• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

RN post war carrier conundrums

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Dang, licence-build Buccaneers S.2 by Breguet, with advanced BLC and SNECMA licence-build Speys... who needs Jaguar and Adour, really ?
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
Sticking to the original title of this thread. The conundrum for the UK is that whereas the US had a coherent family of carriers after WW2 in the Essex and Midway classes the UK was all over the place.
The I class ships were all war weary and should really have been scrapped
The Colossus class were suitable as trade protection carriers but too small for anything else
The four ships Bulwark, Albion Centaur and Hermes are the most useful new builds, but are still too small.
Only Eagle and Ark survive the larger planned Audacious and Malta classes. Because the limitations of the I class do not become apparent until later on, there is no appetite or capacity for larger new builds.
As has been explained in other threads, the RN only holds on to its fleet carriers because of East of Suez.
The US Navy provides NATO with two carriers in the Atlantic and two in the Mediterranean in peacetime. With the arrival of the Forrestal and later the Nimitz class, NATO looks to European navies to focus on ASW operations as its wartime Essex class are not replaced. The Sea Control Ship is provided not by the US but by the RN, Italian and Spanish navies. France starts with its PH75 nuclear ASW/Commando ship but decides to go for an attack carrier. Originally the De Gaulle was to have a sister ship (Richelieu).
This is why I think the 70s rather than the 50s offer a better possibility for a joint UK/ French programme.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Sure - SCS + 1*Principe de Asturias + 1*Garibaldi + 3*Invincibles + 2*PH75 = 7 light carriers. Push France in the direction of Harrier rather than Super Etendard, then get Big Wing Harrier for everybody instead of SHAR + AV-8B. RAF included.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
Imagine a Fleet of 7 PH75......
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
Of course there is the Euro option. The lacklustre Heath of reality is replaced with a more dynamic and less tetchy version who survives the crises of 1973 to work with Helmut and Giscard to build up a European Defence programme after Nixon resigns.
The RM and MN are tasked with drawing up a full blown nuclear carrier design to enter service in 1982.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Nuclear would be a giant PITA for 20 000 tons ships, plus Italy and Spain - meh.

My understanding of the SHAR / AV-8B saga is of yet another stupid waste. Big Wing Harrier would work for both RAF Mk.3, newbuild airframes and SHAR, if it exists. This would happen circa 1976 and instantly kill the AV-8B. The Hornet (and Congress) would happily set the final nail in the coffin by 1977-80.

In the end potential customers for the "big wing" Harrier would be
- RAF
- RN
- French Navy
- Spanish Navy
- Italian Navy
+ USMC if it can't get AV-8B off the drawing board.

In 1973 a twin-seat Harrier landed on Foch and Jeanne d'Arc. And its performance matched that of the Super Etendard. Most importantly, Dassault grip on the Aéronavale was not as strong as the Armée de l'Air.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
Of course there is the Euro option. The lacklustre Heath of reality is replaced with a more dynamic and less tetchy version who survives the crises of 1973 to work with Helmut and Giscard to build up a European Defence programme after Nixon resigns.
The RM and MN are tasked with drawing up a full blown nuclear carrier design to enter service in 1982.
Interesting question is that close to CVA-01's demise, would the new design carry over elements of it?

One can almost see the outline of a Anglo-French Navy here. With 102mm guns, Sea Dart, Exocet, System C etc.... forming the components.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Be careful what you wish for, Giscard was a penny pincher of the worst kind. Tried to slaughter a lot of high-tech projects, Ariane included, the old fart. France very own Jimmy Carter, also. Born 1926, still alive, 94 and counting, outlived his two arch-ennemies: Mitterrand and Chirac (socialist left and gaullist right, respectively, yet they teamed against Giscard, center-right, to kick him out of the Elysée palace in May 1981).

Leading to that hilarious sequence.


