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Alternatives to CVF

zen

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No this should not be topic dominated by arguments for smaller carriers.
Nor for general equipment for every soldier.
What it must be is the alternative means to deliver effects.
In this case airpower.

There seems to be 2 alternative options.

1. Long ranged airpower.
Whether that is a large and slow B52-like platform, delivering munitions first at great stand-off ranges and then closing for long endurance at close range.
Or a medium supersonic type still able to deliver such capabilities in smaller quantities.
But still much more substantial than Tornado.
The Tornado being limited in range/endurance and requiring the expense and limitation of tanking to extend range/endurance.

2. Artillery
Primarily rocket and cruise missiles. Obviously of much greater range than GMLRS.
And Obviously delivering a range of effects beyond simple explosives.
Needing drones and data links.

Of these the self contained projection of airpower by long ranged systems has the drawback of long transit times. Rapid adaption and change is only possible within the limits of the ordinance carried.
This is what a carrier and close ranged airpower have in common is the means to switch rapidly.
However the long ranged air system is more rapid in the initial deployment.
Ships and closer Artillery take much longer to deploy. But deliver much greater endurance.

Ideally you cover all options and have all 3 variations of delivering airpower effects.
But within budgets this may not be possible.

Long ranged Artillery has the potential to be an expansion of close ranged extent systems. Logistically this could be the most affordable.
But reliance on datalinks and drones makes it vulnerable.
 

Archibald

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Let the madness begin...

- seaplane striking force - Seamaster "bombers" and Sea dart "fighters" - refueled at sea by boats and submarines.

- modern battleships: 4*big guns plus cruise missiles, drones, long range SAMs, Polaris SLBM, Harriers and choppers

- multirole small flattop (amphibious + ASW-Tracker-Viking + "helicopter carrier" + "Harrier carrier" + commandos)

- arsenal ship (with a boatload of cruise missiles)

- mobile offshore base

- nuclear submarine - carrying VSTOL aircraft / helicopters / drones / cruise missiles

It is amazing, the number of varied "things" you can "fly" out of a hull large enough... :)
- 16-inch shells
- helicopters
- drones
- cruise missiles
- VSTOL combat aircraft
- CATOBAR / STOBAR combat aircraft
- ASW aircraft with catapults (Tracker, Viking)
- ASW aircraft without catapults (Osprey)
- Polaris ballistic missiles
- SAM (Terrier, Tartar...)
- ABM (Aegis)
 
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zen

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Yes a carrier is by definition good at carrying stuff.

Like people.
It's quite hard to squeeze people into a medium bomber.
Let alone strapping them to rockets to get them to the area of interest.

But a big ship....well It's not as fast as sat an airliner, but it certainly carries much more.

So when looked at holistically, the Carrier is a very efficient means to deliver a wide variety of capabilities to somewhere.
And for a island state, ships are inevitable to move the bulk of civilian and military 'stuff'.

Whereas for the UK getting stuff to say the middle east by land, would require a very long journey. It's actually quicker by sea and less subject to multiple permissions.
Fortunately Turkey is still a NATO member and there is bridge over the Bosphorus. Otherwise we'd have to go via Russia and Caucasian states.

Obviously going by aircraft is quicker still, but the cost of moving heavy materials is prohibitive save for small amounts. So good for short duration and small scale operations.

Actually that reveals the secret sauce in making small light quick forces work. Intelligence.
Only with very good Intelligence can you react quickly in small scale to avoid the need for slower and much larger scale use of force.

And getting good Intelligence is not cheap.
From deployed satellites to long standing deep cover agents. To the vast aparatus for deciphering that information. The hidden power of Intelligence cannot be underestimated.

And then there is willpower.
Often until thing become very bad politicians will not feel the pressing need to order action. Knowing the risks of failure and the political consequences of loosing people.

It was a lack of perceived willpower that has drawn enemies to act against us. Thinking we would not act or worse thinking we approved of their behaviour.
Thus the Falklands, The Invasion of Kuwait, the Invasion of Poland etc....

Perceived weakness and unwillingness to act. To bluntly throw lives into the risk of death. Lures those of an aggressive persuasion to act against us.
 
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SteveO

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Cruise missile capability on every ship, submarine and aircraft. Might as well be able to launch them from land as well. Should be a common missile ideally able to cover land attack and anti-shipping.

