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CVA 01 in service: Task Group

uk 75

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CVA 01 is a very well trodden subject. As someone who collects model ships in 1/1200 and 1/1250 and has a model of CVA 01 in its planned 70s condition with Phantoms and Bucs (courtesy of Seavee models), I have been wondering what ships would have escorted her if she had joined the RN as planned in the early 70s.

HMS Bristol would have been available, followed by perhaps a sistership or two. A County class would have been needed as well.

By 1965 it had been decided to convert the Tiger class cruisers as interim ASW ships. I am not sure whether this would have gone through. But assuming Ark Royal, Victorious etc had gone and Eagle was in reserve alternating with CVA 01, Blake might have entered service as in reality.

Frigate escort would have been gun Leanders and Rothesays. Leander and co with Ikara as well.

Anyone care to add.
 

Jemiba

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Maybe the RN would have followed the USN practice to assign SSN to a carrier group ?
 

JFC Fuller

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Final CVA-01 configuration reintroduced organic ASW helos, so no need for an ASW cruiser.

As for the rest of the question, the answer is actually known. Once NIGS was forgotten about and it became apparent how good Sea Dart was it and Sea Slug were considered as the same basic capability (albeit with the former being better- obviously) so long range air defence comes from whatever mix of county class and Type 82 are available; probably about 4 per group.

For frigates, Leander and whatever followed it in production. Remember that Type 82 was originally meant to be the Leander replacement but came out too expensive (fortunately Sea Dart came out awesome so it could follow County class instead).

Documents circa 1959 talk about 4 Sea Slug/NIGS ships and 4 frigates escorting a carrier. Friedman describes briefly some of the evolution around this in the early 60s.
 

uk 75

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JFC


Thank you.


I agree that if CVA 01 had gone ahead the originally planned Escort Cruiser and the interim Tiger conversion would have not been needed. Any items ordered for Blake and Tiger would have been cancelled and the ships taken out of service in the late 60s.


The Type 82s planned at 4 (Bristol [SHEFFIELD GLASGOW CARDIFF perhaps] and the 8 Countys would have provided sufficient Air Defence escorts for CVA 01/Eagle/ Hermes and an Amphibious Group (Bulwark, Fearless/Intrepid).


Whether CVA 02 and a new class of Air Defence ships (Type 42) would have followed depends on even more conjecture.


As for frigates I think the 60s/70s mix of Type 12s (Leander/Leander Ikara Rothesay) and a Type 61/41 for picket duties perhaps would have been sufficient. The Type 19 frigate was stillborn and the Type 22 would probably have still emerged as the principal ASW platform (perhaps with Sea Kings straightaway). Type 21s (or a corvette design from Vickers) would still have been needed to replace the Type 81s and other less capable frigates.


The SSN programme would have taken a hit, especially if the 5th SSBN (RAMILLIES) was built at the end of the 60s. The C class might have been slower to build and the S class emerging later than in real life by a few years.
 

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I can't see the Type 41&61 forming part of the carriers battle group, their maximum speed; 24 knots, was way to low. They may have been valuable escorting the fleet train vessels of the amphibious group. In Leo Marriot's book on British frigates he did postulate that the Type 41s would have been useful during the Falklands for shore bombardment with its extra 4.5" turret.

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Abraham Gubler

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Friedman's "British Destroyers" has a bit of information on the plans to escort the CVA-01. The RN’s concept of operations was to have two CVA-01s operating about 50 NM apart with two supporting groups (one replenishment, one amphibious) about 200 NM away requiring their own escort. At first the carriers were to have two separate rings around each of them made up of 3-4 Type 82s with an escort carrier near the carrier. All, including the carriers and escort carriers, armed with Sea Dart and equipped with Type 988 3D radars (Anglo-Dutch Broomstick). The carrier picket rings were then combined, the escort carrier done away with and then the Type 82 reduced to an escort leader with a new cheaper Sea Dart ship to provide numbers. This meant the RN only needed eight Type 82s to provide one for each of the four groups.

Each carrier was expected to have a Type 82, a Country, a cheap Sea Dart ship (T42), three Leanders, two Type 12s and a single SSN as escorts. The Type 82 would lead the carrier by about 50 NM and act as escort commander.

The new Sea Dart ship was to have the Type 992 (British antenna with Dutch LW-08 radar). It would probably have been called the Type 42 but would be quite different. As a carrier escort it wouldn't need a hangar so the missile system can be aft and one would hope it wouldn't be so drastically cut priced to almost no longer be milspec like the Sheffield class were. To support the Type 82 eight would have been needed.