"Au revoir"

One of the greatest WTF moment in French TV history - along with old perv' Gainsbourg telling, live, the very unfortunate Whitney Houston "I want to fuck you". o_O o_O o_O o_O
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
I ought to leave alternate history well alone. Just took the names of the real incumbents and had them behave for this what-if. Does not alter the odea of a Euro or UK/FR carrier
 

Volkodav

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Messages
228
Reaction score
142
I ought to leave alternate history well alone. Just took the names of the real incumbents and had them behave for this what-if. Does not alter the odea of a Euro or UK/FR carrier
It works ok if you concentrate on using opportunistic populists from reality in your alt history, basically you just spin your what if in a way that such a leach would have latched onto in real life to flip flop their way into, or to retain office. Even economic rationalists pivoted from cutting defence to the bone to driving the budget into massive deficit to support military spending, once a suitable vote winning baddy the public hated or was scared of appeared.
 

EwenS

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Feb 20, 2010
Messages
83
Reaction score
133
The more interesting thing is: why does Australia want to have a Navy and what is its function?
Well lets see, ummmm, its surrounded by oceans, pretty much totally reliant on maritime trade, responsible for 60000km of coast line and the third largest maritime exclusive economic zone in the world.

My post was an example of the disconnect between reality as seen by subject matter experts, and reality as seen by the public service / civil service, after factoring in personal biases. Political bias is one thing and expected, what I was surprised about was the filtering of information by a public servant, only presenting what he thought would get the response he desired. The question is why did the UK rebuild Vic and complete the Tigers and Hermes to modernised designs instead of building new carriers, the answer is because Churchill ignored Mountbatten, but why? Did Churchill have some helpful summaries and recommendations from senior Civil Servants that guided his decision, or did he do it all on his own?
Well maybe we will get a few answers to the Vic question later this week when Warship 2020 is published. There is to be an article by David Hobbs on the subject.


And no, I’m not on commission!

Sadly the article concentrated on the technical aspects of her rebuild.
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,720
Reaction score
953
Just to add to this thread, there is an interesting article in Aeroplane Monthly in the August issue about the fight to keep Ark Royal in commission.
Nothing new but it provides a nice round up of all the refit options that were contemplated for her and Bulwark as the CVH programme got delayed.
Also covers the RN-RAF interactions too, what we often forget is that the Phantoms and Buccaneers had already been promised to the RAF and they certainly would have kicked up a fuss if the Navy had attempted to prolong Ark's life.
From the material, cost, manpower and aircraft availability and maintenance aspects its clear that keeping her running into the early 1980s was just not feasible without risks to the whole fleet.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
All the more reason to wonder what might have happened if Eagle had been the survivor and not Ark.
If Eagle had been in service when the Conservatives came in in 1970 might Hermes have been allowed to keep its catapults to operate Buccaneers as originally planned. This would have been the CVA01 fleet (minus the CVA01).
The replacement of Albion (and later Bulwark) could have been the simple Iwo Jima style LPH shown in Brown/Moore which was within the capabilities of the sclerotic British shipbuilding industry.
Though it would have been a radical move (though the Tories had latched on to the "Fly Navy" slogan in its manifesto) a simplified Eagle replacement (even with France, given Heath/Pompidou) could have been ordered instead of the Invincibles.
 

Purpletrouble

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
292
Reaction score
205
I think the bigger problem is as you state further up the thread - the RN’s carriers were built around East of Suez.

Whilst the USN also centres its carriers on projection - the UK’s attempt to do this seems doomed given the declining resources to “do it all” and that really that EoS mission is a chimera just waiting for reality to chop it. The US is (still) able to sustain that “forward defence” idea and post WW2 fully supplanted the UK as the Global power. How do you do that on half (tenth) measures?

To me the obstacle for any different history is working out a convincing rationale for carriers that is more existential to the UK.

In contrast to the French, the UK’s either/or approach to things doesn’t favour the kind of compromise that sees the MN with a sort of strike carrier (but lacking afloat support) as well as everything else albeit never perhaps in the quality or quantity of the RN (think AAW hulls and ASW/SSN capability comparisons and of course pre Rafale, their aircraft).

