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Australian Invincible

Volkodav

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The entire RAN carrier replacement is very interesting with a large number of designs and concepts considered over the years. i.e. the LHA (Tarawa) was considered, as was a Modified LHA with a bout twice the aircraft capacity that I would love to get further info on, I wonder if it was similar in concept to the current LHA (America) with the well dock deleted in favour of additional aviation capacity and stores.

Other options included the Vosper Thornycroft Harrier Carrier, a conventionally powered derivative of the French PH75 as well as the Italian Garibaldi design, which was short listed with the SCS and Modified Iwojima.

To me the biggest shame is the RANs ability to keep Melbourne effective for so long as this meant the hard and potentially expensive decsions could be defered, resulting in the loss of most of the RANs ASW and independant operational capability from the early 80s onwards, with its rebuilding only just now really getting underway. It doesn't matter whether Melbourne was replaced with a CTOL carrier or whether she was convered to an ASW helicopter carrier, or even if the RAN built three Escort Cruisers instead of buying the DDGs, the end result would have been the same, the capability would have lasted, without the need of a single large ticket expendature, until at least the late 90s, which is when the government realised that the ADF had been dangerously hollowed out. Had there been a small number (or even a single) medium sized, or several small flat decks in service, recovery would have been much easier, quicker and cheaper as the aviation shills and ASW skills would not have been lost and assuming the money saved had come out of the surafce fleet, it would not have been wasted on the FFGUP, the LPAs, SH-60B, Super Sea Sprite etc.

Looking at it the modified invincible in the first post of this topic could have filled the requirements of the RAN very well and quite affordably.
 

Archibald

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Conventional powered PH-75, hmmm ? This would have helped the Charles de Gaulle, as nuclear power come right from the PH-75 from a decade earlier (1975 > 1986). In turn, PH-75 was at the very beginning not nuclear, borrowing from the F67 frigates. It become a nuclear powered ship because it was more than a helocarrier: it was to be a kind of multirole ship with many different missions and it was to operate alone and not in a big task force, and finally France massive civilian nuclear power buildup extended to that ship. Think not Clemenceau or CdG, but Jeanne d'Arc (or Arromanches late years.) Disaster relief, hospital ship, C4I command post, and many other missions.

It was a pretty dubious idea as even the Soviets, who build the Kirov battlecruisers with nuclear power, build their helocarriers with conventional steam turbines - Moskva and Kiev and even Kuznetsov.
 

Volkodav

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I believe the conventional power plant was to be RR Olympus, so not much use for CdG.
 

FighterJock

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Volkodav said:
I believe the conventional power plant was to be RR Olympus, so not much use for CdG.
I take it that is the same Olympus engine that powered the Concorde and the Vulcan? Strange that they were designing one to be put on an aircraft carrier. :eek:
 

Arjen

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Marine Olympus powered a lot of ships.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Marine_Olympus

Many Olympus engines are still in use as peak demand power generators in static installations.
 

TomS

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Not that odd. Olympus was a very successful power plant in industrial power generation and marine applications. It was pretty much the standard turbine for the Royal Navy: Bristol, Invincibles, Type 21, Type 42, Type 22. It was widely exported as well.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Marine_Olympus
 

Tzoli

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Do you guys know the armament of any other data of this Vickers modified Invincible? (Dimensions, aircraft complement etc)
The little drawing shows a single Goalkeeper CIWS forward of the Bridge and what looks like a SAM aft which can be lowered down under the flight deck in case of aircraft operations.
 

Hood

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The modified Australian had two CIWS but there was no SAM armament.
 

Tzoli

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I see!
Thank you!
Ahh that is the letter M (or W? ) on the aft and not a "pop-up" missile launcher I first thought of!
Could this proposal a variation of this other Vickers Light carrier design from around 1982?
http://www.shipbucket.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5326&start=20

pdf of an article at that time:
www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1983/1983%20-%201847.PDF

And the Secret Projects thread:
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=3727.0
 

TomS

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Yes, that's the carrier deck letter code M (for Melbourne). The British Invincible-class carriers had the deck letter codes N (Invincible), L (Illustrious) and R (Ark Royal). Sort of a last check to make sure you're landing on the correct carrier.
 

