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New British Carriers, cutbacks and CATOBAR vs STOVL

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Triton

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Aircraft Carrier Alliance video of ordered CVF Queen Elizabeth Class, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. Love the use of "In the Death Cell" by Queen from the soundtrack of the motion picture Flash Gordon (1980).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARcPnLrVgqE
 

Woody

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Very cool, thanks.

But I thought they were being designed for potential conversion to catapults if the need arose. That's not going to be much use without an angled deck (also pretty useful to STOVL aircraft with fan problems). :(

Cheers, Woody
 

colombamike

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View of this design during Euronaval 2008
p6190814.jpg

Regard
 

Thorvic

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Has anybody seen any decent drawings of the CVF taht could be used as a basis for a model. Theres lots of artwork and CGI been published but very few drawings of the finalised design ::)

G
 

Mike Pryce

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'Thar she blows!' - First sections delivered to Rosyth from Appledore, Devon:

http://www.scotsman.com/edinburgh/In-pictures-Aircraft-carrier-parts.6216449.jp

&

http://www.navynews.co.uk/news/761-bow-wow-as-new-carrier-sails.aspx

I hadn't realised things were quite so advanced. Seems only local press reporting it at the moment (Scotland and Devon), which is surprising as it is an election issue. BBC had a video of it leaving Appledore on news website, butthat has gone (was at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/8599790.stm).
 

Mike Pryce

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Hull and prop images from The Sun:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/2923884/Navys-biggest-ever-warship-is-starting-to-take-shape.html

And mention of 'three runways' ??!!
 

Mike Pryce

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Blog posting on the subject of alternatives:

http://defacqrestech.wordpress.com/
 

TomS

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harrier said:
And mention of 'three runways' ??!!

That phrase turns up a couple of places, like Naval Technology. I think it may stem from some older design iterations where the ramp ran the full width of the bow. In those designs, there were two short take off runs with jet blast deflectors at about the 160-m mark, and one long one taking up the full length of the deck.

In the newer design with a narrower ramp, the "third runway" may refer to the port sponson, which is used for helicopter landing spots and could perhaps be used for rolling STOs if the ramp were damaged or otherwise unavailable.
 

Thorvic

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harrier said:
Blog posting on the subject of alternatives:

http://defacqrestech.wordpress.com/

See the Blogger is being a bit of a plank as he neglects to mention the costs incurred from possibly cancelling CVF for Cavour would actually cost more than completing the current CVF!!!. The costs when factoring the cancellation fees, money already spent and the 1000s of workers being made jobless in the shipyards and sub contrators. It would then leave us with a VTOL carrier with a very limited timespan airgroup and incapable of being adapted to for CTOL over its ontended 50yr service life as the CVFs have been designed.

I suspect the CVF's will both be built, however what airgroup they will actually get and how they a finally configured are a different matter. With F-35B still only in the early stages of its STOVL flight envelope testing along with skyrocketing costs coupled with the USMC ampib capability also now being questions you can see the new UK govt looking for more cost effective alternatives possibly including co=operation with our allies which was mooted as a policy aim. Wait 6 mths for the SDR to run which will be used to determine our future policy and therfore equipment needs.

G
 

Mike Pryce

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Blog giving latest build update from engineering leader of programme:

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/blog/readying-for-flight/1004424.article

(Things seem fairly advanced already (presumably defence review is focussing minds!), which makes me question Lewis Page's latest views that STOVL may be about to be abandoned:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/17/navy_catobar_pilots/)

Also an earlier blog from same author:

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/blog/queen-elizabeth-takes-its-bow/1003401.article

And a related one on the same website:

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/blog/full-scale-model/1003282.article
 

Thorvic

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Well Mike your probably more in the know from being in the trade and your passion for British VTOL.

But AFAIK the situation with the F-35B is that its the preferred option but won't be formally ordered till it has successfully completed its STOVL flight testing and proved it meets the requirements expected of it. The problem is the budget review & SDR are being run in conjunction at the moment and the F-35B delays couldn't have come at a worse time.