A good “what if” for the RN with carriers would really nail that “why” question. I’ve not got the answer sadly!
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
All the more reason to wonder what might have happened if Eagle had been the survivor and not Ark.
If Eagle had been in service when the Conservatives came in in 1970 might Hermes have been allowed to keep its catapults to operate Buccaneers as originally planned. This would have been the CVA01 fleet (minus the CVA01).
The replacement of Albion (and later Bulwark) could have been the simple Iwo Jima style LPH shown in Brown/Moore which was within the capabilities of the sclerotic British shipbuilding industry.
Though it would have been a radical move (though the Tories had latched on to the "Fly Navy" slogan in its manifesto) a simplified Eagle replacement (even with France, given Heath/Pompidou) could have been ordered instead of the Invincibles.
It would certainly be possible back then, when the UK had a nuclear industry, to have worked with the French on a reactor for capital ships. Both sides could have benefitted from such a scenario. A modest number of CVN resulting.
Would be interesting to know about the processes and politics of how CdG came about.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
I think the bigger problem is as you state further up the thread - the RN’s carriers were built around East of Suez.

Whilst the USN also centres its carriers on projection - the UK’s attempt to do this seems doomed given the declining resources to “do it all” and that really that EoS mission is a chimera just waiting for reality to chop it. The US is (still) able to sustain that “forward defence” idea and post WW2 fully supplanted the UK as the Global power. How do you do that on half (tenth) measures?

To me the obstacle for any different history is working out a convincing rationale for carriers that is more existential to the UK.

In contrast to the French, the UK’s either/or approach to things doesn’t favour the kind of compromise that sees the MN with a sort of strike carrier (but lacking afloat support) as well as everything else albeit never perhaps in the quality or quantity of the RN (think AAW hulls and ASW/SSN capability comparisons and of course pre Rafale, their aircraft).

A good “what if” for the RN with carriers would really nail that “why” question. I’ve not got the answer sadly!
I agree with you. As I have posted elsewhere, the 1966 Defence Review made the right choice in favour of NATO ASW..This became an RN strength in the North Atlantic.
As a fantasy ship (CVA01 and TSR2 loomed large in my childhood) the carrier still holds a lot of appeal, but it merely adds a 13th wheel on the US coach.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
All the more reason to wonder what might have happened if Eagle had been the survivor and not Ark.
If Eagle had been in service when the Conservatives came in in 1970 might Hermes have been allowed to keep its catapults to operate Buccaneers as originally planned. This would have been the CVA01 fleet (minus the CVA01).
The replacement of Albion (and later Bulwark) could have been the simple Iwo Jima style LPH shown in Brown/Moore which was within the capabilities of the sclerotic British shipbuilding industry.
Though it would have been a radical move (though the Tories had latched on to the "Fly Navy" slogan in its manifesto) a simplified Eagle replacement (even with France, given Heath/Pompidou) could have been ordered instead of the Invincibles.
It would certainly be possible back then, when the UK had a nuclear industry, to have worked with the French on a reactor for capital ships. Both sides could have benefitted from such a scenario. A modest number of CVN resulting.
Would be interesting to know about the processes and politics of how CdG came about.
PH75 was part of a massive Fleet expansion called the Plan Bleu that was doomed by the 1973 oil shock economic slump.

Scattered information here. It was the "pet peeve" of a brilliant admiral, De Joybert.



 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: zen

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,720
Reaction score
953
Summary of the article I mentioned above.

1973-74 defence review allowed for two carriers for the ASW role; Hermes and Ark Royal as a dual ASW/CVA asset.
Bulwark scheduled for decommissioning in March 1976. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Navy Frank Judd in October 1975 requested that she be kept in care and maintenance. At that time Invincible looked likely to be delayed until 1980. Judd wanted Bulwark retained so that she could replace Ark Royal as an ASW carrier in 1978.

An MoD study estimated running costs beyond 1978: Ark Royal £10M, Bulwark £15M. Running beyond 1980 meant that Ark Royal would need another refit and be more expensive.