TomS

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Tzoli said:
Could this proposal a variation of this other Vickers Light carrier design from around 1982?
http://www.shipbucket.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5326&start=20

pdf of an article at that time:
www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1983/1983%20-%201847.PDF

And the Secret Projects thread:
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=3727.0
Had a chance to think about this part of your post.

No, the Australian Invincible proposal was not related to the Vickers Light Fleet Carrier design at your links. The RAN Invincible was a relatively modest modification of the original RN Invincible (reduced armament, expanded hangar space). The Light Fleet Carrier was basically a clean sheet design intended to be much cheaper than the Invincible.

The Vickers light fleet offering had a new hull shape based on a passenger liner, commercial design practices with a few military modifications, and other cost savings throughout. Notice the difference in engine exhausts, for example. Invincible had two widely-separated stacks, reflecting two well-separated main propulsion machinery spaces with four turbines. The Vickers Light Fleet has only two turbnes (and about half the horsepower) and only one stack, suggesting that there is one machinery space or perhaps two without much separation.
 

Tzoli

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I will intend to draw this modified Invincible for the Australians in the near future and I would like to aks to what kind of Sensor suite should I put on her?
The same as the Invincibles?
Some newer radars?
Mixed British and maerican?
If yes what types?
 

Tzoli

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I also wonder if the Shah of Iran before the 1979 revolution would buy the original Invincible design (if I remember he too wanted 3-4 such ships) or this modified proposal?
 

RLBH

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Tzoli said:
I also wonder if the Shah of Iran before the 1979 revolution would buy the original Invincible design (if I remember he too wanted 3-4 such ships) or this modified proposal?
There are certainly such claims, but it's not clear how serious the Shah's enthusiasm was, and what exactly he wanted. In a lot of respects, he seems to have treated defence exhibitions the same way a child treats a sweet shop.
 

Archibald

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RLBH said:
Tzoli said:
I also wonder if the Shah of Iran before the 1979 revolution would buy the original Invincible design (if I remember he too wanted 3-4 such ships) or this modified proposal?
There are certainly such claims, but it's not clear how serious the Shah's enthusiasm was, and what exactly he wanted. In a lot of respects, he seems to have treated defence exhibitions the same way a child treats a sweet shop.
Bingo. You nailed it well, and I share your opinion. Before buying Tomcats, the Shah got a proposal from Lockheed to turn the mothballed fleet of A-12 Oxcart into YF-12s. I suppose Lockheed reasonned in the same way as you.
 

Tzoli

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I have a question or rather two:
1. Does anybody have a high quality high resolution drawing of the Invincible class?

2. More importantly what is the accurate dimensions of the Invinvible class?
I've found two set of data regarding this in various books and sites:
A: 192,6m pp, 206m (206,3) oa length x 35m beam flight deck (27,5 wl)
B: 193m wl, 210m oa length x 36m beam flight deck (27,5 wl)
British Aircraft Carriers by David Hobbs states the following (I assume all are overall)
206,58 x 31,85m

As I'm started to draw this modified Invincible accurate data on the original would be quite helpful!
 

Hood

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The discrepancy is because Ark Royal had slightly larger dimensions. Ark Royal was actually 209.1m overall, not 210m.
 

Tzoli

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I see!

I have two other questions:

1. This modified Vickers Invincible lacks the 2nd mast between her funnels. Why is that? I know that it's superstructure is shorter because she lacks the Sea Dart SAM and it's associated pair of large radars forward and aft, but could the main mast above and behind the bridge house all the necessary sensory equipment the ship needs?

2. I wonder if this Vickers Invincible is a modified Invincible to be built for the RAN or Vickers idea to modify the Invincible herself?
I've asking this because I've read this in British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development & Service Histories by David Hobbs:

"As the RN moved towards larger carriers and aircraft, withdrawing its smaller light fleet carriers from service, Australia followed Canada in procuring USN aircraft for carrierborne operation; S-2G Trackers replaced the Gannets and A-4G Skyhawk strike fighters replaced Sea Venoms. Sea Kings built under licence by Westland in the UK replaced Wessex antisubmarine helicopters. Sydney was not modernised, but provided a significant capability as an LPH during the Vietnam War, while the replacement of Melbourne became a major political issue in the 1970s. Several international designs were evaluated, but the British Invincible design was not taken forward because of its high cost and the complexity of the Sea Dart missile system, which was not used by the RAN. The preferred option was the USN Iwo Jima Class design, which was affordable, needed less then half the ship's company of Melbourne, was capable of operating large helicopters and could be modified with an antisubmarine command system without losing a significant amphibious capability as an LPH. Other contenders were the USN Sea Control Ship design, subsequently built by Spain and Thailand as small carriers, and the Italian Garibaldi design. However after the 1981 Nott Defence Review the British Government decided to retain only two of its three Invincible Class ships, and Invincible herself was offered for sale at 175 million pounds, considerably less then her estimated build cost. A study was instigated to decide whatever to retain the GWS-30 Sea Dart system, and the balance of probability is that it would have been removed, since other RAN ships were fitted with USN Standard SAM and Australia could not afford to support two separate systems. Royal Navy technical assistance would have been available and GWS-30 would have been removed to create more deck space, as it eventually was in the RN. The Australian Government never took the decision to procure Sea Harriers for Operation from the ship, although, since she had a 'ski-jump' and support facilities for the type, its eventual operation would have remained an attractive option and the RAN pilots on exchange duty had flown the type with the RN. The ship would have been recommissioned as HMAS Melbourne after being taken over by the RAN It was not to be, however. After the Falklands Conflict the Australian Government offered to release the UK from the sales contract if it wished. The offer was accepted, Invincible was retained by the RN and Melbourne was withdrawn from service in 1982 without replacement."
 

Hood

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Originally the mainmast held the Type 992Q target-indication radar, plus radio aerials and antennas, so with a different radar fit I think the mast could have been disposed of and other arrangements made for trailing the radio aerials and VHF antennas.
Over time in RN service, the mainmast was used for the Type 996 and later became the main ESM location. All three Invincibles received various additional masts over time and there would still have been space for the Australians to have upgraded over time.

I agree the Vickers plan was conversion work for Invincible and not a new-build ship. The economics of a new build would have killed RAN interest I think.
 

TomS

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Hood said:
I agree the Vickers plan was conversion work for Invincible and not a new-build ship. The economics of a new build would have killed RAN interest I think.
I strongly disagree. The history laid out by Abraham on the first page is pretty clear, IMO. There was a proposal for an Australian variant new construction Invincible proposed on the late 1970s. This is the ship shown in the drawing, with major changes to the boat deck and hangar spaces. In this design, you can see that the island is not only shortened, it's narrower than the RN version. This design was probably too expensive for the RAN, which is why the Iwo Jima and Sea Control Ship derivative designs became preferred.

There was a later offer to sell Invincible herself, after the 1981 Nott review and before the Falklands. But this drawing does not represent that offer, because it did not include features like the reshaped hangar.

Edit: Here is an article describing the 1982 transfer proposal, which was essentially a done deal in March 1982. The RAN set aside only 3 million pounds for pre-delivery modifications, which do not include any hangar changes, just more fuel bunkerage and some electronics modifications to fit with US standards.

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1982/1982%20-%200554.PDF
 

Hood

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TomS,
I stand corrected, I had overlooked the date of the drawing and its providence.
 

TomS

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Hood said:
TomS,
I stand corrected, I had overlooked the date of the drawing and its providence.
I do apologize for being so strident about it. That was uncalled for on my part.
 

Hood

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On my mind at the time was whether this was a Vickers design, or if the Vickers design was extrapolated from the Invincible design.

The ship was of course not designed originally by Vickers, being a product of the RCNC (D.K. Brown states the team led by A.A. Austin spent 5 million man-hours), but being the lead shipbulder in the programme they probably did have considerable input into the detail design and construction phase.
It seems likely that Vickers took the basic design of Invincible but the internal and island changes point to some radical reworking of the basic ship. Presumably however the engineering spaces would have been unchanged. We could speculate whether this led to Vickers own Light Fleet Carrier concept of the early 1980s?
 

Tzoli

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As I draw this deign (soon to be finished) I noticed the angled almost pyramid like superstructure rather the blocky one of the original.
It is somewhat similar to the early 2000's Type 45 Daring class (or to the abortive Type 43 based on various drawings I've seen) while the original Invincible's superstructure is close to the Type 42 Sheffield class of the 1970's
 

Tzoli

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Do we have any date assigned to this Vickers design?
1977? 78? 79? or just before the Falklands war in around 1981?
(The drawing is finished I will soon post it)
 

Tzoli

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Here is my drawing of this proposal:
 
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