However the thing to remember with Governments is that its business as usual till they formally announce their decisions in Sept/Oct. Don't forget TSR2 was about to fly the 2nd prototype the same day the cancellation was announced, no doubt the work on the carriers and their airgroup are still motoring along acting upon their last instructions until told other wise. Afterall there are a great many companies and peoples livelyhoods awaiting the SDR news and what bad news it may bring.

(See we should have pressed forward with the P1216, no doubt we could have produced a working aircraft and replaced the harriers in the time JCA has taken ;) )
 

Mike Pryce

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Geoff,

I agree the carriers could still be for the chop, and F-35B too. I'm not surprised that the problems with the latter are currently all the actuators etc. that have to work in concert for the V/STOL system to function - I recall Ralph Hooper's view that the Harrier was never the best V/STOL, just the simplest, and that is why it worked.

Nevertheless, Lewis Page's (and others) view that it will be cheap/easy(ish) to put elecromagnetic cats in the carriers seems a bit OTT, and a bit late if deck plates are being laid. That said, I believe there is scope for steam cats to be put in at a later date, using special steam generators. Or maybe I imagined a knowledgeable source told me that!

(See we should have pressed forward with the P1216, no doubt we could have produced a working aircraft and replaced the harriers in the time JCA has taken )

I agree! However, a more pressing matter is whether I finish the P1216 book before JCA is out of service! Have put aside time this weekend to do it, telly willing!
 

alertken

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The case for 2 is to ensure that at short notice we have 1 ready to roll. 100% spare asset.

One element in the business model that causes the financial success of Southwest/Ryanair/Easyjet is that they specified their new-build 737s around a Reliability and Maintenance regime tailored to their operation. So: segmented structural inspections done overnight/weekend/slow February, where "legacy" operators took the asset out of commission for a month every 4 years; spare parts stocked just-in-case, at depot, at outports, on board: dead capital is cheaper than aircraft-on-ground. This all adds up to higher utilisation than competitors, and no maintenance/casualty-spare asset on charge.

That is so far away from: 4 SSBNs so that 1 is always up; so far from 1960s' RN with (E/R/V/H/C) 5 nuclear vault/Buccaneer carriers, for 1 or 2 to be up at short notice.

A hint yesterday from a pol that maybe only 1 CVF will survive. My Q: over a 15-year ownership cycle (like airlines do 737 $), how "ready" could 1 CVF be? 2 crews, generous holdings of maintenance inventory, 24/7 dockyard support...How close can a well-managed 1 become to a 9-5, Monday-Friday except in August 2?
 

Triton

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Sources:
http://media.photobucket.com/image/RGSS%20Santi/TheOriginalCooper/Carrier1-1.jpg
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/upload/img/CVF_STOVL_CutAway.jpg
 

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Mike Pryce

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Costs up again:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13218582

This is also interesting:

http://www.livemint.com/2011/04/28132039/Pipavav-Babcock-to-jointly-bu.html?h=A1

Since the SDSR the carriers have made little sense to me (no money left for aircraft/carrier 'holiday' showing they are not essential etc.). But they do make some sense if sold to India to recoup some of the money (maybe with a few carrier-capable Typhoons thrown in to seal the deal(s) - http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,12559.msg123109/topicseen.html#msg123109)
 

Thorvic

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Oh i don't know Mike, Libya seams to prove the point, yes with A2A refuelling and overflight permissions the RAF could reach the Libyan coast but only for initial stand off strikes, to maintain the Air Cover we had to relocate to a friendly airbase and the best we got was the Adriatic so not even on the right Sea with the traditional base of Malta now off limits and Cyprus grumbled about using our base there.

So yeap i would say the Carriers are quite justified especially when the Tornados are knackered out in a few years time. Come 2015 the Army wil be out of Afghanistan and out of Germany, after the last 15 years i rather doubt any govt will be willing to comit our ground forces again for a while, so it will be down to the RN/RAF to enforce policy in the next decade.