Tempest program should produce a B-21 lite for maximum range, payload and sensors and a single engine optionally crewed light fighter for air defence, CAS or loyal wingman roles :)
 

SteveO

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Army Air Corp gets an all V-280 tiltrotor type force loaded up like Mil Hind's with ASRAAM, Brimstone, SPEAR 3, Martlet, Sea Venom missiles, rockets and guns. Might as well give it JSF level sensors so they can call in long range artillery and rocket strikes and do ISR.

Royal Artillery gets loads of lighter weight wheeled self propelled long range artillery and rocket systems.

Giant cargo airships to move it around in :D
 

Archibald

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It is amazing, the number of varied "things" you can "fly" out of a hull large enough... :)
- 16-inch shells
- helicopters
- drones
- cruise missiles
- VSTOL combat aircraft

- CATOBAR / STOBAR combat aircraft
- ASW aircraft with catapults (Tracker, Viking)

- ASW aircraft without catapults (Osprey)

- Polaris ballistic missiles
- SAM (Talos / Terrier / Tartar...)
- ABM (Aegis)
Hey, I just realized that the closest ship, ever, getting all that varied stuff was / were... the Iowa battleships !

I bolded everything they got for real and on paper and could have had in theory (Osprey didn't existed, but XV-15...)

8 out of 11. Un-be-lie-va-ble.

Would AEGIS be feasible ?

What can't be done, is CATOBAR... no Viking or Tracker or Tomcat, can land on an Iowa... o_O

How about a TL where they manage to stuff all this into USS Kentucky - by removing the two rear turrets ? That would be a batshit crazy ship, armed to the teeth... it would be nearly invincible....
 
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Archibald

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Here is how I would atempt that...
From USS Kentucky, as it stood, unfinished, in 1954...
Make room, make room !
- I would keep only two 16-inch guns in the front turret. In the second turret empty pit, I would stuff Polaris tubes and Regulus II (and later Tomahawk and Harpoons) land-attack missiles.
- Amid ship would be the SAMs (Talos / Terrier / Tartar - AEGIS in the 80's)
- And the rear part of the ship would be a miniature aircraft carrier - the two turrets would be removed.
From there would fly, helicopters, VSTOL combat aircraft, drones, and V-22s.

Job done. The ultimate arsenal ship ! It can do every single role: ASW, commando carrier, air defence, coastal bombing, nuclear war, ASM...
Imagine how happy the Marines would be. Ennemy defenses crushed by (altogether) 16-inch shells, Sea Cobras, Harriers, armed V-22s, Harpoons, Tomahawks, some Ryan "Lightning bugs" drones with LGBs...
 
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zen

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another missing piece in the spectrum.
Airpower needs to remove the defence against it's use.
Once a permissive environment is achieved, high to medium altitude aircraft can fly in relative security. Delivering effects where needed. Beyond reach of MANPADS.

But establishing that permissive environment, takes more specialist capabilities.
At the heart of that is the dark arts of ELINT and EW.
 

1Big Rich

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1Big Rich

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No this should not be topic dominated by arguments for smaller carriers.
Nor for general equipment for every soldier.
What it must be is the alternative means to deliver effects.
In this case airpower.
Cruise missile capability on every ship, submarine and aircraft. Might as well be able to launch them from land as well. Should be a common missile ideally able to cover land attack and anti-shipping.

Tempest program should produce a B-21 lite for maximum range, payload and sensors and a single engine optionally crewed light fighter for air defence, CAS or loyal wingman roles :)

I see CVF as an offensive platform, more sea control than sea denial. To SteveO's point, cruise missiles also offer a strike capability against both sea and land targets.

I would say an alternative for the UK might be something like the Ohio class SSGN conversions. Say in the early years of the 2000s four of five updated versions of the Vanguards are laid down, but instead of carrying ballistic missiles, they will carry Tomahawks.

What an SSGN cannot provide that a carrier can is fighter cover (CAP) and airborne early warning over the fleet. While those roles can be provided (theoretically) by land-based air, the Fleet needs to be operating near home or near foreign bases of their own land-based air. Perhaps large cruiser-sized ships with long-range vertical launched SAMs and large helicopter capacity could provide area air defense, as well carrying AEW helos in addition to ASW air-frames....

