The Royal Navy with CVA01

NOMISYRRUC

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Thoughts come questions.
If CV force retained on CVA-01 and CVA-02, perhaps with a planned CVA-03....
What RAF assets were tasked with say Kola Peninsula, Murmansk et al?

What RAF assets were tasked with Coastal Command?

What was the GIUK Gap assets ?

Do you need RAF to perform these tasks or was the FAA doing them before CV force scrapped?

Another thought. Strike North lives with USN getting real support from CVA-01 and RN.

Lofoten Bastion might be more cramped but more potent a threat.
This sucks Soviet resources to deal with that threat away from elsewhere.

AEW.....this becomes Nimrod and Argus I think it was called?
Imagine all that money sunk into the UK system that never made it beyond development, put into CVA-01 aircraft.......
Air-wing: Between the RN Sea Harrier force and the Buccaneer and Phantom units assigned to SACEUR for TASMO (Tactical Air Support to Maritime Operations) as a direct replacement for the air wings previously assigned to the RN heavy carriers the aircraft, crews, maintainers etc all existed in reality. The ASW component of those air wings would have been the same Sea King Squadrons that operated from the Invincibles in reality. AEW is less certain but far from intractable, for instance helicopter AEW was studied in the UK in the mid-1960s and I'm sure given an incentive industry would have been happy to extract more life from the Gannet.
To answer some of @zen's questions and to show how large the TASMO force was.

1. What RAF assets were tasked with say Kola Peninsula, Murmansk et al?
I don't know.

2. What RAF assets were tasked with Coastal Command?
In the middle-1960s the RAF had a front-line force of 66 Shackletons in 11 squadrons. That is:
  • 48 in 8 squadrons of 6 aircraft in Coastal Command.
    • 3 squadrons at Ballykelly
    • 3 squadrons at Kinloss
    • One squadron at St Mawgan plus the Maritime OTU which would be mobilised as 220 Squadron in wartime.
    • One squadron at Gibraltar
  • 6 aircraft in one squadron was at Malta.
  • 4 aircraft in one squadron was at Aden.
  • 8 aircraft in one squadron was at Singapore.
This was reduced to 5 squadrons of Nimrods by 1975.
  • 4 squadrons in 18 (Maritime) Group of RAF Strike Command.
    • 3 Squadrons at Kinloss
    • One squadron at St Mawgan plus 236 OCU which would be mobilised as 38 Squadron in wartime.
  • One squadron at Malta.
  • There were also detachments of Nimrods at Gibraltar and Singapore.
The Malta-based Nimrod squadron and the detachments at Singapore were disbanded as part of the Mason Defence Review of 1974-75.

45 Nimrod MR.1s survived at this point. 34 were brought up to MR.2 standard which left 11 aircraft available for other uses with what can charitably be described as "unfortunate" consequences.

3. What was the GIUK Gap assets ?
Maritime Reconnaissance

In 1965 it was the 6 Shackleton squadrons at Ballykelly and Kinloss. By 1975 it was the 3 Nimrod squadrons at Kinloss and that was the assigned force until the end of the Cold War.

Long-range maritime reconnaissance was provided by the Victor SR.2s of 543 Squadron of No. 1 (Bomber) Group of RAF Strike Command from 1969 to 1974 when the squadron disbanded. It was replaced in this role by the Vulcan B.2 (MRR)s of the newly reformed 27 Squadron until it disbanded on 31st March 1982.

Airborne Early Warning

8 Squadron re-formed at Kinloss on 1st January 1972. It was equipped with 12 Shackleton AEW.2s which were conversions of MR.2s and fitted with APS-20 radars removed from Gannet AEW.3s.

This squadron took over from 849 NAS (which had been at Lossiemouth since November 1970) provided the Gannet AEW and COD flights aboard the strike carriers. However, 849 wouldn't decommission until 15th December 1978.