As to the costs, well the carriers went upto 20% when Gordon Brown slowed the build program down, now they have slowed it down again and added to extra cost of the Cat & trap gear along with modifiying the ships design, so yes the costs will have increased as the shipyard set their initial costs with a 2014 delivery date and expected new orders for MARS and Type26's to follow the carriers to maintain workflow. These other jobs are in limbo and delayed so rather than fund a new building program they find it cheaper to drag out the carrier program.
 

uk 75

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A sad saga. Again the U.K taxpayer has drawn the short straw. If back in 1997 the government had ordered a simple design based on the 70s U.S cvv design studies with the F18 as its main type. 2 such ships would already be in service and one would be operating with the usn off Libya. It was that easy!
 

Thorvic

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uk 75 said:
A sad saga. Again the U.K taxpayer has drawn the short straw. If back in 1997 the government had ordered a simple design based on the 70s U.S cvv design studies with the F18 as its main type. 2 such ships would already be in service and one would be operating with the usn off Libya. It was that easy!

It could have been if that was the requirement, the trouble was its been an evolving requirement, in 97 the labour govt would never consider a full CTOL carrier 30 yrs after it declared them defunct, nor would the RAF support such a policy as they would have seen it as a direct competitor to their Typhoon program and Tornado replacement. The CVF program today is a result in the changing world situation combined with an overstretched budget and failure of the JSF to live up to initial expectations and thus the JCA requirment.

G
 

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uk 75 said:
A sad saga. Again the U.K taxpayer has drawn the short straw. If back in 1997 the government had ordered a simple design based on the 70s U.S cvv design studies with the F18 as its main type. 2 such ships would already be in service and one would be operating with the usn off Libya. It was that easy!
Afraid not: it would still have needed designed, since the CVV studies were to US standards and using US engineering practices of the 1970s. The design effort to bring it up 2000s UK standards and engineering practices would've pushed back placing the build orders until 2003-2004. Then it would've clashed with the Type 45 program, which couldn't have been sped up much - bear in mind that the build rate was set by financial considerations, not by technical limitations. You'd get the ships in more or less the same timeframe, and they'd be no better - possibly worse.

The trick in dealing with the MoD is to nail them to a specification on the day the contract is signed, and make changing it very difficult.
 

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RLBH said:
The trick in dealing with the MoD is to nail them to a specification on the day the contract is signed, and make changing it very difficult.

And load that contract up with cancellation clauses making outright cancellation just as hard.
 

uk 75

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I take the point that adapting a 70s US design to UK current shipbuilding and rn requirements. But a simple conventional carrier design operating F18s would still have been a better bet than a design built round an untested plane not wanted by the usn.
 

JFC Fuller

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Contrary to myth the CVF is not really built around any plane but around a set of expected aircraft specifications. They are intended to be in service for 50 years an incorporate an element of future-proofing as part of the design. Even if the F-18 had been chosen (which would have been a mistake) the ships would probably have looked similar just without the absurd choice of V/STOL.
 

uk 75

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SL you said it. Absurd choice of aircraft. Building big non ctol carriers has given us the worst of both worlds. Italy has its new stovl carrier already. To be in the position we are in is worse than absurd.
 

JFC Fuller

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The policy has been badly undertaken from the outset. The ships are the right size and they are now getting the right aircraft- its just a shame that getting here was so badly executed.
 

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Why is the hangar deck so small (on such a large ship)? It doesn't look like they can fit many 'planes inside (looking at the pictures) :eek:
 

Thorvic

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sealordlawrence said:
The policy has been badly undertaken from the outset. The ships are the right size and they are now getting the right aircraft- its just a shame that getting here was so badly executed.

Yeap but perhaps it turns out well in the end, the trouble was it needed a strong political will to provide the best when the requirement was issued, unfortunately at the time it was was just a CVS & Harrier replacement program using better designs to make up for the inadequacies of the existing kit (CVS too small to accommodate and operate worthwhile number of aircraft and subsonic low capacity of those harrier aircraft ).