My thoughts,
 
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uk 75

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The CVF is not a CVA. It cannot launch long range deep strikes with A6,/Buccaneer style missions, though F35 is a lot closer to that capability than Sea Harrier.
Its primary role (until a new Defence Review adds any) is to operate with our allies in NATO.
Because it is a kind of LHA/LHD but with better air operations capability it will allow US Marine F35s and helicopters to crossdeck and add to the CVF airgroup.
This role draws on experiencr in the various operstions the RN has taken part in since 1989.
I sense in some posters either a wish to do Falklands 2 or reproduce the scenes in "Tomorrow never dies" where the RN is sent into bat against the Chinese fleet.
As long as it is working properly, a single Astute can put the Peter the Great or the Vladimir Putin to the bottom of the Atlantic just as a Trafalgar could Kiev or Kirov in the Cold War.
Its taken a long time to get here but the CVF is the right tool for the right job. Except of course thst the real war is against a nasty little virus....
 

zen

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The thing about threat of war is....it doesn't wait for you to be done with whatever other crisii are taxing your capabilities.
Bad guys don't wait for you to be done with your medical research.

If anything the suspicion you're not able to cope with a war because you're tackling a virus is exactly the sign of weakness that lures your opponents into action.

Get the ability to make war right, and a lot if the rest of a states abilities flow from that.

In the end CVF delivers the ability to carry stuff and have a nice big flight deck, hanger and aviation facilities.
Which you can send around the worlds oceans.
Which will turn out to be a very useful tool for all sorts of operations.
 

Archibald

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SSGN is really a terrific idea.
- Makes SSBNs far more useful considering their insane costs.
- Allows for "recycling" old SSBNs at the end or the middle of their useful lives
- Also - Regulus II revenge against Polaris, the irony !

I wish the French navy could get its head out of the... sand, and add the capability to our SSBN. Then again, Barracudas attack subs are supposed to handle that job.
 

1Big Rich

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SSGN is really a terrific idea.
- Makes SSBNs far more useful considering their insane costs.
- Allows for "recycling" old SSBNs at the end or the middle of their useful lives
- Also - Regulus II revenge against Polaris, the irony !

I wish the French navy could get its head out of the... sand, and add the capability to our SSBN. Then again, Barracudas attack subs are supposed to handle that job.
I still think the USN had a great idea on making the first four Ohios SSGNs. A tremendous number of Tomahawks, continuing to get the full service-life from the hulls.

I hope the RN will be adding the Virginia Payload Module to whatever submarines become the Astute's successors. It seems like a good capability added for relatively little cost.

As I suggested above, though, using the existing SSBN design would add more hulls and should cut unit cost. I know the Exchequer interferes, but it would great if the RN could have both....

You do have a good idea; keep SSBN production going, keep improving them and have the boats become SSGNs at mid-life, replaced by newer, better SSBNs in the deterrent role.

A good piece on the Block V Tomahawk here

Regards,
 

Archibald

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I still think the USN had a great idea on making the first four Ohios SSGNs. A tremendous number of Tomahawks, continuing to get the full service-life from the hulls.
They got a smaller but efficient Arsenal Ship out of old SSBNs. A good bargain indeed. Also far lower cost than aircraft carriers while delivering more *raw* firepower.
 

Hood

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I'm not sure what alternatives are meant to be pondered here?

Alternatives to power projection?
Alternatives as a floating airfield?
Alternatives as a platform for amphibious assault?
Alternatives as a long-range strategic striking platform?
Alternatives as an aerial protective umbrella for the fleet?
Alternatives for gunboat diplomacy?
Alternatives as an ASW platform?

An aircraft carrier derives its power from its airwing and owes its flexibility to those types of aircraft operated and to a certain extent by its command capabilities and space to stow other equipment.
An aircraft carrier has a set of pretty simple functions; to defend the fleet against aerial and surface attack (and to some extent sub-surface attack) and to make long-range strikes against sea and land targets. Any impact it has from its power projection is from the power of its airwing and the fleet than accompanies it.

Since the demise of the strike carrier fleet in the 1970s the RN had to make do with the Illustrious class as primarily an ASW asset but with its Sea Harriers was also a fairly decent provider of air defence for the fleet.
Since the Balkan Wars of the 90s there seems to have been a switch in thinking at the MoD, it no longer saw carriers as naval assets per se but as military assets. Effectively a floating mobile airfield for RAF operations. The CVF was not there to support the fleet, the fleet was to support it (one sign is that has no shipboard self-defence weapons capability at all). The CVF was seen as a way of getting RAF Harriers and F-35s from Blighty to wherever they needed to provide air support.
Sure enough FAA airpower was stripped away, the SHARs were ditched and RAF Harrier GR.9s moved in, purely air-ground strike platforms. The F-35 redresses the balance in being supremely capable of both roles. All the controversy of CTOL Vs VTOL rather misses the point, the airgroup is meant for supporting ground actions. It will probably be another decade or more before either ship ever carries more than a dozen F-35s at any one time (ignoring USMC co-opted units). The aircraft numbers are too low for effective tasking for aerial defence and long-range strike against any kind of peer threat. It has a good on paper AEW system in Crowsnest, the concept has proved sound since 1982 but AEW helicopters have never been tested in peer vs peer engagements.