With the Type 82 entering class production the RN wouldn’t have ordered their last two Leander class which were place fillers after the carrier abolition. The Leanders wouldn’t have had Ikara conversions because these systems were going into the Type 82s. In addition with the RN retaining at least two strike carriers and their Buccaneer and Phantoms there would be no need to fit Exocet to County and Leander ships. I would also imagine the Country class would receive a systems upgrade to keep them current into the 1980s as carrier escorts. Maybe a Sea Slug Mk 3 with the illumination and homing system of Sea Dart?
 
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JohnR

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The 1022 was the LW08 with the British antenna not the 992.

The 992 had a long history with the RN, the originals having the cheese antenna. For ships of the era talked about, it was used as the target indicating radar on Sea Dart equipped ships, was the main search radar on the Type 21s and was repackaged as the 968 portion of the radar supporting Sea Wolf installations on the Leanders and Type 22's. It was subsequently replaced by the 996 on all but the Type 22's in the 1990's.

Regards.
 

Abraham Gubler

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JohnR said:
The 1022 was the LW08 with the British antenna not the 992.

My bad. The reference actually referred to the Type 992P with the slotted wave guide antenna. For some reason I got that transposed in my mind with the 1022 with the Marconi antenna.
 

uk 75

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John R


I agree with you. It is just that the 61s at least seem to have been used as pickets for
the earlier carriers. However, with improved radars the 61s and 41s would have been relegated to 2nd rate.



Abraham


I really should also have looked at my copy of Friedman which is out of reach at the moment.


Thanks for the detailed account.


Given the development problems with the Type 82 and Seadart I imagined the class stopping at four ships with the 42 and 22 following on in the late 70s as they did in real life. The Leander IKARA ships were thus needed to make up ASW numbers until the 22s came online.


I love the early iterations of the 42 especially the mini County two funnel version in its single arm Seadart and IKARA versions. They look very smart unlike the Leander like later versions. However that is irrelevant. I agree with you the 42 should have been like the Type 82 without IKARA.
 

pathology_doc

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Abraham Gubler said:
At first the carriers were to have two separate rings around each of them made up of 3-4 Type 82s with an escort carrier near the carrier. All, including the carriers and escort carriers, armed with Sea Dart and equipped with Type 988 3D radars (Anglo-Dutch Broomstick).

In other words, basically four Bristols and an Invincible to protect one CVA-01. One assumes that with the fleet carrier in the equation, the Invincible carries an exclusively ASW rotary-wing air group. (At least initially - I can see the desire to add a Sea Harrier component becoming nigh-irresistible in due course, always assuming that this alternative reality does not already feature P.1154 - which it almost certainly doesn't, judging by mention of a Phantom/Buccanneer air group on the Fleet carrier).


Somewhat OT, but mention of the Blakes set me off: it still beggars my mind that any of the Lion/Tiger/Blake-class cruisers, begun in response to WW2 demands (if not actually laid down during that war), were still in service in 1982! Not that the US Iowas didn't last even longer, but at least the Iowas were complete and saw service before their major refit, and part of a mothball-reactivation cycle with multiple entries into actual combat; whereas the Blakes seemed to be in a state of perpetual metamorphosis almost until the end.


I suspect the fact that their primary gun armament was a major letdown had a great deal to do with this - they had become hulls in search of a purpose. They would probably have been ideal for Sea Dart if it had been around when they were new or incomplete, but it wasn't - and by the time it was there, they were past their best and probably not worth the cost of conversion. The Iowas notwithstanding, there's only so much new wine you can put in an old wineskin...
 

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I disagree regarding the irresistible development of the Sea Harrier. I believe that the navy would have resisted it, regarding it as a threat to the future of large deck carriers. There may have been a development of a marinized GR3 or later AV8B to use as a ground support aircraft of commando carriers, in much the same way as the USMC uses it's Harriers.
Regards.
 

Abraham Gubler

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pathology_doc said:
Abraham Gubler said:
At first the carriers were to have two separate rings around each of them made up of 3-4 Type 82s with an escort carrier near the carrier. All, including the carriers and escort carriers, armed with Sea Dart and equipped with Type 988 3D radars (Anglo-Dutch Broomstick).

In other words, basically four Bristols and an Invincible to protect one CVA-01.

