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How would earlier Soviet carriers affect USN developement?

Dilandu

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They also have the AGM-62 Walleye which has a pretty good standoff capability.

Well, it is probably possible to create a powered version of Walleye to get more range, but not before the datalink capability would be implemented to in-flight lock-on. Also, Walleye have unfortunate problem of being near-useless in low visibility (I recall some were equipped with IR cameras?)
 

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Or rely on Tu-22P's jammers and chaffs to soft-kill the incoming missile.
And I've never met a pilot who relied on that. Those systems help. They aren't a cure all.


Well, X-22PSN was a passive radar-seeker, so it could be launched blind & home on radar)
I was being a little facetious. If you're launching blind from over 500 miles away, your odds of getting a hit are worse than winning the lottery.
 

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Folks,
F-6D Missileer and AIM-47 Falcon or AAM-6 Bendix Eagle. That's Phoenix ancestry from 1960.
Problem of course is the airframe around the system... F-108 and F-12 were monsters. Missileer was a missile truck, slow and not manoeuverable.
...
As for fire-and-forget Sparrow... the Sparrow II for the F-5D Skylancer. Abandonned by USN as unworkable in 1956. Passed to Avro Canada which took over for the Arrow... and that killed the program.
Instead was SARH Sparrow III for Phantom.
Cheers !
 
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Forget Sparrow II. AMRAAM in the 50's was impossible. Somewhere on this forum I tracked a book which explained the whys it failed. Range was abysmal (5 miles or less), did not worked in rain or clouds, things like that. It really sunk the Arrow on costs overrun all by itself - even if they threw it under a bus by september 1958. Too late.
 

Dilandu

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One thing that USN might try is not to get the range from AAM - but to get more lethality, by using nuclear warheads on them. If I recall correctly, there were plans for nuclear-tipping both AIM-7 and AIM-9, but they were abandoned quite fast.
 

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The 50's really wanted to nuclear-tip everything - except perhaps grandmothers.

Can't be worse than crazy AIR-2 Genie which was unguided for frack sake !!!
 

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Forget Sparrow II. AMRAAM in the 50's was impossible. Somewhere on this forum I tracked a book which explained the whys it failed. Range was abysmal (5 miles or less), did not worked in rain or clouds, things like that. It really sunk the Arrow on costs overrun all by itself - even if they threw it under a bus by september 1958. Too late.
I didn't think it would be possible in the 50s. But with enough research and development, I think they could get a fire-and-forget Sparrow sometime in the 60s
 

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The 50's really wanted to nuclear-tip everything - except perhaps grandmothers.

Can't be worse than crazy AIR-2 Genie which was unguided for frack sake !!!

And actually AIR-2 was quite cool; it was reliable, simple, and could NOT be decoyed by any measures) If she was properly aimed, she would hit)
 

Dilandu

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I didn't think it would be possible in the 50s. But with enough research and development, I think they could get a fire-and-forget Sparrow sometime in the 60s

It would probably be quite susceptible for chaffs and jamming. Having no brain behind radar (and rather small radar) would represent a problem in 1960s.
 

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I didn't think it would be possible in the 50s. But with enough research and development, I think they could get a fire-and-forget Sparrow sometime in the 60s

It would probably be quite susceptible for chaffs and jamming. Having no brain behind radar (and rather small radar) would represent a problem in 1960s.
Probably. But that's more than likely the route the US would go down
 

Dilandu

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Probably. But that's more than likely the route the US would go down

Essentially we are debating the "extensive" and "intensive" approach; you are arguing for intensive approach to improve their fighter weaponry to compensate (cheaper but riskier approach - because fire-and-forget missiles might just not work well enough), while I'm arguing for extensive approach to just put more fighters and more missile-armed escorts (costlier, but more reliable approach - increasing numbers always have an effect). I.e. risk against cost.
 

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The (un- answered/ queried) questions in this topic’s scenario is why the USSR would field such light carriers in this time period, and realistically which aircraft could they operate from them. This would need to be clarified before anyone would work out their impact on others plans.
It is VERY unclear what Russian types of this could operate off such light carriers (the USSR at this time having zero experience or know-how of carrier fixed-wing aircraft or operations).
The Mig-19 is likely to be a truly terrible naval aircraft, especially from a small light carrier deck (considering the extra weight and changes that would be required having an argument about this or that likely tactical radius is all a bit farcical). And what Soviet strike aircraft / offensive punch is likely to be available and be able to operate from that light carrier deck in this time period? The Su-7 is a similarly terrible match for carrier operations, it’s too early for any swing-wing Su-17s.
So maybe navalised MIG-17s being operated to gain experience but with very limited defensive or offensive utility?
Would make zero impact on immediate plans of their likely adversaries.
This thought-experiment does emphasise why the Soviets went the large missile-armed land based bomber route, made a lot more sense for the USSR at the time.
 