The Shackletons should have been replaced by the Nimrod AEW.3. According to the Observer's Book of Aircraft 1981 this should have commenced in 1982. However, it didn't. In December 1986 the MoD announced the decision to cancel the Nimrod AEW.3 programme and to order Boeing Sentries instead for delivery in 1990.

In the meantime 8 Squadron continued to operate the Shackleton AEW.2 from Lossiemouth until 30th June 1991 when it disbanded. A new 8 Squadron reformed the next day at Waddington with the Boeing Sentries that were ordered in 1986.

Maritime Strike

The RN had five Buccaneer S.2 squadrons which in order of decommissioning were:
  • 803 NAS which decommissioned on 18th December 1969.
    • It had re-commissioned at Lossiemouth on 3rd July 1967 as the Buccaneer Headquarters squadron.
    • In August 1968 a detachment of four aircraft (803 Dt4) flew out of via Nicosia, Masirah and Gan to Malaysia to join Hermes in the Indian Ocean and returned in August 1968, using air-to-air refuelling with Victor tankers of 55 Squadron, RAF. This is the operation from British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development and Service Histories by David Hobbs mentioned in one of my quotes from that book in Post 111.
  • 801 NAS which decommissioned on 21st July 1970.
    • This was Hermes' squadron from May 1968 from May 1968 to June 1970.
    • It had re-commissioned as Buccaneer S.2 squadron in October 1965 from a nucleus of 700B Flight and was embarked on Victorious from May 1966 to June 1967 when Victorious began her ill-fated refit.
  • 800 NAS which decommissioned on 23rd February 1972. This was Eagle's squadron.
  • 736 NAS which decommissioned on 25th February 1972. This was the training squadron and was at Lossiemouth at the time.
  • 809 NAS which decommissioned on 15th December 1978. This was Ark Royal's squadron.
They were replaced by three RAF squadrons that operated Buccaneers in the Maritime Strike role as part of the TACSMO force. Although one of them only existed for a year. They were:
  • 12 Squadron re-formed at RAF Honington on 1st October 1969. It moved to Lossiemouth in 1980 where it disbanded on 1st October 1993. On the same day a new Tornado equipped No 12 took over the numberplate in the same role and is still based at Lossiemouth.
  • 208 Squadron re-formed at Honington on 1st July 1974. It moved to Lossiemouth in July 1983 where it disbanded on 31st March 1994.
  • 216 Squadron re-formed at Honington on 1st July 1979. It took over the aircraft that had belonged to 809 NAS. However, 216 Squadron disbanded at Lossiemouth on 4th August 1980 after just over a year's existence. (See below.) However, the squadron would re-form as a Tristar tanker-transport unit on 1st November 1984.
For completeness there were 2 Buccaneer squadrons in RAF Germany which replaced the Command's Canberra interdictors:
  • No. 15 which re-formed at RAF Honington on 1st October 1970 and moved to Germany in January 1971. It converted to the Tornado GR.1 in 1983.
  • The second was 16 Squadron (which had been one of the Canberra interdictor squadrons) which re-formed at RAF Laarbruch on 1st October 1972 as No. 16 (Designate) squadron and declared operational on 8th January 1973. It converted to the Tornado GR.1 in 1984.
Buccaneer crews were trained by 237 Operational Conversion Unit. According to RAFWEB.
It reformed again, this time at Honington on 1 March 1971 as the Buccaneer OCU in No 1 Group. It moved to Lossiemouth on 11 November 1984 in No 18 Group, where it disbanded on 1 October 1991, its tasking being taken over by the Buccaneer Training Flight attached to No 208 Sqn.
The OCU took over the training of RN Buccaneer crews from February 1972 (when 736 NAS decommissioned) until December 1978 (when 809 NAS decommissioned). 237 OCU was not assigned a reserve squadron number so my guess is that it would not have been mobilised in the event of war and instead would have been broken up to provide reinforcements for 12 and 216 Squadrons.

