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Royal Navy Commando Carrier replacement 1960s

uk 75

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In the 1960s the RN considered ordering up to six purpose built Commando/ASW carriers to replace the Albion and Bulwark conversions.

It is a pity that the RN's focus on trying to keep its fixed wing aircraft carriers stood in the way of this programme as a decent design emerging in the second half of the 60s would have allowed the scrapping of a number of old and manpower intensive designs (Albion/Bulwark/Hermes, the Tiger cruisers).
A ship of some 20,000 tons capable of operating Sea King and Chinook helicopters as well as a number of Harriers could have also been an export winner to replace old British carriers in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, and the Netherlands.
The class could have been spread over a number of years, with later ships being modified to learn from experiences with the first. The RN would have found itself able in 1980 to deploy both an effective NATO ASW and Commando force and provide the occasional out of area force as well.
Now that the RN again finds itself tied to the construction of CVF (shades of CVA 01) in limited numbers has the time come to learn the lesson again and look at an improved version of Ocean as an affordable and flexible alternative its carriers.

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zen

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Riase tonnage to about 28,000tons, and you could persue a fleet of CVL and CVH, view it as a successor to the Centaur and Hermes type.
This does seem to fall into an acceptable category, if an appropriate fighter/attack platform is chosen to operate from the CVL type.
Critical issue is not to demand F4's or other uber-larger wonderplanes from it. Nothing more than an F8 and say a navalised Dassault F1 type or a developed navalised Jaguar. A4's make a good alternative for attack/strike

Quite possible to see such a solution, as just different types of the same basic hull and machinary being run off the slips in a continious basis. Export potential to Australia, possibly others as the years go by.....

The good news is conversion to commando or ASW roles seems plausable for the CVL type as well if not a retention of the CTOL capability if desired. The pinch in the late 60's would'nt shut such an idea down, nor would the 70's, merely lower the numbers operating until the funds are available.
Could see this handling STOVL as an alternative to CTOL. If anything such ideas where bandied about since the early 50's.
 

TinWing

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zen said:
The good news is conversion to commando or ASW roles seems plausable for the CVL type as well if not a retention of the CTOL capability if desired. The pinch in the late 60's would'nt shut such an idea down, nor would the 70's, merely lower the numbers operating until the funds are available.

The "commando carriers" died the the "East of Suez" mission. In reality, the Britain's withdrawal from East of Suez was always an inevitability, and was only delayed by the request of Lyndon Johnson that British forces shouldn't be withdrawn during the Vietnam War. Commando carriers only made sense within a low intensity threat theater of operations such as the Indian Ocean, East Indies or Persian Gulf of the 1960s. A commando carrier made a great deal of difference in Kuwait in 1961, but even then, the MiG threat was becoming a bit too much for the RN. Post-colonial intervention was a far safer business than a direct superpower confrontation in the Cold War.

An LPH role was ideal for obsolete light fleet carriers with plenty of life left, giving a role to hulls that were far too new to scrap but too small for modern fighters and too expensive to convert to a first line combat role.
 

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No there are things about that I don't agree with, its not a simple linear process, only certain interpretations of history.

The thing is when one looks at the whole gamut of possibilities and what was on occaision on the cards. Things clearly seem headed towards such a crunch, but its a catalogue of decisions which each restrict the field of plausable options until theres nothing left.

There where ways in which the RN could've retained CTOL carriers, but not following the sort of path they did.

UK government was less than enthusiastic to drop 'out of area' missions, but economics forced it, those economics are closing off the sort uber-large CV with F4's that was the preference of the RN and alternative options where closing off left right and center.
 

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