Dilandu

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The (un- answered/ queried) questions in this topic’s scenario is why the USSR would field such light carriers in this time period, and realistically which aircraft could they operate from them. This would need to be clarified before anyone would work out their impact on others plans.

Generally I assumed that Khrushev era tendency for smaller & more specialized ships would affect the carrier development. I.e. carriers as air defense and supplement for long-range missile armed units, not as strike force for themselves.

It is VERY unclear what Russian types of this could operate off such light carriers (the USSR at this time having zero experience or know-how of carrier fixed-wing aircraft or operations).

Er, please re-read the original post. I postulated that USSR have - limited - experience how to operate the carriers since 1920s, by rebuilding training ship "Okean" into light carrier (this was actually proposed, and even some planes for future carrier were designed & tested).
 

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Probably. But that's more than likely the route the US would go down

Essentially we are debating the "extensive" and "intensive" approach; you are arguing for intensive approach to improve their fighter weaponry to compensate (cheaper but riskier approach - because fire-and-forget missiles might just not work well enough), while I'm arguing for extensive approach to just put more fighters and more missile-armed escorts (costlier, but more reliable approach - increasing numbers always have an effect). I.e. risk against cost.
I'm arguing for that approach because that's the approach that the US actually took. Nothing in this TL would change that.

The (un- answered/ queried) questions in this topic’s scenario is why the USSR would field such light carriers in this time period, and realistically which aircraft could they operate from them. This would need to be clarified before anyone would work out their impact on others plans.

Generally I assumed that Khrushev era tendency for smaller & more specialized ships would affect the carrier development. I.e. carriers as air defense and supplement for long-range missile armed units, not as strike force for themselves.

It is VERY unclear what Russian types of this could operate off such light carriers (the USSR at this time having zero experience or know-how of carrier fixed-wing aircraft or operations).

Er, please re-read the original post. I postulated that USSR have - limited - experience how to operate the carriers since 1920s, by rebuilding training ship "Okean" into light carrier (this was actually proposed, and even some planes for future carrier were designed & tested).
I don't mean this to be dismissive in any way, but that thinking is literally 20+ years out of date when it comes to carriers. WWII settled the issue of what role carriers play in a Navy
 

Dilandu

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I don't mean this to be dismissive in any way, but that thinking is literally 20+ years out of date when it comes to carriers. WWII settled the issue of what role carriers play in a Navy

But this was actually the approach USSR OTL took, when it started to work on carriers. Granted, Yak-38 was very bad fighter (and not much better as attack plane, too), but it was viewed only as intermediate solution anyway.
 

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Or rely on Tu-22P's jammers and chaffs to soft-kill the incoming missile.

You hope that a tight formation and cumulative jamming prevents a lock-on. You don't ignore the incoming missile trails after a launch.

I don't think relying on countermeasures is the answer for the Soviets.

I 'd guess the BUFFS had much better ECM (plus support from EB-66, EA-3, EA-6, and Wild Weasles) against the as-bad or worse SA-2, and they still used evasive maneuvering and chaff and took losses (granting that an AI radar puts out a little less power than the Fan Song).
 

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I don't mean this to be dismissive in any way, but that thinking is literally 20+ years out of date when it comes to carriers. WWII settled the issue of what role carriers play in a Navy

But this was actually the approach USSR OTL took, when it started to work on carriers. Granted, Yak-38 was very bad fighter (and not much better as attack plane, too), but it was viewed only as intermediate solution anyway.
Yes and no. In OTL, they had no experience operating fixed wing naval aircraft when they started. So they muddled through to try and design a carrier. Not easy when the only nations with carrier experience hate you. In your TL, they do have naval aviation experience. Limited, yes. But they still have it. They would know they design doesn't work and is little better than a floating target barge. Secondly, until that floating abomination the Kutznesov took to the seas, they never considered their carriers just carriers. They classified them all as cruisers. And included a very heavy missile armament to compensate for their lack of acceptable aircraft
 

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The most obvious thing would be, as has been said, many more full modernisations of the Essex class ships, and possibly more vigorous British investment in new build carriers after the 1950s. Another would likely be a much more straightforward and quicker development of a Tomcat-type fighter.
 