The Buccaneer was grounded for a period in 1980 due to suspected metal fatigue problems and about half were withdrawn. (Source: the Putnams book on RAF aircraft since 1918.) This resulted in the number of Buccaneer units being reduced from five to four. The short-straw was drawn by 216 Squadron which as related above disbanded on 4th August 1980 after just over a year's existence as a Maritime Strike squadron.

Fighters - Royal Navy

The RN had six fighter squadrons in the late 1960s. Which in order of decommissioning were:
  • 893 NAS which decommissioned on 14th July 1970.
    • This was Hermes' squadron from May 1968 from May 1968 to July 1970.
    • It had re-commissioned as Sea Vixen FAW.2 on 4th November 1965 and was embarked on Victorious from May 1966 to June 1967 when Victorious began her ill-fated refit.
  • 766 NAS which decommissioned on 10th December 1970. This was the Sea Vixen training squadron and would have decommissioned around this time anyway if all operational fighter squadrons had converted to Phantoms.
  • 890 NAS which decommissioned on 6th August 1971.
    • It had been in existence since 14th August 1967 for operational trials and training. It later absorbed the aircraft of 766 NAS and became the Sea Vixen Headquarters squadron until its decommissioned.
    • It's previous incarnation had been from 1st February 1960 until 7th October 1966. It had initially been the fighter squadron aboard Hermes, but from 1963 it had usually been Ark Royal's fighter squadron until that ship paid off for its Phantomisation refit in October 1966.
  • 767 NAS which decommissioned on 1st August 1972.
    • This was the Phantom squadron which had re-commissioned on 14th January 1969 from a nucleus of 700P NAS.
    • The Phantom crews of 892 NAS were trained by the RAF's Phantom OCU for the remainder of its existence.
  • 899 NAS which decommissioned on 26th January 1972.
    • This was Eagle's fighter squadron.
    • It was also the last operational Sea Vixen squadron.
  • 892 NAS which decommissioned on 15th December 1978. This was the only operational Phantom squadron in the RN.
    • It de-commissioned as a Sea Vixen squadron on 4th October 1968.
    • It re-commissioned as a Phantom squadron on 31st March 1969.
    • The squadron operated from Eagle for five days in September 1969, a detachment operated from USS Saratoga for seven days in September 1969 and another detachment was aboard Ark Royal for 16 days from 30th April 1970 to 15th May 1970.
    • The whole squadron finally embarked on Ark Royal as an operational unit on 14th June 1970.
    • It had been intended to form a second Phantom FG.1 squadron in the RAF with the redundant aircraft. Instead they were used to re-equip 111 Squadron and the displaced FGR.2s were pooled to support the other existing squadrons.
Fighters - RAF TASMO

According to Plan P of March 1964 RAF Fighter Command had had 88 fighters in 7 squadrons at 31st March 1964. That is:
  • 28 Javelin FAW.9 in 2 squadrons of 14 that were due to disband by 30th September 1967.
  • 60 Lighting F.1, F.1A and F.2 in 5 squadrons of 12. These were due to convert to the Lightning F.6 by 30th June 1967.
Some of these squadrons had an overseas reinforcement role.

The squadrons in the overseas commands brought the RAF's total to 156 aircraft in eleven squadrons. That is 60 Lightnings in five squadrons and 96 Javelin FAW.9 in six squadrons. At the time the plan was for this to reduce to 120 aircraft in 10 squadrons by 31st March 1968. Two of the squadrons would have the Lightning F.2A and the other eight would have the Lightning F.6. The long-term plan at this date was...
The present authorised purchase of Lightnings is sufficient to back this force until 1972/73. By the mid-1970s, a replacement will be required which could be either a variable geometry aircraft for joint use by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy or a derivative of the P.1154. Whichever aircraft is finally ordered this minimum force of 10 squadrons must be replaced on a one-for-one basis and the overall U.E. should thus remain as 120 aircraft.