May 1976 paper gave four options for Ark Royal:
- run as CVS until December 1981 with a refit Jan-Dec 1979
- same as above but equipped to operate 5 Sea Harriers
- run as CVS until December 1983 with Sea Harrier and Sea King with a refit April 1979-June 1980
- continue as CVA until December 1983, same refit dates
The options for Bulwark were:
- run as CVS until December 1981 with refit Jan 1979-June 1980
- run as CVS until December 1981 with 5 Sea Harriers with refit Jan 1979-September 1980
- run as CVS until December 1983 with Sea Harrier and Sea King with a refit April 1979-September 1980
- run as CVS until July 1987 with Sea Harrier and Sea King with modernisation refit July 1980-June 1983 and refit Jan-June 1986
Bulwark was seen as costlier to refit and even with modernisation would be unable to provide tactical control for helicopters and Sea Harriers. Getting her to Hermes standards was a rejected. In contrast Ark Royal could operate Sea Harriers with little modification, after 1978 she would need new evaporators and extensive work on her boilers and DC motors. Running until 1983 was possible if increased unreliability and shortages of spares was accepted.

Keeping the CVA air wing was seen as problematic, the RAF would kick up a fuss about the planned transfers. Running the full airwing was unlikely due to lack of manpower. As a compromise the CVA air wing would be Phantoms, Sea Harriers and Sea Kings. So strike would be reliant on Sea Harrier or shore-based Buccs, AEW coverage would again rely on shore-based Shackletons/Nimrod AEW. 809 (Bucc) and 849 (Gannet) squadrons had to be cut to save manpower. Gannet seemed doomed, Rolls-Royce might be able to keep the Mamba repair shop open but Westland's aiframe modernisation line was long closed. So the oft-repeated Gannet AEW coverage in the Falklands War in these AH threads seems to be a fantasy, its unlikely had Ark survived that the Gannets would have.

Later in 1976 another paper covered the same ground and conclusions, Invincible now being projected possibly as late as 1982. The paper rejected Ark Royal as a CVA, the manpower burden was too great, the RAF would complain and it was felt that operating Phantom alongside Sea Harrier might harm the credibility of the Sea Harrier and lead to its cancellation by the Government.
Within months Invincible had been launched and the fears of delays into 1982-83 evaporated and Ark Royal could be retired as planned.

On 24 January 1978 Secretary of State for Defence Fred Mulley announced Bulwark would be brought up to CVS standard. This then led to SACLANT's plea to the First Sea Lord to retain Ark Royal but the manpower and support effects on the rest of the fleet made continuing her to 1980 nonsensical.
The MoD reported that running Ark Royal until 1984 would mean she would only be operational for 7 months between November 1978 and the end of a refit in early 1981. The refit would consume 50,000 man/weeks of effort, enough to refit two Counties and six frigates. By then the Phantoms were already undergoing modification for RAF use. The fleet was now built around VSTOL airpower complemented by shore-based airpower and a U-turn was just too disruptive.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Extremely interesting, really. Thanks for that.

Once again - shame to have wasted 4*Centaurs over decades, or alternatively - shame to have traded Eagle for Ark Royal in the late 60's.

The RAF must have jubilated, to strip the RN of both Phantoms and Buccaneers. Getting dozens of aircraft off the shelves at bargain price by screwing your worse ennemy - what's not to love ?

AEW coverage would again rely on shore-based Shackletons/Nimrod AEW. 809 (Bucc) and 849 (Gannet) squadrons had to be cut to save manpower. Gannet seemed doomed, Rolls-Royce might be able to keep the Mamba repair shop open but Westland's aiframe modernisation line was long closed.

So the oft-repeated Gannet AEW coverage in the Falklands War in these AH threads seems to be a fantasy, its unlikely had Ark survived that the Gannets would have.
Fair enough. Just that - only two Gannet AEW or three could have changed fate of many frigates off Port Stanley.