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They classified them all as cruisers. And included a very heavy missile armament to compensate for their lack of acceptable aircraft

Er... no. All our carriers were classified as cruisers, including Kuznetsov. The main reason was actually quite simple; we need to move them through Black Sea Straits, and Montreaux Convention did not have provisions for carrier transit. So, we were forced to oush our carriers in "capital ship" cathegory, which means they have to be "not specifically build to operate planes". And, well, yes, our long-range missiles were efficient addition to aircraft)
 

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Speaking of anti-ship missiles, would this mean weapons like Green Cheese, Fairey Sea Skimmer, Blue Slug, and Nuclear-tipped Sea Slug would enter service, or are they too early?

I certainly think Typhon, or a developed version of it with a less ambitious radar/radars may well enter service, given the need to deal with both attacks from stand-off range missile-toting land-based bombers and low level attacks from carrier-based strike-aircraft. Aircraft like the Intruder and Buccaneer certainly give NATO carriers decent long-range all-weather strike capabilities against the Soviet Carriers, and in the case of the Buccanee, could be operated by carriers as small as the Centaurs. If they retained the downward vectoring engine nozzles of the original design, could A6s be operated from the SCB-125s?

If MPA, need to survive in the face of enemy fighters, would they gain bomber defence missiles, like those intended for the P6M Seamaster, or alternatively will they themselves become supersonic, like the HS.1011, HS.1023, or Vickers' 1000kt Aircraft Scheme A?
 
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Seems like a huge investment of resources for a very limited utility, which is probably why it didn't happen. On the whole, I think the VMF did pretty well for itself. Investment in the subs and long-range air was almost certainly the right call given the geography involved. Wish the US took investment onto dedicated long-range bomber support for naval ops as seriously.
 

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Speaking of anti-ship missiles, would this mean weapons like Green Cheese, Fairey Sea Skimmer, Blue Slug, and Nuclear-tipped Sea Slug would enter service, or are they too early?

I certainly think Typhon, or a developed version of it with a less ambitious radar/radars may well enter service, given the need to deal with both attacks from stand-off range missile-toting land-based bombers and low level attacks from carrier-based strike-aircraft. Aircraft like the Intruder and Buccaneer certainly give NATO carriers decent long-range all-weather strike capabilities against the Soviet Carriers, and in the case of the Buccanee, could be operated by carriers as small as the Centaurs. If they retained the downward vectoring engine nozzles of the original design, could A6s be operated from the SCB-125s?

If MPA, need to survive in the face of enemy fighters, would they gain bomber defence missiles, like those intended for the P6M Seamaster, or alternatively will they themselves become supersonic, like the HS.1011, HS.1023, or Vickers' 1000kt Aircraft Scheme A?
They technically could. The Navy's primary argument against flying them from the Essex class was that the Intruder, like the Phantom, was a fuel and ammo hog. And -27C ships had limited fuel and ordinance storage space.

Edit: I doubt any MPA will go supersonic. Their primary role is sub hunting. That means long endurance times and good low and slow characteristics.
 

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In this time the 1952 Carrier Effort and Meduim Fleet Carrier are the in development options. However to this we can add the Hybrid Cruiser-Carrier armed with Stage 2 and 3/4 missile system.

NIGS is arising and Orange Nell/SIGS. There's a strong argument to fund Orange Nell here.
However the quickest responce is just more Type 984, CDS and DPT.

This being a fighter threat, the counter of more fighters and better armaments is reasonable. Could see a more agile AAM for anti-fighter use...

But the counter is more obviously to kill these Soviet carriers with the Panapoly of heavy anti-ship missiles. Fairey's sea skimmer being a strong case.
As would more submarines.

A faster to service need for NA.39 could see AWA win instead of Blackburn.
 

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This actually existed in project form a bit earlier (1953/54) -


Project 85 light aircraft carrier (ABL)

Project 85 light aircraft carrier (ABL) was another unbult Soviet CVL. This 1954 design was really a counterpart to the French Navy Clemenceau Class aircraft carriers.

The first pre-design aircraft carrier project (AV Pr. 72) was performed by the Nevsky Central Design Bureau (then TsKB-17) in accordance with the operational-tactical task (OTZ) of the Navy back in 1943-1944. The chief engineer of the bureau VV Ashik was in charge of the development of Project 72. As the first naval fighter of the Soviet Navy designed for basing on this AB, it was planned to use a marine modification of the Yak-9K, a well-known Yak-9 series land-based fighter, the creation of which was included in the draft plan for pilot aircraft construction in 1944, in connection with the reloading of OKB AS Yakovlev front orders, this work was removed from him.