All the usual cases of Serbia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone point at the the fundamental flaw, the concept of a mobile airstrip is fine against negligible enemy naval and counter-air threats. A carrier group operating at high tempo needs a large airwing, a large escorting fleet and it needs resources behind it, it needs replenishment ships, spares, ordnance, resupply. If the MoD hopes it can always plug in the CVFs to US naval groups and USMC squadrons for aircraft then maybe it can be done. But the idea of a lone CVF taskforce re-igniting the glories of East of Suez on the current shoe-string fleet is rather far fetched. As for flag waving, nothing highlights the prestige of the glories of British seapower stretching back to 1588 than HMS Queenie with a deckload of USMC F-35s and a couple of UK-flagged Merlins.

To afford CVF the fleet has been hollowed out in terms of ships, money and manpower. The CVFs have become the fleet. They are the sole purpose for the RN existing, to support these carriers (ignoring of course the SSBN fleet which quietly does its own job). The most worrying is that amphibious assault has been stripped back, rebuilt and now faces stripping back again. The current situation has probably dislocated the government's defence cut planning but the rumours in 2019 were not good for the amphibious fleet or the Royal Marines. So the CVF has had to step into the breech - because of its size and helicopter capacity - becoming not only a floating airfield for RAF operations but a floating troopship and makeshift Commando carrier. As I have said elsewhere, it seems ludicrous that a multi billion £ ship would be risked lying within reasonable distance of an enemy shore ferrying Royal Marines too and fro from land relying on Merlins. Can it do all three jobs at once? Air defence, strike and ground support and Commando assault? Building a dedicated LHA like other navies (Australia for one) has done would have seemed a more logical choice.

To me the MoD have taken everything about the carrier concept and reversed it, ignored the airwing which gives a carrier its power and instead tried to imbue in its carriers a power projection role based on troop lift and completely focused on the ships.


I must say that I do like 1Big Rich's SSGN idea. In my AU thoughts there was ample chance to design something during the gap between Vanguard and Astute. Fitting the PWR2 reactor meant Astute needed a bigger hull than the originally planned Trafalgar development. It would be interesting to speculate on a reduced length Vanguard development as an SSGN with an improved Trafalgar sonar suite matched with a suitably sized missile silo bay for, say, 60-100 Tomahawks. Even a two or three sub class would have been useful and boosted SSN numbers too, they could have come on stream around 2000/2001 and would have been ideally fitted to the long-range strikes the RN carried out since 2000.
Dare I say it could even have offered a way out of the overt SSBN role in the rising public rhetoric against such submarines for a more low-key dual conventional/nuclear SLCM load out.
 

EwenS

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I still think the USN had a great idea on making the first four Ohios SSGNs. A tremendous number of Tomahawks, continuing to get the full service-life from the hulls.
They got a smaller but efficient Arsenal Ship out of old SSBNs. A good bargain indeed. Also far lower cost than aircraft carriers while delivering more *raw* firepower.
But lets not forget how that opportunity came about. After only 10-13 years of service for those boats the USN carried out a Nuclear Posture Review and decided its strategic needs could be met by 14 instead of 18 Ohio class Trident boats even though some of those were still being built. That freed up the 4 boats for conversion to SSGN in 2002-08 when they still had nearly half their life remaining. Good use of vessels that would otherwise have been scrapped.

By the time our new Dreadnoughts start coming into service in 2028 the Vanguards will be 29-35 years old and nearing the end of their useful lives. It doesn't make conversion to SSGN such a good idea. The costs of refitting them and their nuclear powerplants and bringing them up to 2030 spec just can't be worth it. Others also question whether a sub is the best platform for launching cruise missiles. Doing so it loses the element of protection given by being underwater and leaves itself open to retaliation especially if it is having to get closer to shore that a Trident boat in order to deliver its relatively short ranged, compared to Trident (700mls v 7500mls), payload.
 

Archibald

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Shame they couldn't kept some SHARs or GR9 as strike assets on the QEs, to bolster the F-35s.
 