The requirement was launched in 97 still in the middile of the post cold war dividend, where the Carriers were doing the no fly zone over Bosnia, it was Afghanistan & Iraq where our Tornados were unable to support our troops or required complex over flight and basing negotiations to get them near enough to actually provide support, whilst the US & French were able to park a convential carrier for Afghanistan, and using the Harriers on Ark in Iraq were limited to CAS role due to the hot conditions degrading performance and thus bring back loads.
Thus in 2003/4 they decided on larger carriers future proofed for a 50 yrs service so capable of conversion to CATOBAR operations, however at this time the RAF was fighting for its Typhoon tranches, so would only consider the JSF as a harrier replacement as they would have objected to a CTOL F-35 or alternative such as F-18 & Rafale as a direct threat to their Tornado fleet or future Typhoon Tranches. Plus at the time LM were still pushing the F-35B as having all the capabilities of the F-35A or C with just a decrease in range as a result of the STOVL hardware, it was only as that program got into trouble, the prices skyrocketed, capability drooped and in service put back that put a CATOBAR solution to the fore.

To be honest if we wanted a CATOBAR carrier ASAP and reduce costs, we could easily opt for conventional Steam Catapults, switch from F-35C to F-18E/F and have the carriers ready for service in 2017, rather than 2020(ish), its not the build its the waiting for new technology and putting back payments to later in the decade.
 

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Caravellarella said:
Why is the hangar deck so small (on such a large ship)? It doesn't look like they can fit many 'planes inside (looking at the pictures) :eek:

Terry, the hanger is larger than Charles De Gaulle CVN, the design can probably hold about 30+ aircraft. Most carriers rely on deck parking to keep their aircraft capability high in the the larger US CVN's probably couldn't fit all their current airgroup of 60 aircraft in their Nimitz class hangers the certainly couldn't when they still had a flight group in the 90 aircraft range.

One thing to remember about the CVF design, was the original Thales design was actually 300m long and capacity was 50 aircraft, as part of cost cutting (in terms of ship, aircraft and dock facilities they shortened the design to 280m, most of which was removed from fwd of the first island, which shortened the bows and and the hanger, that 20m also pushed back the catapult start back into the angled flight deck area as originally the CATOBAR design had prevented this fouling of the angled landing deck to allow for constant cycle air operations. On the STOVL 300m design it allowed for a full width bow ski-jump and a secondary STOL path angled from the bows to a spot between the islands so 2 F-35B could launch in very close succession, when it was shortened the start postion would have been at put back to where the rear island was !!!, and the loss in deck & hanger space meant the bows had to be split so one side could be used to accommodate the deck park for aircraft.
 

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Thorvic said:
Plus at the time LM were still pushing the F-35B as having all the capabilities of the F-35A or C with just a decrease in range as a result of the STOVL hardware, it was only as that program got into trouble, the prices skyrocketed, capability drooped and in service put back that put a CATOBAR solution to the fore.

Hang on a second where did this bombshell come from? I understand our British friends are extremely able at rationalising cutbacks to forces capability so as to see the best in everything. But writing off the F-35B in order to justify the SDR change to your carrier(s) is a bit too much.

There has been no loss in F-35B capability. Price has gone up for development and the production push back means cheaper aircraft from mass production lots are only available at later dates. But none of this is crippling to the UK. Like all partners the UK doesn’t have to pay more for development cost increases, that’s the USA’s problem, and the delays in schedule are not half as bad as the carrier capability holiday and the huge delays required to work up a CATOBAR carrier capability from scratch.

All other things being equal (like number of aircraft onboard, etc) the CVF with F-35C will be far less capable than the CVF with F-35B. The original requirement for CATOBAR designed into the CVF was not to improve capability at some later point but to provide the UK with an (on paper at least) alternative to the JSF program.

Thorvic said:
To be honest if we wanted a CATOBAR carrier ASAP and reduce costs, we could easily opt for conventional Steam Catapults, switch from F-35C to F-18E/F and have the carriers ready for service in 2017, rather than 2020(ish), its not the build its the waiting for new technology and putting back payments to later in the decade.

Because this is an idea generated by false rationalisation of the SDR changes. The UK has gone to CATOBAR – despite the additional cost to the ship – so they can save a lot of money in the immediate period by not having any carriers for 5-10 years and save more money in the long term by only having 1/3 or a 1/2 of the total carrier force.