At the same time, the design bureau of AN Tupolev developed technical proposals for the ship torpedo carrier PT-M71, but it did not go further. In the first postwar military shipbuilding plan, approved by the Government in November 1945, there were no aircraft carriers. Navy Commander N. G. Kuznetsov achieved only the inclusion of AB in the design plan for ships and ships.

In May 1953, N. G. Kuznetsov approved the OTZ for the creation of a light aircraft carrier (ABL), Intended for air defense (air defense) of naval formations at the crossing by sea and in battle (item 85). The draft plan for military shipbuilding for 1956-1965, submitted by NG Kuznetsov to the Government, foresaw the construction of a series of five ships, 85 pr., With the delivery of the main ship in 1960.

To prepare proposals for a tactical and technical task (TTZ) The Ministry of Heavy and Transport Engineering (which included Minsudprom in 1953-1954) attracted TsKB-17. Based on the results of the development of the HTA, carried out under the guidance of V. V. Ashik, the bureau submitted to the Ministry in 1953 a conclusion on this task with its proposals. However, the design of the AVL started in 1955 was entrusted to TsKB-16 (which remained with the suspension of the construction of heavy cruisers under No. 82 without loading). Where he was headed by Chief Designer KI Troshkov.

With the shift in December 1955, N.G.Kuznetsov from the position of the Commander-in-Chief, the development of the draft design 85 ceased, since in the approved plan for military shipbuilding for 1956-1960. It was not included. CDB-16 was instructed to develop a draft of an air defense missile ship (draft 81) instead of the ABL, but in the summer of 1957 and its further design was considered inexpedient.

In the next military shipbuilding program for 1958-1965, prepared with the participation of the new Commander in Chief, SG Gorshkov, another attempt was made to ensure the protection of Navy ships from the air attack of the enemy in the ocean without the creation of AB, only with missile weapons. In connection with the change by the time of the specialization of TsKB-16, design of a new air defense missile ship (draft 1126) was entrusted to TsKB-17, which was headed by VV Ashik before leaving in 1960 for scientific and teaching work in LCI. The draft 1126 was approved, but in 1961 further work on this ship was stopped with the goal of concentrating forces and resources on the creation of more promising multipurpose missile ships.

Displacement
Standard - 23 400 t
Full - 28 400 t
Dimensions 260m x 41m x 8.3m
Propulsion Steam turbines, 144 000hp.
Full speed 31.4 knots.
Range 18 knots - 5000nm.
Armor
Belt - 80mm
Deck - 20mm + 70mm.
Armament
8 dual AA 100mm.
6 quad AA 57mm..
8 quad AA 25mm.
aircraft
40 "Tigr" (Mig-19 variant) fighters,
2 Mi-1 helicopters.
Crew 1850
 

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You can definitely see that this was a Navy's first attempt at a carrier. That is a massive island and those elevators are in truly god awful positions. It's like they tried to split the difference between deck edge and centerline elevators and in the process killed their hanger space and deck space
 

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This 1954 design was really a counterpart to the French Navy Clemenceau Class aircraft carriers.

Funnily enough its tonnage put it right between the two Clemenceaus - PA28 and PA54... ;)
 

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(got the codename wrong)

I often wonder why did they bothered with the Missileer in the first place or did not tried a "plan B" at least.
Maybe a better idea would be to put the radar and missiles, first, in modified A-3 Skywarriors (as was done for testing, incidentally !). It had a very large bomb bay, maybe the Eagle could fit inside, even only 2 of them.
- and later, try to put the (hopefully matured) system on modified A-5 Vigilantes.

Both aircraft being bombers, with plenty of internal space, in service and carrier qualified.

Superb thread about Sparrow II right here https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/sparrow-ii-active-radar-homing-missile.2572/#post-362717
(the very essence of what makes this forum truly unique and valuable !)
 
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If you want the Soviet Navy to have carriers early, firstly Kuznetsov needed to stay in charge longer. He was dismissed by Zhukov (with whom he'd clashed during the war) on December 8, 1955 using the loss of the battleship Novorossiysk as a pretext. Secondly, the development of SAMs needs to be more troublesome, as the role of surface fleet air defence was taken over by guided missile destroyers. This would create a window for development of an air defence carrier.
 