According to the Defence Costings 1966 (WF 1/66) dated March 1966 the RAF had 140 fighters in 10 squadrons on 31st March 1966. This was made up of 56 Javelins in three squadrons and 84 Lightnings in seven squadrons. This would reduce to 120 Lightings in ten squadrons by 31st March 1969. This would transform to 120 Phantoms in 10 squadrons between 1st April 1972 and 31st March 1977.

The Aircraft Requirements section shows 38 Phantoms On Requisition and Further Requirement for 110 for a Total Requirement for 148. If the 2 YF-4Ms are added that makes a total of 150 which happens to be the number of Phantoms originally ordered for the RAF. The Aircraft Programme section shows them being delivered between April 1967 and March 1970.

The Phantoms would initially form seven ground attack squadrons with 84 aircraft which would form between April 1968 and March 1971. These squadrons would convert to the Jaguar between April 1972 and March 1976.

This is significant because March 1966 is the month after the decision to cancel CVA.01 and to phase the existing strike carriers out by 1975. Seven of the ten Phantom fighter squadrons were listed as Phantom (Fighter) and the other 3 as Phantom (Maritime) with two in Fighter Command and one in FEAF. The first Maritime squadron was to be the FEAF squadron which would form in 1972/73 and the two Fighter Command squadrons would be formed between April 1975 and March 1977. My guess is that the redundant FGR.2s would be used to form the seven terrestrial fighter squadrons and the thee maritime fighter squadrons would be formed from the survivors of the 59 FG.1s that were ordered for the RN and transferred to the RAF after Ark Royal and Eagle were paid off.

Incidentally it also says that a force of 36 Buccaneers in three squadrons of 12 would be formed between April 1974 and March 1977. Two squadrons would be in Bomber Command and the third would be in FEAF. As already explained the the RAF did form three Buccaneer squadrons for Maritime Strike operations, but not until 1979 and one of them had to be disbanded a year later due to the aircraft's metal fatigue problems.

However, it didn't happen exactly like that.

The Phantom order was cut from 209 to 170. As far as I know this was done after the Sterling Devaluation of 16th November 1967. According to Phantom A Legend in its Time by Francis K. Mason this was done because it was a fixed-price contract so presumably the Devaluation reduced the number of Phantoms that could be purchased for the fixed-price. Including prototypes the FG.1 order was cut from 59 to 52 and the FGR.2 order was cut from 150 to 118. Mason wrote that most of the 39 aircraft were cut from the FGR.2 order because some of the FG.1s were transferred from the RN to the RAF.

(The number of Phantoms ordered was actually 223 made up of 59 FG.1 and 164 FGR.2. But that's another story.)

The RAF actually had ten fighter squadrons between March 1967 to May 1968 when the last Javelin squadron finally disbanded. The other nine squadrons had Lightnings and consisted of five in No. 11 (Fighter) Group of the newly formed RAF Strike Command, two in RAF Germany, one in Cyprus with NEAF and one in Singapore in FEAF.

The Sterling Devaluation also resulted in the decision to bring the East of Suez withdrawal forward from 1975 to the end of 1971. This also resulted in Eagle's Phantomization being cancelled because she'd be in service until 1972 instead of 1975 so the cost of the refit wasn't worth it. The redundant Phantom FG.1 aircraft were passed to the RAF which used them to form 43 Squadron on 1st September 1969. This brought the number of RAF fighter squadrons back up to ten and as far as I know it was the first TASMO fighter squadron.

However, the number of fighter squadrons was soon back down to nine because No. 74 Squadron disbanded in Singapore on 1st September 1971 as part of the accelerated withdrawal from East of Suez.

The Phantom FGR.2s were initially used to form five ground attack and two reconnaissance squadrons which formed between and April 1972. No. 38 (Tactical) Group of RAF Strike Command had two and one while RAF Germany had three and one. These squadrons converted to the Jaguar GR.1 between April 1974 and April 1977. This allowed six Lighting squadrons to convert to the Phantom FGR.2 between October 1974 and April 1977.