Most of the cost increases are due to the long delays in construction. Which will mean more people will be paid for a longer time to do less work. But this means you get to spend less each year and since you aren’t paying to actually use these things you save more money overall.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
Because this is an idea generated by false rationalisation of the SDR changes. The UK has gone to CATOBAR – despite the additional cost to the ship – so they can save a lot of money in the immediate period by not having any carriers for 5-10 years and save more money in the long term by only having 1/3 or a 1/2 of the total carrier force.

Most of the cost increases are due to the long delays in construction. Which will mean more people will be paid for a longer time to do less work. But this means you get to spend less each year and since you aren’t paying to actually use these things you save more money overall.

The CATOBAR decision had nothing to with saving money in the carrier programme either in individual build years or by pushing back the in service date, that was the yet to be confirmed decision to only fit out one (Despite what was said at the time what to do with the second hull is still in flux). The CATOBAR decision was about saving money in the fast jet fleet by reducing its overall size by eliminating the Harrier fleet and then making the F-35C the Tornado GR4 replacement which will then become de-facto Joint Force F-35 with the additional range and payload of the C version being a consequential benefit.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
The CATOBAR decision had nothing to with saving money in the carrier programme either in individual build years or by pushing back the in service date, that was the yet to be confirmed decision to only fit out one (Despite what was said at the time what to do with the second hull is still in flux). The CATOBAR decision was about saving money in the fast jet fleet by reducing its overall size by eliminating the Harrier fleet and then making the F-35C the Tornado GR4 replacement which will then become de-facto Joint Force F-35

While I agree with the sentiment about the immediate savings via the Harrier and Invincible class fleet and have made this point as well it is wrong to dismiss the spending push back via the longer construction period. While this will result in a far more expensive ship the longer schedule will mean savings in near years. Things that would have earned receipts in 2012 will now need cheques in 2014 and so on. This is all part of the SDR ‘plan’ for immediate savings so the UK can balance the books now and hope that in the future their economy will recover and things will all be good.

sealordlawrence said:
with the additional range and payload of the C version being a consequential benefit.

These are illusory benefits. For the Navy the radius of action of the F-35C will be less than the F-35B despite its higher flying endurance. The need to safely recover back onto the carrier via arrestor landing requires this. Especially as the UK has no carrier IFR tanker capability nor one planned. For the air force the loss of off air base deployment will mean in the really tough fights the F-35C will be based further away from the action. So any gain in radius will be offset by being further away to start with. Also with the benefit of IFR the F-35B has longer endurance than the F-35C because it is more fuel efficient to fly. This means it will spend less time at the tanker and more time in a combat orbit. As to payload this is very much a lower order issue. Sure the weapons bays are a bit smaller but its hardly a mission changing issue.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
While I agree with the sentiment about the immediate savings via the Harrier and Invincible class fleet and have made this point as well it is wrong to dismiss the spending push back via the longer construction period. While this will result in a far more expensive ship the longer schedule will mean savings in near years. Things that would have earned receipts in 2012 will now need cheques in 2014 and so on. This is all part of the SDR ‘plan’ for immediate savings so the UK can balance the books now and hope that in the future their economy will recover and things will all be good.

The CATOBAR decision was not made to push back the delivery schedule, that could have been achieved without the CATOBAR conversion as demonstrated by the earlier delay.

CATOBAR is not about short term savings, it is about long term savings by permanently reducing the size of the RAF through the elimination of the V/STOL force and the replacement of Tornado with F-35C with the latter becoming a Joint Force asset as Harrier used to be. Effectively, the JCA project (138 JSF) has had the half that was dedicated to Harrier replacement cancelled.

These are illusory benefits. For the Navy the radius of action of the F-35C will be less than the F-35B despite its higher flying endurance. The need to safely recover back onto the carrier via arrestor landing requires this. Especially as the UK has no carrier IFR tanker capability nor one planned. For the air force the loss of off air base deployment will mean in the really tough fights the F-35C will be based further away from the action. So any gain in radius will be offset by being further away to start with. Also with the benefit of IFR the F-35B has longer endurance than the F-35C because it is more fuel efficient to fly. This means it will spend less time at the tanker and more time in a combat orbit. As to payload this is very much a lower order issue. Sure the weapons bays are a bit smaller but its hardly a mission changing issue.