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From the Soviet/Russian Carrier thread over in Naval Projects:
There are probably a host of other lost carrier designs out there too.

Vadim Kolnogorov's article 'To Be or Not To Be: The Development of Soviet Deck Aviation' in The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, 339 – 359, April 2005, is an interesting overview.

A commission (including a sub-commission on carriers) was set up by Kuznetsov in early January 1945. The sub-committee's report was 'Considerations on the Selection of Aircraft Carriers for the USSR Navy'. The commission presented 33 variants of aircraft carrier designs 24 convoy carriers, 3 light carriers, 4 squadron carriers and 2 heavy aircraft carriers. These were the four classes of carrier the commission felt they needed. The Navy General Staff called for 9 large (6 Pacific, 3 Northern) and 6 small carriers (all Northern). The government wanted this number reduced. A later joint NII-45/ TsKB-17 study was the 1959-60 30 aircraft PBIA (floating dock for fighter aviation) to avoid the term aircraft carrier!

The article raises a couple of interesting aircraft questions. While the Pr.85 was being designed, Kuznetsov sent a draft report to the government for the Ministry of Shipbuilding’s approval which included proposals for a light carrier with 22 MiG-15 and two helicopters. Kolnogorov mentions another aircraft project at this time, a proposal named Tigr (Tiger) based on the MiG-19. What was this variant and was it a MiG submission? A table shows the naval MiG-15 and Tigr both being in design in 1955 and both being cancelled the following year. A later 'Fighter Jet Tender' is dated in the table to 1959-61. These were terminated as the PBIA study was abandoned and the shift made to helicopter cruisers but no detail on the fighters in the tender are offered.
 

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Killing large surface ships (for the RN at least) became the job of the nuclear submarine . A Soviet carrier (Kievs in real life) would have been given the same treatment as the Belgrano (the only major surface unit sunk in combat since 1945).
US and RN carriers were equipped to strike mainly at land targets with A6 and Buccaneer aircraft. The arrival of Bears and Backfires gave the NATO striking fleet another duty, but its main role was to hit Soviet bases in the Kola Peninsular and in the Southern Flank/Black Sea.
Soviet military action was focussed on destroying NATO's ability to contest its control of Eastern Europe or even attack the Motherland. Submarines and long range air power fitted this requirement. In the Cold War era expeditionary forces did not loom large in Soviet planning. Only a couple of Rogov class were built compared with the numerous LHAs and LPDs available to the US and RN.
 

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I can't see there being much change in NATO doctrine or equipment, but it might have had some larger effects on the Soviet surface fleet which might have had more profound impacts on NATO.

I don't really buy the bomber escort mission, it would be cheaper and more effective to provide Naval Aviation with a regiment of Tu-128 'Fiddlers'.
But having organic air cover could have been much more useful to the fleet. I am surprise that you have not made more attempt to make use of them for ASW warfare. Indeed its possible that had something like PIBA been built that the Moskva and Leningrad would not have been built. It might well have removed the need for specialist ASW cruisers like the 'Kresta II' and 'Kara' classes, they might have had long-range anti-ship missiles instead which would have brought much greater surface hitting power and with dedicated fighter cover, the chances of the Northern and Pacific fleets doing some serious damage to NATO supply lines would have been greater. It makes defence of the SSBN bastions more secure too. Flag showing becomes more impressive too. So there would be bonuses to the Soviet fleet, though the expense in the ships, manpower and running costs would doubtless force cutbacks elsewhere. Ultimately it might whet the appetite for Soviet supercarriers in the 1970s and then things would get more interesting. PIBA on its own is a shrunken Kiev, something like a Hermes-class carrier, ok to a point but not a leading-edge carrier.

With eight carriers that's potentially at least 500 fighters needed including wastage and training, a sizeable enough production run to warrant a purpose-built design or even a bespoke naval design.

NATO naval air power still offers the greatest chance to negate the threat through larger forces and more capable aircraft. Low-level Buccs with Red Beard might get through, look-down shoot-down is easier over the sea but still would be easy for an early 1960s generation fighter. Surface-to-surface firepower seems less likely, neither the USA or the UK had anything that could out-range 'Shaddock' at the time and if your taking on a task force of a carrier, converted 'Sverdlovs' and 'Krestas' then you are going to need either a lot of missiles or powerful buckets of instant sunshine to ruin their day without airpower.
 