My guess is that the Phantom order hadn't been reduced from 209 to 170 in 1968 the 39 extra aircraft would have allowed the conversion of all eight Lightning squadrons to the Phantom between April 1974 and April 1977.

Back in March 1966 the plan had been for ten Phantom fighter squadrons in April 1977 made up of five in No. 11 Group, two in RAF Germany, one in NEAF and two in FEAF. The actual total was nine squadrons and as explained in the previous paragraph two of them were still equipped with Lightnings.
  • There weren't any squadrons in FEAF because of the 1967 and 1968 Defence Cuts.
  • There weren't any squadrons in NEAF because its fighter squadron was transferred to 11 Group on 21st January 1975 as part of the Mason Defence Review of 1974-75
  • RAF Germany had two Phantom squadrons as planned in April 1966.
  • 11 Group had five Phantom squadron as planned in April 1966. It also had the two fighter squadrons that in April 1966 had been planned for FEAF, but as already explained the reduction in the Phantom order meant they were still equipped with Lightnings.
I suspect that the reason why there were nine fighter squadrons instead of ten was due to the 1970 decision to keep Ark Royal in service until the end of 1978 instead of early 1971 as had been planned in 1968 so the aircraft weren't available. According to Phantom A Legend in its Time by Francis K. Mason the RAF intended to form a second Phantom FG.1 squadron in 1979 with 892 NAS's aircraft which would have increased the total to ten fighter squadrons. However, the aircraft were used to re-equip 111 Squadron and the displaced FGR.2s were pooled to support the other existing squadrons.

This was the situation until October 1984 when 74 Squadron re-formed on the F-4J (UK). This increased the total number of fighter squadrons to ten including eight equipped with Phantoms.

The first Tornado ADV squadron was formed in April 1987 and the there were seven of them by the end of January 1990.
  • Four of the eight Phantom squadrons converted between April 1987 and January 1990.
  • The two Lightning squadrons converted to the type between January and April 1988.
  • No. 25 Squadron which had been a Bloodhound SAM squadron from 1962 or 1963 (depending upon whether Lake or RAFWEB is correct) to 2nd July 1989 reformed as a Tornado ADV squadron on 1st January 1990.
At the end of January 1990 there were eleven fighter squadrons in the RAF. That is four Phantom squadrons and seven Tornado ADV squadrons. All the Tornado squadrons were in 11 Group. Two Phantom squadrons were in RAF Germany, one was in 11 Group and the fourth squadron was in the Falklands.

How many of the above squadrons were assigned to the TASMO Force?


Two according to the article that begins on Page 116 of the PDF that can be reached by clicking on the link above. That is the Phantom FG.1s of 43 Squadron from its formation in 1969 and the FGR.2s of 29 Squadron from 1980.

I expected it to be at least three. That's because the March 1966 Plan included three squadrons and also because three Maritime Strike squadrons were formed, although as already related one of them was only in existence for a year.

I also expected and at a faster rate than actually happened. I though the second squadron would have been assigned after Eagle was withdrawn and the third after Ark Royal paid off. A second squadron wasn't added after Eagle paid off. A squadron was added after Ark Royal paid off, but I was surprised that it was one of the FGR.2 squadrons and not 111 Squadron as that would have created a homogenous force.

I also thought that the Tornado ADV was built to replace the Phantom in the TASMO role. As already related seven Tornado squadrons were formed by the end of January 1991 and I expected that more than two of them would have been assigned to the TASMO force. But it seems that my expectation was wrong. Does anyone know better?

4. Do you need RAF to perform these tasks or was the FAA doing them before CV force scrapped?
No because the CV force did this before the force was scrapped.

5. Another thought. Strike North lives with USN getting real support from CVA-01 and RN.
As already explained I think it will be CVA.01, 02 and 03 or nothing with one ship in refit/reserve and two operational so the USN would receive "real support" from two CVA.01 class aircraft carriers and the RN.