No because the escort carrier requirement had been dropped and the number of T82s needed reduced. At the cancellation of the carrier force the RN had a requirement for eight T82s and was planning on ordering the first with five more in the estimates (the other two would come later and outside the estimate period). The T82 was at the time based more around the T988 radar than just a Sea Dart shooting ship. Each one would be supported by an AA frigate (called T42?) with another Sea Dart system but without the long range 3D/2D radar system of T988.


If the CVA-01s had gone ahead there would be no escort carrier aka through deck cruiser aka Invincible class built. The two Tiger class conversions might therefore stay in service longer as a lower level task force command ship. Two commando carriers would stay in service (Hermes and Bulwark) but with no requirement for fixed wing air. Sea Harrier or even marinised GR Harrier would never happen. The RN's first priority would be an aircraft to replace the Buccaneer not a jump jet to mess up the decks of their commando carriers.
 

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Just to clarify; the CVA 01 related T42 design was originally a (steam turbine, I presume) AA frigate, but as the CVA 01 Task Group concept was slimmed down because of budget constraints, the design was upgraded into a low cost Light AA destroyer (with CODAG propulsion?). Have I got this right?
 

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IIRC the Type 82 was the intended escort for CVA01, there were earlier designs which are illustrated in Brown's Rebuilding the Royal Navy, which if memory serves were to be diesel powered - at least initially. As Abraham states eight were intended to be built.

The Type 42 was designed post cancellation to provide air defence for the remaining surface fleet, which at that time did not include a Sea Harrier equipped CVS.

I do believe that even if the CVA01 had gone ahead a Type 42 sized and priced vessel would have been inevitable.

As a side note, I do remember reading that Dennis Healey did 'mislead' parliament when the vote was taken regarding the CVA01. He stated a price which was actually for the CVA01 & 02 and the eight Type 82s, but allowed parliament to believe it was only for the CVA01.
 

pathology_doc

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JohnR said:
As a side note, I do remember reading that Dennis Healey did 'mislead' parliament when the vote was taken regarding the CVA01. He stated a price which was actually for the CVA01 & 02 and the eight Type 82s, but allowed parliament to believe it was only for the CVA01.

Bleedin' 'eck!!!


If that's the case, I think you could make a fair argument for pulling the quotes off 'mislead'. That's more in the realm of lying one's backside off! :eek: Sources?
 

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I first read that bit of info in a book around 30years ago when I was at college; I unfortunately cannot remember the title of the book. I never read it in anything else and actually began doubting myself, even though it was one of my favourite rants about duplicitous politicians.

A few years ago I was reading the excellent Navy Matters website and found confirmation. Use the link below and scroll down to the Cancellation section:

http://www.beedall.com/frn/cva01.htm

Regards.
 

uk 75

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P1154RN on CVA 01 followed in the 1970s by the joint RAF/RN fighter attacker as a Buccaneer replacement- a sort of swing wing mini TSR 2 or Tornado. The RN had Buccaneer and wanted Phantom so the UKroute was not taken.
A less ambitious 1154 would have been better than Sea Harrier but in a fixed carrier environment Phantom trumped.
The Harrier (P1127RAF) was a result of the RAF cencellations of TSR2 and 1154. If CVA 01 had been around the RAF would still have gone down some kind of VSTOL path. But Sea Harrier would not have been needed, except perhaps as a support aircraft for the Royal Marines from Bulwark and Hermes
 

Abraham Gubler

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JohnR said:
I do believe that even if the CVA01 had gone ahead a Type 42 sized and priced vessel would have been inevitable.

The RN was already planning it. The original requirement for Type 82s was 15 ships. But then to cut costs the RN developed a plan to only build eight and another eight Sea Dart ships without the T988 radar (Broomstick), Ikara and other extras. This ship, which would have been called Type 42 if built, was conceived around 1965-66. The RN scoped three different possibility as part of their 1966 frigate-destroyer investigations. They ranged from 2,500 to 4,500 tonnes and the price was £9.5m to £12.25 (T82 with Broomstick was £16.5). The largest had diesel propulsion but would be very likely to have Tyne-Olympus if built.


Considering the larger ship was only 29% more expensive but 80% bigger and with two T909 directors and the same twin rail, 38 missile Sea Dart fit as T82 (compared to single T909 and single rail Sea Dart with 26 missiles of the other options), it would have made a better proposition. Of course considering the cost difference even with the cheapest 1965-66 T42 option the RN could buy five more T82s (for 13 in total) each with T988 radar, 2 x T909s, Ikara, MACTH and 113mm Mk 8 (the cheap AA frigate did not have the last two either). One wonders what they were thinking?
 