Archibald

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I still think the USN had a great idea on making the first four Ohios SSGNs. A tremendous number of Tomahawks, continuing to get the full service-life from the hulls.
They got a smaller but efficient Arsenal Ship out of old SSBNs. A good bargain indeed. Also far lower cost than aircraft carriers while delivering more *raw* firepower.
But lets not forget how that opportunity came about. After only 10-13 years of service for those boats the USN carried out a Nuclear Posture Review and decided its strategic needs could be met by 14 instead of 18 Ohio class Trident boats even though some of those were still being built. That freed up the 4 boats for conversion to SSGN in 2002-08 when they still had nearly half their life remaining. Good use of vessels that would otherwise have been scrapped.

By the time our new Dreadnoughts start coming into service in 2028 the Vanguards will be 29-35 years old and nearing the end of their useful lives. It doesn't make conversion to SSGN such a good idea. The costs of refitting them and their nuclear powerplants and bringing them up to 2030 spec just can't be worth it. Others also question whether a sub is the best platform for launching cruise missiles. Doing so it loses the element of protection given by being underwater and leaves itself open to retaliation especially if it is having to get closer to shore that a Trident boat in order to deliver its relatively short ranged, compared to Trident (700mls v 7500mls), payload.
At the end of the day, only the USN has a "critical mass" of SSBN large enough to afford the opportunity to turn some of them into SSGN. France and GB doesn't have that luxury.
 

uk 75

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In my lifetime the RN has only used its commando assault capability twice. In 1956 at Suez and in the Falklands in 1982. On numerous other occasions it has helicoptered marines ashore, usually without opposition.
Tanks have not been landed since Centurions rumbled through Port Said in 1956. Yet millions have Pounds were spent to allow Fearless/Intrepid then Albion/Bulwark to put a handful of Chieftains or Challengers ashore.
With a limited pot of money (about to get a lot more limited) MODUK tries to overreach.
Attack Carriers make sense if you are the US. The UK used them hardly at all in actual conflict since 1956 (unless you count the Beira patrol). Ark Royal never used its prestige Phantoms and Buccaneers in anger.
Tomahawks exist in such numbers in the USN that the RN weapons are deployed to signal political will rather than for any military purpose. President Johnson in Vietnam and later Donald Rumsfeld in Iraq wanted a handful of Brits for political support not for military effect.
 

zen

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Ahhh wonderful argument here.

Because a weapon system existed, it wasn't used.....
Or could it be that it's existence meant the potential for it's use deterred those who otherwise would act in such a way it's use would be desired?

In which case had that system not existed, events would be different and we'd be kicking ourselves that we didn't have this system.

Carriers, often the threat they so obviously exert, makes their use less likely.
It's a big visible stick, to go with the invisible SSN....

So when we rush a Carrier into the Gulf, Kassim's Iraq backs down. No actual fighting occurs.
But without the threat, Iraq would not have backed down.....requiring a lot more than one carrier's worth of airpower to reverse the situation.

When we station Eagle off Aden, it's to provide airpower to cover the withdrawal.
Not necessary if say we kept an airbase in Somaliland.....but we handed that over to Somalia and didn't ask the French in Djibouti to help. Could it be the price was to high?
So how would we have provided airpower to the withdrawal from Aden if we had no carriers?

How do we conduct the Beira Patrol without carriers? Javelins had reliability issues in Africa and the access to HNA wasn't easy in light of South Africa's politics.

Because we deployed a frigate and leaked that a SSN was headed into the South Atlantic. Argentina backed down.
Making some assume we didn't need the threat of force.
Which meant when we cut the Antarctic patrol ship, Argentina assumed we wouldn't contest it, if they took Falklands.

Speaking of the Falklands, it's after that that the rot set in for the RN. Increasingly favouring lots of assets but hollowing out the support behind them. The deal Thatcher did with the Admiralty.
 

Archibald

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There is also the Belize / Guatemela quagmire of 1972, brilliantly narrated by Rowland White. HMS Eagle and its Buccaneers saving the day.
Had Eagle not ran aground in October 1970 and permanently damaging its propulsion system, it might have been a turning point in NOT scrapping it in favor of cranky Ark Royal (and the death of the RN carrier fleet). Add to that the first Falklands scare of 1977...

It is a shame the USN (or US govt if you prefer) in the name of NATO couldn't help the MN and RN getting more and better carriers... bigger Clems and 1956 Medium carrier... where is FMS / MAP flow of money when you need it ?
 

Archibald

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Would it be possible to get some kind of system similar to *MAP funding Mystere IV despite being F-86 competitors* - except for navies / carriers ?

