to displace and interfere with something else. We are now talking VTOL drones which will have much lower transit speeds, service ceilings and endurance than CTOL fixed wing manned aircraft. This really isn't a viable proposition.
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#31 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 0225 AM

If you're basing them off the carrier they're still going to displace and interfere with something else. We are now talking VTOL drones which will have much lower transit speeds, service ceilings and endurance than CTOL fixed wing manned aircraft. This really isn't a viable proposition.

 

What if you use a V22? Or if you are hard up for space, something like an AW609 could provide ample room for a decent radar setup, if you stripped out the cabin.

s-agustawestland-aw609-tiltrotor.jpg

 

As a drone, you dont really want them to do much. Fly a racetrack pattern, refuel from hose, takeoff land.

 

Speed, well a V22 is 75 knots slower than a Hawkeye. Although I cant really see this as an issue, if you provide a longer lead time for them to get on station. If may mean you need more airframes, but if you can make the airframe smaller than a Hawkeye, again, this might not be a problem.

 

 

 

Of course, it takes money to develop. Which is probably why legacy systems like the Hawkeye linger on.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 06 August 2019 - 0229 AM.

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#32 DB

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 0903 AM

Distributed airborne radar is being investigated, with UAVs being the obvious platforms.

A quick search finds only academic papers, nevertheless, it should not be overlooked.
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#33 Burncycle360

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1413 PM

I think I'm with Chris on this one.  Explore drones and distributed airborne radars,  sure. Work out the kinks, sure.... But in the meantime, hedge your bets -- a V-22 could carry a radar and  I think it's safer to surmise they could go further and higher than a helicopter based AEW, with greater on station time and better transit times, even if not as good as an E1/E2 fixed wing.  It could theoretically conduct HIFR refueling at one of the outer screen vessels of the task force then go back out on station rather than go all the way back to the carrier to refuel,  therefore minimizing downtime and reducing the workload on the carrier too, but I wouldn't know where to begin quantifying the benefits / tradeoffs of operating that way.

Although the drone idea of offboarding the data processing and turning it into simply a node that lofts the antenna may have it's advantages (See ASTOR Sentinel versus E8 JSTARS), having some onboard processing also has it's advantages in a hypothetical shooting war.  There's nothing that says you can't retain the ability to do both once the distributed system matures, especially if the hypothetical AEW uses an F-35 derivative radar (with presumably a much larger aperture / antenna)

The main hurdle (other than where to put the Antenna) I think would be the conditions the crew would encounter as far as useful altitude goes.    The V-22 isn't pressurized -- so they can get to 25,000 feet with everyone sucking oxygen, but from what I've been able to find environmental controls will only give you +-10 degrees Fahrenheit (+-5.5 Celsius) over ambient, which may be -34.5 C at those altitudes, so I don't suppose they routinely fly there even for ferry missions.  Tanker crews might chuckle at this (since they have to fight effectively from inside an oven or freezer), but coordinating the air battle dressed like you're climbing mount Everest may be one of those intangibles that affect effectiveness....  so maybe it isn't safe to assume you can routinely exceed the average altitude of helicopter based AEW, and thus run into issues with similar radar horizons.   Although an AW609 IS pressurized, it doesn't fold up like optimus prime for deck space purposes... I suppose that's okay on something like a QE / Príncipe de Asturias, but I don't imagine you'd ever see them on something like an LHA.   On the whole, perhaps that would be the better route to go but would have it's own issues (Marinisation, addition of military required features, etc)
 


Edited by Burncycle360, 06 August 2019 - 1418 PM.

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#34 rmgill

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1721 PM

I think there were some mutterings for a while about getting some kind of AEW variant for the QE class carriers, but it quickly got killed by $$$$.

Dust off some Fairey Gannets? 


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#35 rmgill

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1728 PM

Well Merlin can reach 15000 feet, which seems to be adequate for most circumstances. Ive always thought the Hawkeye was far too much aircraft for a carrier deck. The Skyraider and Gannet AEW's always struck me as far neater solutions, regardless of the undoubted capabilities of the Hawkeye.

 





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#36 rmgill

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1732 PM

Could a helicopter or V-22 probe and drogue off a ship like a hummingbird?


Like the Canadian Bear Trap system but with a fuel pipe? Hmmm.....seems kinda dangerous. Pump JP8 into the cargo compartment of the aircraft?  :o


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#37 Chris Werb

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1806 PM

 

I think there were some mutterings for a while about getting some kind of AEW variant for the QE class carriers, but it quickly got killed by $$$$.

Dust off some Fairey Gannets? 

 

 

That was already tried in 1982.  They were literally visiting museums according to one credible account I read  :)

 

We "gapped" AEW after the Sea King ASAC 7 retirement in September last year. We are purchasing 10 Crowsnest radar kits to be moved around between the 20 Merlin HM2s in service, with an IOC expected for late 2020.  It's a pale shadow of the E-2D, but better than nothing. 

 

Helicopters DO refuel whilst airborne from surface ships.


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#38 shep854

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1921 PM


Could a helicopter or V-22 probe and drogue off a ship like a hummingbird?


Like the Canadian Bear Trap system but with a fuel pipe? Hmmm.....seems kinda dangerous. Pump JP8 into the cargo compartment of the aircraft?  :o
See my above post about HIFR... ;)
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#39 shep854

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1927 PM

HIFR video
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=zqEv15vqmRg

Edited by shep854, 06 August 2019 - 1928 PM.

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#40 rmgill

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 1933 PM

Also, you'll want some sort of Greyhound analogue as well. If you need engines flown out to the carrier. Can an F-35 engine fit in the back of a V-22? 
 


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