Nothing illusory about them at all. Even flying from carriers the C will have a longer range, approximately 30% under land based conditions according to Lockheed Martin, (Courtesy of nearly 30% greater internal fuel capacity) and comes with the added benefit of larger internal weapons bays- certainly not a trivial issue. The greater payload and range were specifically referenced in the SDSR document. The off-basing part of Harrier ops has been grossly over-exaggerated as demonstrated by the deployment of Tornado to Afghanistan. Harriers spent most of their lives operating from the same facilities that Tornadoes could except when on board aircraft carriers.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sealordlawrence said:
The CATOBAR decision was not made to push back the delivery schedule, that could have been achieved without the CATOBAR conversion as demonstrated by the earlier delay.

The CATOBAR decision provided a reason, tenuous sure but this is politics we are talking about, to delay the build schedule. One of many 'reasons' but all intrinsically linked to create an argument to fool the ignorant into thinking that the change in the CVFs and their air wing will improve the capability of the UK military. Further the actual change in work will require a delay to ensure detail design is completed and new engineering of catapults and arrestor gear.

sealordlawrence said:
Nothing illusory about them at all. Even flying from carriers the C will have a longer range, approximately 30% under land based conditions according to Lockheed Martin, (Courtesy of nearly 30% greater internal fuel capacity)

Sure the F-35C will stay in the air longer, about 30% longer, but this additional endurance will not be used to fly to and from any target. It will be used to provide a loiter when returned to the carrier so the aircraft can wait its turn to land and continue to fly another circuit if it fails to land successfully. Both myself and F-14D have explained this issue laboriously in other threads. This is NOT negotiable it is part of the having a CATOBAR carrier system. Because a STOVL aircraft can bring itself to a stop before landing it does not need this kind of fuel reserve as they can sequentially land much, much quicker and have a far lower rate of failed landings.

sealordlawrence said:
and comes with the added benefit of larger internal weapons bays- certainly not a trivial issue.

Yes it is. How does it effect any mission the F-35B or F-35C can fly? It doesn’t. Therfore meaningless.

sealordlawrence said:
The greater payload and range were specifically referenced in the SDSR document.

Politicians misleading the public? Say it isn’t so… ;)

sealordlawrence said:
The off-basing part of Harrier ops has been grossly over-exaggerated as demonstrated by the deployment of Tornado to Afghanistan. Harriers spent most of their lives operating from the same facilities that Tornadoes could except when on board aircraft carriers.

Sure in the modern form of colonial policing the basing options matters naught. But as I said in any kind of really serious conflict it does. Though as I also mentioned in contemporary operations the F-35B can actually stay over the combat zone more than the F-35C because of its lower rate of fuel consumption and quicker refuel time. That big wing is all about making CATOBAR operations possible. It doesn’t make for a more enduring aircraft.
 

Grey Havoc

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sealordlawrence said:
Even flying from carriers the C will have a longer range, approximately 30% under land based conditions according to Lockheed Martin, (Courtesy of nearly 30% greater internal fuel capacity)...

Guys, IIRC, that figure of 30% greater fuel capacity (and it's attendant extra range), no longer applies because of structural changes made to the C (some of which it shares with the other models). Not sure what the revised figures for fuel capacity and range are, though.
 

Mike Pryce

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This story will run for some time, but a few things will make it a constant point of controversy:

1. The idea of the RAF becoming a 'joint' force, operating from the carrier (not plural, see next point!) is very unlikely.The fate of the Harriers bears this out. The RAF has always defaulted to its land based 'strategic airpower' raison d'etre, over carrier airpower. The carrier 'holiday' will reinforce this argument.

2. Only having one F-35C capable carrier makes little sense, as it means that for much (or most) of the time land based F-35C's will be needed in any sudden crisis (carrier on other side of globe/in refit etc.). So the justification for keeping one carrier is undermined by the need to have the land-based alternative kept 'at readiness'. The UK/French carrier sharing idea is a fig leaf for the 'one carrier' failings of both nations. The operational complexities of different aircraft/crews/cultures will make cross-deck ops very hard to do in a useful way.