It also opens another interesting can of worms - that of Bulwark lasting just long enough to pull an Hermes and flank Invincible off the Falklands. Another large platform for Sea Harriers and helicopters would have been very welcome.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Just for the fun of it (not worth a separate thread) I tried to make a list of "alt british carriers in the Falklands" scenarios

- HMS Eagle survives, goes to the Faklands (done brilliantly at AH.com)

- HMS Ark Royal goes to the Falklands (harder - it was falling apart)

- Hermes and Bulwark with Invincible, go to the Falklands

- no Invincibles: Eagle, Hermes and Bulwark in the Falklands

- no Invincibles: Eagle and Hermes in the Falklands

- no Invincibles: (no CVA-01, Audacious retired) all 4 Centaurs to Hermes standard - with Sea Harriers, go to the Falklands

- no Invincibles: Eagle and Ark Royal in the Falklands, with Bulwark and Hermes Sea Harriers

- CVA-01 in the Falklands, with Eagle

- The third Audacious class is finished

Off all this, with perfect hindsight, I keep thinking best option would have been 4*Centaurs + 1*Eagle after 1960, run as long as possible with their air groups gradually transitioning from Phantoms & Buccaneers to Sea Harriers. This also has the advantage to keep the RAF at bait by passing them Phantoms and Buccaneers. No CVA-01 and many more Sea Harriers (a hundred ?).
In the long run, doesn't prevent the Invincibles from happening and takeover the SHARs. End result: by 1985 a mixed fleet made of three Invincibles, Bulwark and Hermes.
 
Last edited:

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
This does seem to raise a near complete AH scenario of Ark Royal being run on to 1984 as a CVS, and participating in the Falklands War.
Cobbled together force of F4Ks and an intermittent coverage of AEW Gannets (cannibalised from everything they could scavenge).

Of course what might have changed this decision despite the manpower issues, is had this been Eagle instead. Her condition being better, the costs of running on to '84 being more tolerable.
The threat of F4's over the Falklands would be far more of a deterrent to the Argentinians. Would they even risk it? After all FAA and RAF would have practiced shooting down low level attackers with Sparrows over the North Sea for over a decade.

The consequences of an Audacious fighting in the Falklands would exert significant political pressure afterwards. It would be politically difficult to handle the fall out of scrapping her with no replacement in '84, and a Plan B would have to be cobbled together.
Several options then existed.
Option 1. throwing weight behind supersonic STOVL solution and claiming to the public that this delivers F4 capabilities operable from the 'new' Invincible CVSs. This will run head on into the EFA preference of the certain key individuals and a choice publicly would have to be made. RL and EFA would still win, with the ASTOVL option quietly left to flounder and fade away.

Option 2. Going to the French and agreeing a 'commmon' European Carrier force, with the aim of a conventional CdG type. This would cause all sorts of issues with the EFA effort and could break it apart.

Option 3. Going to the US and perhaps aquiring a Tarawa type LHD, claiming it's 'virtually' the capability of Ark Royal and Fearless.

But once again (oh yes), this just shows that had even one Medium Fleet CV been built, she'd have been run on into the 90's, and had she possessed even the 177ft stroke catapult, that the F4K might never have had the Spey shoehorned into the airframe at exorbitant cost.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
My favorite one is Hawker P.1216 linking with DARPA ASTOVL somewhere in 1983-1986 - and derailing F-35 (F-35b included) out of existence.

It was through ASTOVL that Paul Bevilacqua come with the present F-35B breakthrough: the vertical blowing fan driven by the main turbofan through a very robust gearbox.

It was a clever mix of
- Yak-141 / Convair 200 (vertical-but-liftjets, three engines + hot gases reingestion)
- Harrier & X-32 (unburned, cold air taken from a fan - except that the overtasked engine+lift fan was too wide to get supersonic)

Basically the F-35B has the best of Harrier (cold air) and the best of Yak-141 (large mass of gases shot downwards from behind the cockpit).

Now if Uncle Sam funds the P.1216 through DARPA ASTOVL, maybe Maggie Thatcher will be relieved enough to throw some money at it instead of letting it die.

To me it is the big lost opportunity with the P.1216. Really.
 