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uk 75 said:
except perhaps as a support aircraft for the Royal Marines from Bulwark and Hermes

No chance. Both ships were fitted for helicopter operations exclusively. Flying a VTOL jet off their flight deck would not work well for all those Landrovers inside the parking safe line. Plus the whole concept of operations was to have the RN/RM amphibious group supported by two CVA-01s each with the ability to operate upwards of 60 x 40-50,000 lbs strike fighters (at USN levels of deck coverage, 40 odd fighters at more conservative RN levels). The need for a flight or two of GR Harriers in this environment is only plausible if the Royal Marines had its own fixed wing fighter force dating back to WWI with lots of political favours to cash in.
 

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The T82 was not "intended" to escort CVA-01 as such. It was a Leander replacement that was to integrate a collection of long-standing RN wants such as a medium range SAM (in place of the twin 4.5" and Seacat on the Leander) and a full 3D radar. Ikara was at the time considered to be a replacement for MATCH. The end result was Bristol and that was unaffordable for mass production so the next approach was to start looking at ships that split out the Ikara and Sea Dart capability and that ditched the 3D radar. Even this was proving unaffordable so the next step was the Type 19. No designs were finalized as the problem was solved by abandoning both the carriers and their rationale (a major East of Suez commitment) and transitioning the RN to being a North Atlantic frigate force which basically ended up taking an evolved and enlarged version of the escort cruiser and adding it to the split out AA/ASW frigate concepts to produce the new fleet structure.
 

JFC Fuller

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Abraham Gubler said:
One wonders what they were thinking?
They had a manpower cap and a fixed budget in addition to an understanding of how many hulls they needed. In that context a ship that is 29% cheaper is useful as it helps you get towards quantity, the Type 19 concept was a product of exactly the same circumstances (when it became apparent how expensive and manpower intensive even the split out ships would be). The whole story is a product of the unaffordability of the fleet the RN felt it needed to sustain the EoS role, a role it had largely created to justify it's carriers back in 1957. Sandy's first instincts towards the carriers were right, they should have gone in 1957, but he let himself get talked round to keeping them by Mountbatten and his EoS concept. What occurred over the next decade was a gradual realisation that the whole fleet structure designed in 1957 to provide the EoS capability was unaffordable. That realisation accelerated in the mid 60s as the RN attempted to recapitalise the fleet and discovered it couldn't do it. The various frigate designs were just a symptom of this.
 

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I've never really seen much on Sandy's views regarding the navy, just his general manned aircraft bad, missiles good view. What were his intentions towards the navy?
 

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He was very much agin the carriers, but allowed himself to be talked round. There were bigger issues to be dealt with.
 

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The ability to handle multiple, simultaneous intercepts is IMO a key ability in judging a SAM ship’s capability. I believe the T42s could handle 2. How many could T82 handle?
 

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The ability to handle multiple, simultaneous intercepts is IMO a key ability in judging a SAM ship’s capability. I believe the T42s could handle 2. How many could T82 handle?
2 and pretty much the same capability as the Type 42.
However with a 3d radar the speed of switching target would be more rapid as a 2d set Search and Warning system put the onus of height finding onto the 909 sets, that imposes a delay as it gets a lock on.
While had it gained the ASWE C-band SSSR set, smaller, cheaper and lighter illuminators could be mounted potentially allowing for more simultaneous engagements.
 

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The ability to handle multiple, simultaneous intercepts is IMO a key ability in judging a SAM ship’s capability. I believe the T42s could handle 2. How many could T82 handle?
2 and pretty much the same capability as the Type 42.
However with a 3d radar the speed of switching target would be more rapid as a 2d set Search and Warning system put the onus of height finding onto the 909 sets, that imposes a delay as it gets a lock on.
While had it gained the ASWE C-band SSSR set, smaller, cheaper and lighter illuminators could be mounted potentially allowing for more simultaneous engagements.
Do we know how much of a time penalty the T42 would’ve had vs T82? Thank you for the detailed response.
It seems that the T42 was really just a smaller T82 minus Ikara and fewer Sea Darts but the majority of the AAW package was kept.
Is that a fair assessment?

I need to read Friedman’s British destroyer book
 
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