3. Building two big carriers, one fixed wing capable, but only having a core of twelve F-35Cs, and the other vertical flight capable (helicopters only it seems), and put into storage, makes even less sense. Twice the spend, less than half the capability. For moving marines and helos, the Italian Cavour would make more sense, and cost less to build and operate. As the whole 'design for 50 years' case is made for the carriers, operating costs over 50 years really will count, and a smaller ship would be cheaper.

4. STOVL has advantages noted in many places, such as sortie rates, flexible basing, no need for tanking support etc. that do offset range advantages for CTOL aircraft. Libyan ops have shown this, with no US super carrier but USMC Harriers operating off USS Kearsage, a lot closer to Libya than the RAF in Sicily. Thorvic is right that this shows carriers make sense, but you need a workable fleet of carriers to give you this option. The UK is not planning for a workable fleet, and IMHO only STOVL can give them one, if only because land-based crews can get to sea with minimal training through STOVL.

Of course, all this harks back to 1964-66, with the RAF's Phantoms to be 'carrier capable' to bolster the RN. Soon seen as impractical. Only the Sea Harrier/Harrier combo has ever shown how a land-based air force can work at sea.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
The CATOBAR decision provided a reason, tenuous sure but this is politics we are talking about, to delay the build schedule. One of many 'reasons' but all intrinsically linked to create an argument to fool the ignorant into thinking that the change in the CVFs and their air wing will improve the capability of the UK military. Further the actual change in work will require a delay to ensure detail design is completed and new engineering of catapults and arrestor gear.

CATOBAR was given as an excuse, but the CATOBAR decision was not taken to save money in the near term.

Sure the F-35C will stay in the air longer, about 30% longer, but this additional endurance will not be used to fly to and from any target. It will be used to provide a loiter when returned to the carrier so the aircraft can wait its turn to land and continue to fly another circuit if it fails to land successfully. Both myself and F-14D have explained this issue laboriously in other threads. This is NOT negotiable it is part of the having a CATOBAR carrier system. Because a STOVL aircraft can bring itself to a stop before landing it does not need this kind of fuel reserve as they can sequentially land much, much quicker and have a far lower rate of failed landings.

Yes it will, some of that 30% will contribute to greater strike range even if it is only a minority.

Yes it is. How does it effect any mission the F-35B or F-35C can fly? It doesn’t. Therfore meaningless.

Certainly not, larger bays enable a wider variety of munitions to be carried internally where they do not degrade LO or aerodynamic characteristics, it makes a great deal of difference.

Politicians misleading the public? Say it isn’t so… ;)

Nothing misleading about it.

Sure in the modern form of colonial policing the basing options matters naught. But as I said in any kind of really serious conflict it does. Though as I also mentioned in contemporary operations the F-35B can actually stay over the combat zone more than the F-35C because of its lower rate of fuel consumption and quicker refuel time. That big wing is all about making CATOBAR operations possible. It doesn’t make for a more enduring aircraft.

No it cant, a C can stay there longer than a B. And the forward basing thing is nonsense. Always has been and always will be, just because a fixed wing aircraft can take off in a slightly shorter distance it does not reduce all the other infrastructure required to support it.
 

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Regarding the B/C STOVL/CTOL etc., one would assume that the larger wing/lower span loading of the C will improve cruise efficiency, and extend range.

Similarly, at least in the UK, any requirement for a Harrier successor since the 1980s that I know of has called for a 'wave off' capability for STOVL aircraft, with a missed landing, 5-10 minutes loiter and then another landing to cater for any incidents/evolutions of the ship etc. Interestingly, this was called for in land based STOVL as well, for similar reasons I assume.

Good sense I think - no one wants to have only one chance at landing - although subtly different from CTOL as the STOVL could still land on another piece of deck, just preferably not if there has just been a crash etc., while a CTOL would not have the possibility.

Regarding forward basing, it has been a benefit. At Kandahar Harriers could operate long before Tornadoes, as the latter needed a major infrastructure (apron) update and had issues with the runway there that the Harrier did not.