Nick Sumner

Live! From the Belly of the Beast!
Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
502
Reaction score
103
The lacklustre Heath of reality is replaced ...
With whom?
Contemplating this very issue with volume 3 of my alternate history book 'Drake's Drum'. It's not just Teddy-Edward that's the problem, but the economic sh*t show that compelled many of his decisions. That was a joint Labour/Tory stuff up that replaced sound economic thinking with Bolshevik delusions on wage and price controls. And yes it was both ends of the political spectrum that were responsible for continuing with a failing and economically illiterate policy for more than 30 years. Fix the economy or find a source of revenue and there's always enough money to cover the mistakes of bad leadership. Look at Saudi Arabia...
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,354
Reaction score
675
This then led to SACLANT's plea to the First Sea Lord to retain Ark Royal but the manpower and support effects on the rest of the fleet made continuing her to 1980 nonsensical.
The MoD reported that running Ark Royal until 1984 would mean she would only be operational for 7 months between November 1978 and the end of a refit in early 1981. The refit would consume 50,000 man/weeks of effort, enough to refit two Counties and six frigates. By then the Phantoms were already undergoing modification for RAF use. The fleet was now built around VSTOL airpower complemented by shore-based airpower and a U-turn was just too disruptive.
In 1978 alone Ark Royal had been involved in two significant NATO exercises, Common Effort and Northern Wedding, the former being a reinforcement escort exercise and the latter a North/Norwegian Sea naval battle exercise along with USS Forestal. In combination with the famous SACLANT plea of the same year it underscores the fact that RN heavy carriers very much had a Cold War role West of Suez and it was essentially the same as that of the US carrier groups.

As discussed here, what RN heavy carriers spent much of their time doing is significantly divergent from what was discussed in Cabinet Defence Committee meetings in the late 1950s to mid 1960s, the latter has made its way into much of the academic history around Defence policy but the divergence between that narrative and the exercises the ships were involved in and the NATO command structure in which they sat has generally not been observed. That the RN continued to underplay the role of big carriers in NATO planning after the departure of Sandys is curious.
 

starviking

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
1,022
Reaction score
106
This reminds me of working through the numbers on CVA-01 and their estimation for a Tactical Air Unit to prosecute EoS war.
Basically the TAU didn't fit CVA-01 nor did half a TAU, only a third.
Which implies you need 3 CVA-01s to operate the TAU and in turn that needs a fleet of 5 CV minimum in total to sustain it.
This is rather more than stated aim of just 2 CVA-01 types to be built or the stated objective of just 4 Fleet CVs.

And officials from No.11 would see through the numbers and conclude the same.
The Warship 2014 CVA-01 article mentions that 2/3rd of aircraft could be accommodated on deck, 2/3rd in the hangar: that’s effectively another squadron onboard under surge conditions. Might that make a difference?
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
This reminds me of working through the numbers on CVA-01 and their estimation for a Tactical Air Unit to prosecute EoS war.
Basically the TAU didn't fit CVA-01 nor did half a TAU, only a third.
Which implies you need 3 CVA-01s to operate the TAU and in turn that needs a fleet of 5 CV minimum in total to sustain it.
This is rather more than stated aim of just 2 CVA-01 types to be built or the stated objective of just 4 Fleet CVs.

And officials from No.11 would see through the numbers and conclude the same.
The Warship 2014 CVA-01 article mentions that 2/3rd of aircraft could be accommodated on deck, 2/3rd in the hangar: that’s effectively another squadron onboard under surge conditions. Might that make a difference?
Half of 96 is 48 (16 Fighters, 4 AEW, 32 Strike and Attack) + 2 SAR = 50.
If a surge can get 50 onto CVA-01....but where do the ASW helicopters go?

Whereas 1/3 of TAU is 11 fighters, 3 AEW, and 22 Strike and Attack for 36 plus 2 SAR and 6 ASW for 44 aircraft in total.
 
Last edited:

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
My favorite one is Hawker P.1216 linking with DARPA ASTOVL somewhere in 1983-1986 - and derailing F-35 (F-35b included) out of existence.

It was through ASTOVL that Paul Bevilacqua come with the present F-35B breakthrough: the vertical blowing fan driven by the main turbofan through a very robust gearbox.

It was a clever mix of
- Yak-141 / Convair 200 (vertical-but-liftjets, three engines + hot gases reingestion)
- Harrier & X-32 (unburned, cold air taken from a fan - except that the overtasked engine+lift fan was too wide to get supersonic)

Basically the F-35B has the best of Harrier (cold air) and the best of Yak-141 (large mass of gases shot downwards from behind the cockpit).