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Its interesting that the 1960s Soviet fleet with its long range aircraft, missile ships and ASW/VSTOL carriers was what the "carrierless" navy study said the RN would have to build to replace its carriers.
By contrast, a carrier-based Soviet fleet would have looked more like the RN. Four to five carriers with AA and ASW escorts. The Sukhoi Su9, 11 and22 might have been a possible Air Force type for the carriers. The Mig23/27 looks very like a UK VG type.
 

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Its interesting that the 1960s Soviet fleet with its long range aircraft, missile ships and ASW/VSTOL carriers was what the "carrierless" navy study said the RN would have to build to replace its carriers.
By contrast, a carrier-based Soviet fleet would have looked more like the RN. Four to five carriers with AA and ASW escorts. The Sukhoi Su9, 11 and22 might have been a possible Air Force type for the carriers. The Mig23/27 looks very like a UK VG type.

Now that would be a pretty fun alt-history... "let's go subvert that old trope of a surviving RN carrier fleet. By replicating it, except on the Soviet side". The irony ! USN would blow a fuse, however... trading an ally for a "clone ennemy"...
 

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The goal wouldn't be to intercept the missiles (at least not past the late 50s). But to intercept the bombers before they could launch. Which was doable with subsonic attack aircraft

Doable - yes, efficient... not exactly. Tu-16K, attacking from 250-300 km would not left A-4 much time to intercept it. The rear-aspect firing capabilities of the first-gen Sidewiders would force the defending A-4 to circle around bomber, and chase it to make an attack.
There was a Aim-7 Sparrow armed Skyhawk proposed by Douglas (it could have been McDonald Douglas), with its search/guiding radar mounted in a modified centreline drop tank...

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Essex, Saipan and Independance all are fast carriers, up to 31 kt. By contrast Commencement bay (19 ships) and Casablanca (50 !!) are hopelessly slow.

I can see the Northrop N-156N being produced by 1956, along the N-156T (T-38) and N-156F (F-5). They assume air cover from Saipans and Independance carriers with Skyraider AEW to guide them. While the Skyshark failed, another atempt -successfull - could be done at a "turboprop Skyraider" with the correct engine - the T56 turbine from the Hercules and P-3 Orion.

As for the Essex - the Crusader I & II are fine, of course, but F-5D Skylancer and F-11F-1F Super Tiger are awesome. All three aircraft with J79 will rule the skies. Plus the N-156N on the smaller carriers, and Phantoms on the larger ones.
I've read both 19 and 22 for C. Bay, and something like 39 Casablancas were in good enough shape for deployment (out of 45, five were lost during the war). N-156 was meant to operate from C. Bay, A2D from Casablanca. Both would be useful for the roles they had in WW2, convoy escort and air support of amphibious assaults. Add SH2 and SH3s and they would be good anti-submarine platforms as well. They could free up the fast carriers to focus on sea control and strike. Personally I'd shift a bunch of them to other NATO navies for convoy protection in the Atlantic. And by a bunch I mean 1/2 to 2/3rds of them, keeping the rest for Pacific duty and to support the Marines.

I don't see the Navy sacrificing an attack squadron for more fighters.
They did throughout WW2, with the fighter complement increasing and the attack complement decreasing. Fleet carriers only became attack carriers after the IJN ceased to be. "The great Marianas turkey shoot" validated the approach, as it was the first time the carrier force that got the first strike in lost, since the USN fighters killed the IJN strike package. I'd submit the only reason Cold War carriers had as many attack aircraft as they did was that they weren't up against other carriers. And remember, the plan was for an F-14 and A-6 only wing in the 80s, with the F-14Cs replacing A-7s, which F-18s actually did.
They will work hard on getting systems like the AWG-9/AIM-54 into service so that one defensive fighter can engage multiple targets simultaneously long before they sacrifice an attack Squadron.
Er, yes, but first - it would be 1970s before the AIM-54 would be available, and second - they would be forced to dealt with Tu-22 & Tu-22M, not Tu-16. Also, they wouldn't be facing Mig-19 by this time.
I often wonder why did they bothered with the Missileer in the first place or did not tried a "plan B" at least.

Maybe a better idea would be to put the radar and missiles, first, in modified A-3 Skywarriors (as was done for testing, incidentally !). It had a very large bomb bay, maybe the Eagle could fit inside, even only 2 of them.