6. Bastion might be more cramped but more potent a threat. This sucks Soviet resources to deal with that threat away from elsewhere.
See Point 5.

However, shouldn't that be, "This sucks more resources to deal with that thread from elsewhere," because as I understand it that was one of the objectives of Strike North.

7. AEW.....this becomes Nimrod and Argus I think it was called? Imagine all that money sunk into the UK system that never made it beyond development, put into CVA-01 aircraft.......
I think the money spent on Nimrod AEW.3 in the "real world" will be spent on building CVA.02 and CVA.03.

Or instead of that the money spent on Nimrod AEW.3 would be spent on a replacement for the Gannet. Probably the HS. Brough P.139. It would be cancelled in 1986 and the money spent on the Boeing Sentry in he "real world" would be used to buy some Grumman Hawkeyes and Greyhounds.
 
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zen

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Dear can't remember your name(dyslexia) and can't copy and past it, but it begins with an N.

Thank you for your detailed response.

You don't need to explain about 01 02 and 03. The reference to the Lofoten Bastion is that more than a USN Supercarrier and a CVL is potentially cramping the ability of said attendant forces within that Bastion.

Such that CVA-01 or 02 or 03 depending on timing, schedules etc... would either be the carrier in that location or would be in some other location.

Though thinking on it a bit depending on prevailing winds carriers would cycle along the mear wind axis for launch and recovery cycles and then turn out to transit back down wind. In turn a second CV would enter and start their launch or recovery.

The Bastion essentially provides for a defensible zone while the carrier has to steam along a fixed direction and is effectively unable to manoeuvre.
 

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DEFENCE (CARRIER FORCE)
HC Deb 30 July 1963 vol 682 cc237-42237


The Minister of Defence (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)
With permission, Sir, I will make a statement to the House.

The Government have had the question of aircraft carriers under consideration with a view to determining the requirement for the 1970's. After full consideration it has been decided that the carrier force likely to be required during that period is three carriers.

The life of H.M.S. "Eagle" and H.M.S. "Hermes" can with refits be extended until about 1980. H.M.S. "Victorious" and H.M.S. "Ark Royal" will come to the end of their useful lives in the early 1970s. A decision has, therefore, been taken to build one carrier replacement. This ship will be of around 50,000 tons and will give us, with H.M.S. "Eagle" and "Hermes", a force of three carriers. This decision will ensure that the Fleet Air Arm can maintain its rôle at least until 1980.

I have also had under consideration an aircraft replacement for the Sea Vixen. I am now able to announce that the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have reached agreement on the characteristics of a common aircraft which will replace both the Sea Vixen and the Hunter. This aircraft which will be capable of operation either from land or from carriers will greatly increase the flexibility of our use of air power and provide the opportunity for economies in its disposition.

The aircraft will be based on the Hawker P1154 and a detailed study is at this moment proceeding. As soon as this is complete I will take steps to inform hon. Members of the result.
Mr. Healey [Secretary of State for Defence 1964-70 and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1974-79]
May I say, first, how glad we are on this side of the House that the Government have accepted the arguments which we have so often put forward against building an aircraft carrier of the size of the "Forrestal" class? Can the right hon. Gentleman give any estimate of the cost of this proposed aircraft carrier?

Secondly, does his statement mean that no further aircraft carrier will be built for Britain over the next ten years?

Thirdly, will he assure the House that in deciding the procedure which he is to adopt for placing the contract for the aircraft carrier, he will bear in mind the needs of those development areas which are not benefitting from other Government shipbuilding programmes?

On the question of the new aircraft, we are delighted that, for the first time almost in post-war history, the R.A.F. and the Royal Navy have been able to agree on the characteristics of an aircraft. Would he give some idea of the number of aircraft of this type which he proposes to order and what the total cost is likely to be?
Mr Thorneycroft
The all-up cost of the aircraft carrier is about £60 million, which will be spent over eight to ten years. The hon. Member asked about other aircraft carriers. The conclusion which we have reached is that we should go for an aircraft carrier fleet of three carriers, which will be composed, at least until 1980—when the "Ark Royal" and the "Victorious" go out—of the "Hermes" and the "Eagle". Whether a replacement of the "Eagle" and the "Hermes" will be made during the 1970s is a matter which will fall to be considered at that date.