Now if Uncle Sam funds the P.1216 through DARPA ASTOVL, maybe Maggie Thatcher will be relieved enough to throw some money at it instead of letting it die.

To me it is the big lost opportunity with the P.1216. Really.
Frankly the only way forward is a national effort and whether that is STOVL or CTOL is actually irrelevant. A Single Large Engine Fighter-Attack is both do-able from the UK industrial base and the only way to achieve it. Just as France showed with the Rafale.
Something not unlike a scaled up P.103 or Su32 (not the Flanker derivative).
P1216 is the obvious STOVL option of the times and......
Irony of ironies the objection to P1154 and every PCB STOVL concept since was the obsession with VL and emergency low weight VTO along with an absolute opposition to any rolling VL.....
Only now we apparently accept rolling VL......
On a carrier....
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
That the RN continued to underplay the role of big carriers in NATO planning after the departure of Sandys is curious.
Spot on. Still wondering, did the USN (and Washington) ever cared about France and GB providing some more carrier hulls ?
Or was it just considered a drop in the (USN) ocean, or even worse, a nuisance draining ASW funding away ?
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,720
Reaction score
953
The manpower problem included a lack of trained pilots and navigators, the training organisation had already been wound down. To keep a CVA airwing would have meant relying on RAF training for Phantom and Buccaneer aircrews and the OCUs already had their hands full and the RAF was looking towards setting up TTTE.
Not only were the Phantoms and Buccs being modified for RAF use, and would have needed further work to reverse that, the extra Sea Kings released had already been earmarked for RFA flights and, of course, Bulwark.

What I find interesting is the use of the Sea Harrier as a strike platform in the CVA airwing, apart from 'dumb' bombs and rockets, the only strike asset they had was carriage of WE.177.
As a CVS with Sea Harrier and Sea King I assume that Ark Royal would have had her steam catapults decommissioned.

As to Eagle, we have no way of assessing her material condition, yes she was superior in 1972 but who knows what six or ten more years of hard use would have done to her?

As to the USN and the western strike role, the SACLANT plea throws some light on this. He stated that due to the decision to cut back from 15 to 5 carrier groups in the Pacific meant that reinforcements to the Atlantic were unlikely. He stated that he needed 8 carrier groups for the reinforcement and resupply of Europe but that he only had 1 group at his disposal for the entire Atlantic and Norwegian Sea. Either Admiral Kidd was laying on hyperbole to convince the First Sea Lord, or he was a pessimistic man. Either way its clear that the commanders on the ground (water) saw the reality and that is probably why the RN carrier fleet was plugged into the NATO structure and why Kidd didn't want to lose the only other strike carrier at his disposal whatever its weaknesses.
I agree with JFC that its odd that not more of this was explicated stated in Whitehall planning. The 1973-74 defence review stripped the fleet back to just two ASW carriers, its only because Ark Royal was a CVA that it retained a dual role. So the commitment to a strike carrier was dead long before 1978, but the RN obviously tried to keep her going as a CVA as long as they could.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
That the RN continued to underplay the role of big carriers in NATO planning after the departure of Sandys is curious.
Spot on. Still wondering, did the USN (and Washington) ever cared about France and GB providing some more carrier hulls ?
Or was it just considered a drop in the (USN) ocean, or even worse, a nuisance draining ASW funding away ?
You are touching on the conflicting US positions.
On the one hand, they wanted Europe out of the rest of the world. Less because of the evils of Empire than access to markets and removal of competition.
But on the other hand, they wanted Europe to pay more for their own defence (how ironic for the US).
What they didn't like was European states not buying US products but developing their own.....which then might compete with the US.

Then they discovered that if European Empires withdrew, Communists got a real shot at taking over.....

So something similar is reasonable to assume in the military sphere. European forces are a welcome relief for Americas budgets and limited forces as well as helping the desire not to fight others wars.
But European forces follow their states agendas and impose the problems of accomodating those states political masters.