Consider the following: in the 70's, when the USN is losing its Essex and one of the three Midways, it kind of "offload" that size of carriers (30 000 - 50 000 tons range) to the only two NATO navies large enough to support them: RN and MN.
There are two ways
- either send military aid dollars flowing to GB and France so that they can afford more of their own carriers (non nuclear, earlier CdG or a revamped CVA-01, you get the point)
- or save them the trouble and build CVV for them (instead of Carter trying to ram it in place of Nimitz)

I wonder if the USN got a little anxious when the RN sunk its carrier fleet ? Not everyday is one of the NATO heavyweights throw the towel this way... did some teeth cringed in Washington ?

Shame that the "special relationship" that worked so well for the Polaris, couldn't extend to decent carriers...

NATO was lucky the Soviet Union wasn't a major carrier power. By the 70's France lost Arromanches and Great Britain lost all its fleet, plus the USN lost all the Essex and one Midway.

Quite a heavy toll...
 

uk 75

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Gentlemen you make my point
The Kuwait intervention, the Tanzania coup one (surprised you missed that),HMS Eagle's intimidation of Indonesian aggression (yep another one), the years of Beira patrol (undermined easily by South Africa), withdrawal from Aden (The RN took full advantage of that, the RAF having conducted most air operations in the bitter and futile war).
Ah yes the Belize/Guatemala confrontation. It was the RAF who deployed a flight of Harriers there for years..
I love aircraft carriers especially the cancelled CVA01 but the reality of life is that only the USA has needed attack carriers since 1966, and even it since 1991 has found it hard to develop a suitable airgroup for the emerging threats.
 

uk 75

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The Soviet Union tried hard (as are Putin's Russia and Xi's China) to develop a carrier force to match the USN.
The advantage of the legacy of WW2 in Pacific followed by nearly 80 years operating Essex, Midway, Forrestal and Enterprise/Nimitz task groups will require at least thirty years of effort to match. I would not bet on anyone pulling it off.
 

zen

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So perhaps an honest assessment is to note that Carriers situate between the rapidity of direct flight and the slow but substantial deployment of an airbase.

At times however the ability to get direct flight is not possible or the distance to available airbases is too far for the extent aircraft. Tanking requires availability and numbers. Not always available.

Into this realm comes the Carrier.

Like in the Kuwait example or Belize. The Carrier was nearby, available to deploy.
In the Aden case, the airbase ceased to an option. So it was either get another one, which was ruled out, or deploy a carrier. Otherwise leaving the airbase meant no airpower at all.

Once you can utilise an airbase, then the carrier seems an exorbitant expense. But it's precisely the flexibility of carrier airpower that holds it's attraction.

Perhaps before people dismiss the carrier, they explain how to avoid needing it?
 

uk 75

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I genuinely sympathise with this argument but the cases given were hardly ones of "national survival". If a carrier were not available as in many other cases, other solutions, ranging from diplomatic actions or inaction to leaving the problem to someone else would have been found.
The usefulness of the carrier in "general war" has mercifully not been put to the test since the Pacific War. The closest thing we have are the wargames conducted by the Naval War College which accepted major carrier losses.
The CVF is a better solution for the UK than CVA01. I stick by the points I made above. It will not need replacing in the forseeable future.
 

zen

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National survival....?

You wish to present weakness abroad?
The problem with that is over time, through a lack of 'involvement', threats to your interests get closer and closer, until they are next door and directly threaten you. Because your neighbours weakness is your weakness.

Taken Aden.....if airpower was needed and you didn't have a carrier. Then doesn't it look weak that you needed it, couldn't provide it and lost in humiliating circumstances lives?

Take the Falklands, a classic of the times. Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, Iran had only recently fallen. A signal of weakness would invite further Soviet aggression.
Thatcher saw this and correctly calculated it was less risky to act strong over the Falklands.
The threat to National Survival, was indirect, but directly connected to the stance and ability to act in a case not directly threatening to National survival.
 

uk 75

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The dilemma that faces politicians is that the most crucial element of "national survival" is the British Economy thus no Maltas, no CVA01, delays to building Invincibles and CVF, possible sale of CVF post Covid.
It has terrible consequences. Baldwin and Chamberlain prefered economic solvency to the level of rearmament needed to defeat Hitler. A few years later the UK had to make the hard choice and trashed its economy for a generation but helped save civilisation.
There are no good answers only less bad ones.
 

zen

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Yes sometimes the spending you chose to defer today becomes a mere drop in the ocean compared to the spending you have to make tomorrow.