The hon. Member asked about the shipbuilding yards. Naturally, all considerations such as that which he mentioned will be borne in mind, but I emphasise that the building of a ship of this character will be of substantial benefit to the whole of the shipbuilding industry, because the orders will be placed widely.

The hon. Member asked about the aircraft. As he knows, we never mention costs or numbers, because this would disclose our plans in considerable detail to an enemy. But I agree with him that the decision on a common aircraft is a breakthrough in military operations and is much to be welcomed.
I posted the opening part of the debate to show that at mid-1963 the official plan was for a force of 3 strike carriers in the 1970s with CVA.01 replacing Ark Royal as well as Victorious.

I also posted it to show that the officially stated cost of CVA.01 in mid-1963 was £60 million. However, Emmanuel Shinwell pointed out that it was the estimated cost and the final cost could be £70 or even £80 million.

This is a link to Lord Carrington saying almost exactly the same thing to the House of Lords on the same day.
 
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zen

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It would be cheaper to opt with the USN for Greyhound or the COD variant of the S3 Viking.
 

NOMISYRRUC

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It would be cheaper to opt with the USN for Greyhound or the COD variant of the S3 Viking.
I agree and in comparison to the 1960s purchases of US aircraft it wouldn't be as much a drain on the Treasury's Dollar reserves due to the North Sea oil being on stream.

However, it's somewhat of an "out of the blue" suggestion. Were you writing it in reply to one of my posts?
 

uk 75

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If the RN had pitched a two carrier solution (CVA01 and Eagle (CVA02 later) as a replacement for its early 60s big 4 (Eagle, Ark, Vic, Hermes) and got NATO support (providing one of the two Carrier Striking Groups in the Atlantic) I think they could have got a carrier force.
By including Hermes they made it easy for the Treasury and the RAF to pour scorn on the proposal and Healey agreed with them.
A two carrier force like France (Foch and Clem) would have been a coherent and affordable proposal.
Without Hermes you could buy standard USN F4s as operated by them on Coral Sea and Midway into the 80s.
Assuming CVA01 and 02 survive Nott and Trident acquisition like CS and Mid they would get F18. The Bucs could be upgraded like the A6.
A handful of E2 AEW and COD could have come from the USN via NATO.
No need for S3 as Seakings RN standard then Merlin for ASW. I am assuming RAF still get Nimrod ASW for the N Atlantic.
 

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While I understand Clemenceaus were too small, the real missed opportunity might have been Essex - not second hand ones, but the two crippled and rebuild and stored from 1945: CV-13 Franklin and CV-17 Bunker Hill.

How hard would it for the goddam RN to set their sights on these two hulls and rebuild them to British standards ? Can't be worse than Hermes and Victorious rebuild...

 
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uk 75

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I think that the mistake made by the RN was not recognising early enough that the largest possible aircraft carrier (Eagle/CVA01) was the only way to go in the 1960s.
There was no need for the Essex hull, Eagle was a perfectly feasible Phantom/Buc platform and CVA01 was affordable if the RN accepted not wasting money on Victorious and Hermes sooner and had moved to a two carrier force.
 

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While I understand Clemenceaus were too small, the real missed opportunity might have been Essex - not second hand ones, but the two crippled and rebuild and stored from 1945: CV-13 Franklin and CV-17 Bunker Hill.

How hard would it for the goddam RN to set their sights on these two hulls and rebuild them to British standards ? Can't be worse than Hermes and Victorious rebuild...

Interesting thought re CV-13 & 17. But there are I think a few limitations.