This hits a deep problem, independent states are able to maintain their independence but they act independently......
While weak states fail to maintain their independence and threaten your position by their subservience to another power. Yet they are less able to compete with you.
And states subservient to you long to break free.....even if their interests coincide with yours.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
Of course Sea Eagle was ultimately available for Sea Harrier. When was that decision?
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
11,395
Reaction score
1,620
He stated that he needed 8 carrier groups for the reinforcement and resupply of Europe but that he only had 1 group at his disposal for the entire Atlantic and Norwegian Sea. Either Admiral Kidd was laying on hyperbole to convince the First Sea Lord, or he was a pessimistic man.
Given the poor state of the USN post-Vietnam and especially during the Carter administration, he may have been actually understating the direness of the situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zen

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
He stated that he needed 8 carrier groups for the reinforcement and resupply of Europe but that he only had 1 group at his disposal for the entire Atlantic and Norwegian Sea. Either Admiral Kidd was laying on hyperbole to convince the First Sea Lord, or he was a pessimistic man.
Given the poor state of the USN post-Vietnam and especially during the Carter administration, he may have been actually understating the direness of the situation.
I've heard very bad things about the effects of the Carter Administration, which lasted for years in the USN
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
3,712
Reaction score
1,267
Thank you for your answers. I picked this from another thread...

One of the Royal Navy's roles, as part of NATO strategy, was launching an attack on Northern Russia at the outbreak of War with the Soviet Union (NATO carrier strike group 2).

The long range strike role of the Buccaneer was a key component of the UK contribution to this.

This is an oft forgotten mission of the UK's Cold War big carrier fleet, in reality a naval liaison officer had been included in the Air Ministry's Targets Committee prior to the creation of the National Strike Coordinating Committee to ensure Air Ministry and Admiralty nuclear strike plans were coordinated, in 1961.
While the Etendard IV was utter shit, much better aircraft were touted to replace it - Jaguar M, A-7 Corsair. Any chance of seing French carriers taking over from the British ones ? After Ark Royal went to the breakers and Invincibles, to ASW ?
I knew that in case of WWIII Clemenceau and Foch were to go to NATO and North Atlantic and under the USN protective umbrella. How would they integrate into US carrier groups, I have no idea.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
1,836
Reaction score
589
The whole Strike North seems a much stronger case.

But perhaps not convenient by the time the USN was suggesting loosing another Carrier was a bad idea.
Careers had been busted, and the government was firmly set on the path, virtually no matter which party was in charge.
A change away from that to sustain a Carrier would involve a lot of change and spoil a lot of plans.
 

uk 75

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
981
During the Cold War NATO required every member to submit a Defence Planning Questionnaire (DPQ) telling NATO what forces would be available to NATO that year and in the future (I think it was five years ahead).
The Major NATO Commanders : SACEUR (US General in charge of all forces on the Continent) SACLANT (US admiral in charge of all forces in the Atlantic) CINCHAN (UK Admiral in charge of forces in Channel and N,Sea/ would then comnent on whether the forces met NATO requirements.
I assume these DPQs and subsequent NATO reaction have been released at the NAO. If they have they will answer the questions here.
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,354
Reaction score
675
In 1955 Macmillan, then Minister of Defence, told the Cabinet Defence Committee that the then SACLANT (Admiral Jerauld Wright USN) had asked for a third RN heavy carrier to be part of the NATO striking group - this was not possible for financial reasons.

In 1970 the following exchange took place in a US Congressional Hearing on the subject of the CVAN-70 carrier. Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer USN was then Chief of Naval Options and about to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Representative Stratton: Does the figure of [deleted] for the [deleted] area, did it originally involve the thought that the British would have a couple of carriers there?

Admiral Moorer: It originally was envisioned that the British would have carriers there. As you know, the British are cutting back on all their forces, including their carriers

Representative Stratton: So this places an increased burden on our diminishing supply, does it not?

Admiral Moorer: That is true sir, not only in the NATO context but also in other areas that have been left void such as the Indian Ocean
In 1978, the then SACLANT (Admiral Isaac C. Kidd Jr USN) approached the then First Sea Lord (Admiral Sir Terence Lewin RN) and asked for the retention of Ark Royal.

The views of the US Naval establishment seem to have been very consistent in their desire for the RN to possess heavy strike carriers and for them to be available for the NATO striking fleet mission.
 
Last edited:
Top