However economic solvency is a matter of priorities.
 

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Having answered your thread by saying that the only alternative to a carrier is actually no carrier (in other words if you have the money get a carrier), I think that it would be useful to have the full texts of the various RN studies on a "carrierless" fleet. One at least made the point that alternatives like long range aircraft (V bombers with ASM) or big missile carriers like the Kynda/Kresta ships would be more expensive and less effective than a fleet carrier.
Then as now a proper carrier was represented by a US ship. CVA01 (its initials are a clue) was the attempt to get a Forrestal in an Eagle sized package. CVF has veered in the opposite direction. It is essentially an LHD without the dock. Given the UK/US relationship it makes a lot of sense
 
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Volkodav

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Having answered your thread by saying that the only alternative to a carrier is actually no carrier (in other words if you have the money get a carrier), I think that it would be useful to have the full texts of the various RN studies on a "carrierless" fleet. One at least made the point that alternatives like long range aircraft (V bombers with ASM) or big missile carriers like the Kynda/Kresta ships would be more expensive and less effective than a fleet carrier.
Then as now a proper carrier was represented by a US ship. CVA01 (its initials are a clue) was the attempt to get a Forrestal in an Eagle sized package. CVF has veered in the opposite direction. It is essentially an LHD without the dock. Given the UK/US relationship it makes a lot of sense
Disagree, CVF is a carrier that could serve as a temporary LPH, of be deliberately modified to serve permanently as an LPH. This is likely to be poor value for money as it was designed as a carrier and would be poor value for money to operate as an LPH.

Whether it operates (and is equipped to do so) CTOL, STVOL, or even VTOL, it is a carrier, that is its reason for existing. The fact that carriers are extremely versatile, because of their large volumes, massive flat decks and open spaces, meaning they can be easily repurposed as LPHs, command ships, heavy maintenance ships etc. doesn't mean that they are an LPD without a dock, it means they are a carrier that has been repurposed as an LPH.

In a nut shell, if the CVF was designed as an LHD without a dock it wouldn't be the size it is, it wouldn't have the aviation maintenance and control facilities it has, it wouldn't have the stores and accommodation it has, i.e. it would be smaller and have a completely different configuration, internally and externally. If the RN decided to do without carriers but that it needed LPDs or even LPHs they would look nothing like the CVF because the CVF is a carrier and the premise is that they decided they didn't need carriers.
 

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It's very hard and expensive to convert a LPH to a Carrier able to operate say 50 combat aircraft. Whereas it's fairly simple and cheap to run a CV as a LPH....
 
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And on top of that, the largest US amphibious are larger than CdG. Makes one think. They are larger than Essex and closing in from Audacious and Midways...
 

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Disagree, CVF is a carrier that could serve as a temporary LPH, of be deliberately modified to serve permanently as an LPH. This is likely to be poor value for money as it was designed as a carrier and would be poor value for money to operate as an LPH.

Whether it operates (and is equipped to do so) CTOL, STVOL, or even VTOL, it is a carrier, that is its reason for existing. The fact that carriers are extremely versatile, because of their large volumes, massive flat decks and open spaces, meaning they can be easily repurposed as LPHs, command ships, heavy maintenance ships etc. doesn't mean that they are an LPD without a dock, it means they are a carrier that has been repurposed as an LPH.

In a nut shell, if the CVF was designed as an LHD without a dock it wouldn't be the size it is, it wouldn't have the aviation maintenance and control facilities it has, it wouldn't have the stores and accommodation it has, i.e. it would be smaller and have a completely different configuration, internally and externally. If the RN decided to do without carriers but that it needed LPDs or even LPHs they would look nothing like the CVF because the CVF is a carrier and the premise is that they decided they didn't need carriers.
You have hit the nail on the head! The nub of my rather rambly rant post above.
The CVF was designed as a carrier, but was soon seen by the MoD not as a fleet carrier in a traditional sense or even as a replacement for the CVHs in the ASW and sea denial role, but seen as a floating airbase for overseas interventions. Then as the amphibious fleet got hollowed out it was recast for that role too. Because CVF is a V/STOL ship it is essentially an oversized helicopter carrier so in a way it made sense. I don't think had CVF been built with cats and traps and had a larger fixed-wing component that the Navy would have considered it as an LPH.
I think the MoD have gotten carried away with the versatility of the carrier and have tried to make it a one-ship navy capable of doing everything, its a capable ship there is no doubt and in the likely absence of a major war I'm sure it will do fine. But its no HMS Ocean, can you imagine parking up a multi-billion CVF off a Caribbean island to deliver aid following a hurricane?