In addition, the USMC have forward based Harriers in Gulf Wars 1 and 2, and the RAF/RN in the Falklands (San Carlos/HMS Sheathbill). While the latter did not see a huge number of sorties, it did allow the carriers to withdraw out of Exocet range, while adding a third 'deck' closer to the threat.

Of course, if you already have many decks, you can feel happier risking one 'forward', as with USS Kearsage. The benefits of STOVL are subtle, but real.
 

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harrier said:
Regarding forward basing, it has been a benefit. At Kandahar Harriers could operate long before Tornadoes, as the latter needed a major infrastructure (apron) update and had issues with the runway there that the Harrier did not.

Allow me to clarify my earlier remark, of the issues at Kandahar the only one that could have been mitigated by STOVL as a concept was the runway. The rest of the issues came from the fact that the Tornado and the Harrier are a completely different class of aircraft- the former being a heavy two seat swing-wing, supersonic, twin engine deep strike aircraft the latter being a lightweight, single seat, single engine light attack aircraft. Most of the Harriers deployability has been provided not by its STOLV characteristics but by its low logistics and support footprint. Comparing the Harrier to the Tornado in this regard is like comparing the A4 to the F-14. With the F-35B/C this distinction is largely removed.

This is not just a Kandahar issue but applies anywhere else where you want to forward deploy aircraft, the runway is only part of the required support infrastructure. I absolutely agree that in losing the Harrier the RAF is sacrificing its ability to rapidly forward deploy aircraft, but that is not because it is giving up STOLV, it is because it is giving up a relatively simple CAS aircraft (a concept also embodied in the Jaguar) for a combination of high-end and heavy deep strike aircraft and multi-role strike fighters. It is worth comparing the manner in which some Jaguar units and the Harriers were used by RAFG in terms of basing, they were actually quite similar.
 

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harrier said:
Regarding the B/C STOVL/CTOL etc., one would assume that the larger wing/lower span loading of the C will improve cruise efficiency, and extend range.

But it doesn’t. It causes higher drag and therefore higher fuel burn at cruise speed/altitude. Would also detract from acceleration and speed for engine setting.

harrier said:
Similarly, at least in the UK, any requirement for a Harrier successor since the 1980s that I know of has called for a 'wave off' capability for STOVL aircraft, with a missed landing, 5-10 minutes loiter and then another landing to cater for any incidents/evolutions of the ship etc. Interestingly, this was called for in land based STOVL as well, for similar reasons I assume.

Yes but the safe recovery margins for STOVL are far below that of CATOBAR as well as the risk of wave off and the flight deck not being able to take landings. And that is USN CATOBAR with IFR tankers on hand, without which your margin is not just to get to the tanker but to get back to shore or the deck. The RN won’t have any tankers which frankly makes it very difficult to see them conducting any flight operations outside safe recovery to shore ranges. That is unless they want to start ditching F-35Cs at the same rate they were writing off Corsairs and Seafires in the war.

harrier said:
Regarding forward basing, it has been a benefit. At Kandahar Harriers could operate long before Tornadoes, as the latter needed a major infrastructure (apron) update and had issues with the runway there that the Harrier did not.

In addition, the USMC have forward based Harriers in Gulf Wars 1 and 2, and the RAF/RN in the Falklands (San Carlos/HMS Sheathbill). While the latter did not see a huge number of sorties, it did allow the carriers to withdraw out of Exocet range, while adding a third 'deck' closer to the threat.

And let’s not forget RAF Germany in the Cold War to add to your list. Plus the many benefits of forward basing that accrues to STOL and VTOL aircraft. Very far from “a nonsense” as it might look from some armchair.

harrier said:
Of course, if you already have many decks, you can feel happier risking one 'forward', as with USS Kearsage. The benefits of STOVL are subtle, but real.

The benefits are far from subtle and significant to the carrier and the air wing. But if you’ve never been to sea on a carrier or never been involved in the professional delivery of carrier aviation these benefits are not distinct. On this thread F-14D and myself have listed many of the differences.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,12476.0.html
 
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