In the Essex class the hangar deck was the strength deck with everything above it being superstructure. On the one hand it simplifies reconstruction, but on the other you need to allow that superstructure to flex on such a long hull. Looking at the wartime as completed drawings there were four expansion joints fitted:-
1. Just aft of the forward lift with the H-4 catapult being just forward of it
2. Just in front of the island structure (behind the 5" mounts)
3. At the aft end of the bridge structure (forward of the 5" mounts)
4. Just aft of the after lift.

Looking at the drawings for CV-12 Hornet after her SCB-27A/SCB-125 refit the aft two expansion joints did not move. The forward pair seem to have been replaced with a single new expansion joint roughly mid-way between the two originals. The H-8 catapults then start immediately forward of that new forward expansion joint.

So, assuming that the SCB-27C conversions are the same, you are probably limited to a catapult of the length of a C-11 (as fitted to the SCB-27C conversions) which means 211ft stroke 225ft overall. Does that make enough of a difference over the 199ft BS5 to allow launching of the Buccaneer & Phantom fully loaded?

If you can't move those expansion joints in the after part of the ship then there is no possibility of placing a catapult on the port side flight deck extension as was done in Eagle & Ark Royal.
 

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Well considering the difference it made, between Clems & Hermes 171 & 175 ft, and the Audacious 199 ft - yes, I would glady take all those ft in length.
Although the Essex still had trouble handling vanilla Phantoms... but how about the brutish Spey-powered Rhinos ?
 

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While I understand Clemenceaus were too small, the real missed opportunity might have been Essex - not second hand ones, but the two crippled and rebuild and stored from 1945: CV-13 Franklin and CV-17 Bunker Hill.

How hard would it for the goddam RN to set their sights on these two hulls and rebuild them to British standards ? Can't be worse than Hermes and Victorious rebuild...

Interesting thought re CV-13 & 17. But there are I think a few limitations.

In the Essex class the hangar deck was the strength deck with everything above it being superstructure. On the one hand it simplifies reconstruction, but on the other you need to allow that superstructure to flex on such a long hull. Looking at the wartime as completed drawings there were four expansion joints fitted:-
1. Just aft of the forward lift with the H-4 catapult being just forward of it
2. Just in front of the island structure (behind the 5" mounts)
3. At the aft end of the bridge structure (forward of the 5" mounts)
4. Just aft of the after lift.

Looking at the drawings for CV-12 Hornet after her SCB-27A/SCB-125 refit the aft two expansion joints did not move. The forward pair seem to have been replaced with a single new expansion joint roughly mid-way between the two originals. The H-8 catapults then start immediately forward of that new forward expansion joint.

So, assuming that the SCB-27C conversions are the same, you are probably limited to a catapult of the length of a C-11 (as fitted to the SCB-27C conversions) which means 211ft stroke 225ft overall. Does that make enough of a difference over the 199ft BS5 to allow launching of the Buccaneer & Phantom fully loaded?

If you can't move those expansion joints in the after part of the ship then there is no possibility of placing a catapult on the port side flight deck extension as was done in Eagle & Ark Royal.

The C-11-1 bow catapults of the SCB-27C Essex CVAs were the same as the bow catapults installed in all 3 Midway class CVAs during their 1950s SCB-110/110A (Coral Sea) modernizations.

Coral Sea's waist (angle deck) catapult was also that size... and she carried all three, in the same length & power, until her 1989 decommissioning... making thousands of F-4 and F/A-18 launches from them!

Midway traded her C-11-1s & shorter C-11-2 (waist) for a pair of C-13-0s in her SCB-101.66 modernization and FDR did the same in her 1969-70 "Austere overhaul".

The boilers of the Essex class ships produced the same pressure & temp as those in the Midways.
 

zen

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BS4 151ft stroke (6g)
36,000lb to 126kts
177ft stroke same load 145kts
130ft stroke same load 99kts (3.7g)
Zero WOD same load to 149kts needs 210ft stroke.

A 200ft stroke could launch a 60,000lb load to 113kts
 

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