I don't think we needed an 'alternative' CVF, just some clearer strategic thinking and some sensible economics to make a balanced fleet.

The USSR never copied the USN, their carriers were cruisers, unusually large flightdecked cruisers, their airgroups were in the main self-defensive (the Su-33 when it was chosen in 1989 had no air-surface capability). Clearly the Chinese don't see their fleet carriers as LHAs as they are building those separately.
 

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Unless some idiot has started a war, I would have thought the gesture of a CVF arriving to deliver aid to a Caribbean island following a hurricane would send a much needed positive signal around the world that Britain takes its global responsibilities seriously. Loaded up with Chinooks and construction kit from RE. Not as much fun as air striking the Chinese fleet but I think a lot of people around the world, including the other Queen Elizabeth, would give the RN a
resounding cheer.
Short of building a nuclear carrier we were not going to get a cats and straps ship into service this side of 2025 and the cost of the cats continues to climb.
I must have missed something, both the Soviet Union and China used the ASW cruisers as steps on the way to fixed wing carriers. But as I wrote above, they would be hard pushed to catch up with the sheer weight of experience coupled with existing tonnage that the USN has.
Balancing a fleet for posters here still seems to mean the RN as it was in 1965.
 

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Back to the plot.....
The SSGN seems a complete none-starter really.
Though an argument could be made to take USN trials of VLS ballistics rockets and run with it.
But it's the drive to some form of organic recce platform that has the potential to soak up cash.
What would have been that option then?

The alternative aircraft option is to take then FOAS and scale up. But at the time Typhoon was soaking up RAF votes.
Of course the ideal at the time was to take another bash at Trinity and fund the MPA, AEWACS, Tanker etc... and add stand off missile platform. But it's not one we can envision entering contested airspace.
 

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The CVF was designed as a carrier, but was soon seen by the MoD not as a fleet carrier in a traditional sense or even as a replacement for the CVHs in the ASW and sea denial role, but seen as a floating airbase for overseas interventions. Then as the amphibious fleet got hollowed out it was recast for that role too. Because CVF is a V/STOL ship it is essentially an oversized helicopter carrier so in a way it made sense. I don't think had CVF been built with cats and traps and had a larger fixed-wing component that the Navy would have considered it as an LPH.
I think the MoD have gotten carried away with the versatility of the carrier and have tried to make it a one-ship navy capable of doing everything, its a capable ship there is no doubt and in the likely absence of a major war I'm sure it will do fine. But its no HMS Ocean, can you imagine parking up a multi-billion CVF off a Caribbean island to deliver aid following a hurricane?
Very interesting. Pretty fun to see "varied takes at carriers."

The Soviet tried to mix carriers with missile cruisers.

The British as shown here tried to turn carriers into some kind of "giant Iwo Jima class LPH"
(it just dawned on me: an amphibious ship without any amphibious stuff, relying only on helicopters for amphibious missions - Iwo Jimas, here we go !)

What is really interesting is that, presently, the USMC, Spanish, Italian navies, South Korea and Japan (and some others I probably forgot) are trying "the other way around".
That is, build extremely large amphibious ships (30 000 to 50 000 tons: larger than CdG !) and turn them into "makeshift carriers" with the help of Harriers, F-35s, and V-22 Ospreys.

I really loved the way the USN recently worked their way around the lack of Nimitz / Ford supercarriers. That is, adding V-22s and VSTOL F-35s to the largest amphibious ships and tadaaaam ! A whole bunch of secondary carriers pulled out of thin air...

I use to think we are reaching a tipping point with CATOBAR aircraft carriers. I mean, the last in existence (before maybe the chinese) are, well
-Nimitz
- Ford
- Charles de Gaulle
Well, even by USN standard (so imagine France !) those things, even shrunk into 45 000 tons, are quite expensive. Way too expensive for, well, anybody else bar China. And the United States.

so future of aircraft carrier, CATOBAR or not, is kind of "re-inventing itself" from
- extremely large amphibious ships"
- thanks to the last Harriers (Spain - still no love for F-35B !) and most importantly, F-35B and V-22 Ospreys.
 
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zen

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The thing is in the events of Yugoslavia and Liberia, RN carrier and LPH had use. So on paper the obvious efficiency is to combine both into a single large platform.
This could even be argued is a conclusion of Lybia as well.

So institutionally we can see how this came about.
 
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