- and later, try to put the (hopefully matured) system on modified A-5 Vigilantes.
F6D was designed for long range, long endurance CAP against bombers. It would be less useful if the enemy had fighter escorts, but even in that case they'd just chuck half a dozen Eagles apiece and turn for home, and let the remaining Soviet fighters and bombers (who would have had their formations wrecked by evasive maneuvers) try and deal with (in my ideal airwing for the period) onrushing F8U-3 Advanced Crusaders and F11-2 Super Tigers flinging Eagle and Sparrow missiles their way before the merge.

As for AIM-54, Eagle had 60% (160nm to 100nm) more range, and Vought's Advanced Crusader version of the F8U-3 had a bigger radar than the Sparrow proposal and carried a pair of Vought's submission to the Eagle competition (along with 4 sidewinders). If it could carry those, it could carry a pair of Eagles.

Eagle should have been available in the mid 60s along with the F6D, and the Advanced Crusader variant of the F8U-3 could have carried it. Who needs Phantoms if you have Crusader III and Super Tiger?

The most obvious thing would be, as has been said, many more full modernisations of the Essex class ships, and possibly more vigorous British investment in new build carriers after the 1950s. Another would likely be a much more straightforward and quicker development of a Tomcat-type fighter.
If the USN had Eagle carrying F8U-3s, which were much better dogfighters than Phantoms, the Tomcat might not have been developed. Its replacement would have been a decade later than the F-14. I don't know what a 1978 rather than 1968 Tomcat would look like. Was Grumman into their supercruising canard aircraft designs by that point? Because that would be cool.

There was a Aim-7 Sparrow armed Skyhawk proposed by Douglas (it could have been McDonald Douglas), with its search/guiding radar mounted in a modified centreline drop tank...
You wouldn't need them. Super Tigers could carry Sparrow, and in the variant Vought proposed to Germany (which lost to the F-104 Lockheed bribes) could act as an attack aircraft as well. My ideal for this scenario would be Advanced Crusader, Super Tiger, and Buccaneer off the Midway and bigger carriers, and Super Tiger and Buccaneer off the smaller ones. The F11F-2 would act like an F/A-18, switching between fighter and attack as needed.

France only hope would be PA58 or PA59. PA58 is 45000 tons, early non-nuclear CdG.

- a golden opportunity to build carriers with the French in the 1955-1960 era. The last avatars of the "1954 carrier" at 40000- 45000 tons scream to be merged with PA58.
I quite like PA58. They would look good with Super Tigers and Buccaneers with RB04s (available in 1962) operating from them. Since F11F-2s were multi-role, so figure about a 2-3:1 ratio of F11F-2 to Buccs, since Super Tigers could pitch in and attack if necessary, increasing the number of aircraft available for both attack and defense.

Also, the attack aircraft now are in need of escort - they could be intercepted by Soviet AEW-guided fighters. With all respect to A-4, but if, combat-loaded, they are intercepted by Mig-19, they would be massacred.
P.S. Actually, I wonder; would A-3 have longer service career? If the emphasis of strike aircraft shifted from "low-altitude toss-bombing attack" toward the "standoff long-range missile attacks", then A-3 looks like an optimal platform for any kind of heavy anti-ship/anti-ground missiles.
I like the A-4, especially the Spey proposal, but with Super Tigers they become superfluous.

Buccs would still be useful, but if F-15s and F-16s can't catch Buccaneers flying at 20 feet over Nevada during Red Flag Mig 19s aren't going to catch them 20 feet over the sea. Add Rb04s for standoff and the situation gets even worse for the Soviets.

I suspect the A-3 and A-5 might have been retired earlier, since space is now even more of a premium. The A-6 and Buccaneer are both much better attack aircraft than the A-3 anyway.
 

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They did throughout WW2, with the fighter complement increasing and the attack complement decreasing. Fleet carriers only became attack carriers after the IJN ceased to be. "The great Marianas turkey shoot" validated the approach, as it was the first time the carrier force that got the first strike in lost, since the USN fighters killed the IJN strike package. I'd submit the only reason Cold War carriers had as many attack aircraft as they did was that they weren't up against other carriers. And remember, the plan was for an F-14 and A-6 only wing in the 80s, with the F-14Cs replacing A-7s, which F-18s actually did.
They only did that because at the start of the war, carrier air groups had only a single fighter squadron and it was very rapidly realized that they needed more fighters to both escort an outbound strike and defend against an inbound strike. And even then, they didn't replace an attack squadron. They just added an additional VF squadron. Usually while either transferring the bombers from the Scouting Squadron to the Bombing Squadron or redesignating the VS squadron as a VB squadron.


F6D was designed for long range, long endurance CAP against bombers. It would be less useful if the enemy had fighter escorts, but even in that case they'd just chuck half a dozen Eagles apiece and turn for home, and let the remaining Soviet fighters and bombers (who would have had their formations wrecked by evasive maneuvers) try and deal with (in my ideal airwing for the period) onrushing F8U-3 Advanced Crusaders and F11-2 Super Tigers flinging Eagle and Sparrow missiles their way before the merge.

As for AIM-54, Eagle had 60% (160nm to 100nm) more range, and Vought's Advanced Crusader version of the F8U-3 had a bigger radar than the Sparrow proposal and carried a pair of Vought's submission to the Eagle competition (along with 4 sidewinders). If it could carry those, it could carry a pair of Eagles.

Eagle should have been available in the mid 60s along with the F6D, and the Advanced Crusader variant of the F8U-3 could have carried it. Who needs Phantoms if you have Crusader III and Super Tiger?
There's more than a few problems here. First, the AAM-N-10 Eagle never got off the drawing board. And in light of the fact that the much later AIM-54 Phoenix was partially based on the Eagle, I'm highly doubtful it would have achieved those range numbers. Or any of the claimed numbers to be honest. I'm particularly doubtful it would be even remotely accurate. Particularly since the missile was in no way fire-and-forget. It required a mid-course guidance update. And that meant the launching Aircraft had to maintain radar lock on the targeted aircraft. And given the state of radar fire control systems, it could likely only track a single target at a time. So no, they won't be "chucking half a dozen" missiles at the bombers and running.

I also doubt the F8U-3 would be carrying it. It was a single seat aircraft and radar systems of the time were more than a little complex. That was the main reason the Phantom was chosen over the Super Crusader. It took a dedicated RIO to operate the radar and target early radar guided missiles effectively. And the Super Tiger was never intended to be anything more than a daylight dogfighter armed with cannon and two Sidewinders.


If the USN had Eagle carrying F8U-3s, which were much better dogfighters than Phantoms, the Tomcat might not have been developed. Its replacement would have been a decade later than the F-14. I don't know what a 1978 rather than 1968 Tomcat would look like. Was Grumman into their supercruising canard aircraft designs by that point? Because that would be cool.
Except the Navy didn't want a dogfighter. It wanted a fleet defense interceptor. So yes, it would still go the F-111/F-14 (or similar) route.

And again, the Eagle never got off the drawing board, so it's doubtful that it could deliver the performance claimed. 1958 is too early for active radar homing missiles. The tech just wasn't there.


You wouldn't need them. Super Tigers could carry Sparrow, and in the variant Vought proposed to Germany (which lost to the F-104 Lockheed bribes) could act as an attack aircraft as well. My ideal for this scenario would be Advanced Crusader, Super Tiger, and Buccaneer off the Midway and bigger carriers, and Super Tiger and Buccaneer off the smaller ones. The F11F-2 would act like an F/A-18, switching between fighter and attack as needed.
No, they couldn't carry Sparrows. They were Sidewinder armed only. And attack capabilities would have been similar to the Crusader. A few dumb bombs or rocket pods. Bomb trucks, they were not.


I like the A-4, especially the Spey proposal, but with Super Tigers they become superfluous.
No, they don't. Again, the Super Tiger was not an attack aircraft. The Skyhawk could carry a much bigger bomb load than the F11F-2.


Buccs would still be useful, but if F-15s and F-16s can't catch Buccaneers flying at 20 feet over Nevada during Red Flag Mig 19s aren't going to catch them 20 feet over the sea. Add Rb04s for standoff and the situation gets even worse for the Soviets.
Ummmmm, citation? Also, Red Flag is a training exercise, not real combat. In training exercises, there are often rules in place to allow things to happen that would never be allowed in actual combat. Usually to test specific systems or tactics.
 

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I suspect the A-3 and A-5 might have been retired earlier, since space is now even more of a premium. The A-6 and Buccaneer are both much better attack aircraft than the A-3 anyway.
But noone on deck can carry as much gas as a Whale, even today. Also had plenty of SWAP-C, range, and endurance for EW and ELINT which saw them serve to the 90's.
All capabilities sorely missed with the Shornets, Growlers, and Buddy pods tasked today.

A bit like the F-4, it was versatile and cheap enough that even the USAF purchased the B-66 to fillout the EW and Recce role.

The Vig is a bit more niche, and probably a lot easier to justify getting the boot, but it, too, filled a role that neither the Bucc or Intruder could fill alone.
 

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