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I cross-posted this at the Warships Projects Board....


The 16th edition Norman Polmars' Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet (pp89-90) mentions a number of unusual carrier proposals being looked at at by the bottom up review at the time of publishing (1997).

They range from an "ultra large STOAL concept of 214,000tons (no angled deck apparant) to some "minimum capability carriers" both SWATH and monohull.

Most interesting to me were the CGV designs which don't seem to be strictly carriers at all but rather a revival of the old flight deck cruiser from the 30s, or the unnofficial proposals by Leopold for the Strike Cruiser.

Ranging from 26-43,000 tons and carrying 12-22 aircraft they had batteries of up to 192 missiles. The aircraft complements seem far too low for an actual carrier and the missile battery is 50% more than even a Ticonderoga.

A few were equipped for CTOL operations with angled deck.

The smallest of the airwings of the air wings was described as 2 helicopters 8 F14s an 2 Hawkeys.

This seems strange, but presumably was intended to provide a minimum Phoenix armed CAP to augment the missiles.

It seems to me ( a layman in these maters) that the small air groups would be a very poor substitute for a carrier. 4 would be needed to replace even a Midway in numbers (but not variety) of aircraft. However, as cruisers, particularly if S-3s and ASW helicopters were substituted for the fighters, the vessels might have been really formidable escorts.


Does anybody have any info or pics on these or any insight into what the designers were thinking?
 
Its likely their thoughts where on distribution of carriers, the shear cost of a CV is huge and only so many could be afforded, consequently only so many could be in only so many places.
So having a fleet of smaller cheaper CV's could extend their coverage, be tasked where a full CV was'nt available or needed. Its also possible they could act as a way of offloading certain machines from a main CV to free up deck space.

Though not having this book I can guess these studies drove home the minimum is something like the CVV concept. Smaller ships would be fine for smaller, lighter and with lower TO and L energy aircraft than the F14.

Curiously Russian sounding idea of such a missile loadout on a Carrier though.
 
I was browsing through the Global Security and I found a dead link to a topic titled "1982 CGV Guided Missile Aviation Cruiser." Does anyone have any information on the 1982 concept of a Guided Missile Aviation Cruiser for the United States Navy? Anyone have concept artwork?

Wikileaks says that CVG is an abbreviation for Guided-Missile Aircraft Carrier and that CVGN is an abbrevation of Nuclear-Powered Guided-Missile Aircraft Carrier.
 
The CGV was a notional concept put forward by the Congressional Budget Office in its 1982 paper "Building A 600-ship Navy." It was part of a proposed alternative building plan that was a response to the cost of the Reagan Administration's planned approach. The CBO gave few details beyond stating that the design would have a balanced anti-air, anti-sub, and anti-surface armament, a flight deck, and space for 8-12 VSTOL aircraft. The late 1970s had seen a rash of through-deck aviation cruiser designs; this might be based on any one of them or some combination of their features. It sounds suspiciously like the mid-1970s Strike Cruiser Mark II design, but with non-nuclear propulsion and somewhat enlarged aviation capacity.

No concept art that I'm aware of, but the CBO report can be downloaded here (>7.4MB):

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/53xx/doc5336/doc13b-Entire.pdf
 
According to the Global Security web site the US Navy studied the following:

Another cruiser alternative studied in the late 1980s was variously entitled a Mission Essential Unit (MEU) or CG V/STOL. In a return to the thoughts of the independent operations cruiser-carriers of the 1930s and the Russian Kiev class, the ship was fitted with a hangar, elevators and a flight deck. The mission systems were Aegis, SQS-53 sonar, 12 SV-22 ASW aircraft and 200 VLS cells. The resulting ship had a waterline length of 700 feet, a waterline beam of 97 feet, and a displacement of about 25,000 tons.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cruiser-cold-war.htm

Edit: Attached image deleted since a larger and clearer version was found posted below.
 
The lack of gun is weird to me, especially with such a nice big open deck forward.
 
Howedar said:
The lack of gun is weird to me, especially with such a nice big open deck forward.

Guns, especially older ones cause a lot more problems for flight operations than do missiles, which can be launched (as VLS) at any target without forcing the ship to take a specific course. There's also the fact that a gun forces the ship to close to an enemy, especially with smaller cannon used today.

Now, a next generatoin combatant with a railgun might not have that problem, ast he predicted ranges for some types of railguns is in the 200+ mile range with means they're less likely to put that sort of constraint on the ships manuvering.
 

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I find the designation suspect-- It wouldn't be a Battlecruiser, and tbh, I've seen that image before, but never with any real description or detail so I have a feeling it's primarily an artist concept with little in the way of actual work behind it.
 
I wonder if the total aviation complement was twelve aircraft, or if the complement was twelve SV-22 tiltrotors with additional McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft. Was this an update of the Sea Control Ship idea with the addition of 200 VLS cells? The class capable of engaging in anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and surface warfare. Does the 1 indicate that it would be designated as a new type of United States Navy ship? An escort ship for Atlantic convoys?
 
Given the footprint even of a folded Osprey and the other weaponry/equipment of the MEU,
I think, that, when carrying Harriers, the number of Osprey would have to be traded against
the V/STOL fighters. Just remember, that the often given complement for the (much larger)
Invincibles was only possible with a constant deckpark, probably not recommendable in areas
as the North Atlantic during winter.
 
So, is there anything about this unit other than a single painting and caption? That's all, I've ever seen honestly, so it looks like it never even had a paper study done on it.
 
It would appear that they haven't gotten around yet to declassifying the studies that are directly related to the design. However, the earliest mention of it that I've been able to find so far (via a reference) is in the 1988 Surface Combatants Force Requirements Study, which recommended the MEU as a replacement for the Iowa class Battleships, indicating that a fair bit of preliminary work on the concept had already been carried out at that point (serious work is likely to have started in January of that year, see below).

Some more clues about the design can be found in this unclassified 1991 CSC paper, which, while it does not mention the MEU as such, does provide some insight into the prevailing school of thought (the so called 'Revolution At Sea') behind it, and the design principles that flowed from that origin, such as the fact that it would have had an integrated electric drive.

Some of the relevant material:
In order to determine the future operational requirements
which dictate the design and construction of Navy ships, two
Revolution At Sea studies were conducted: the Surface Combatant
Force Requirements Study and Ships Operational Characteristics
Study (SOCS). A three-star led work/study group, called Group
Mike, was organized by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) with
a charter to improve the reliability, maintainability, and
survivability of surface combatants of the 21st century. (6:37)
The SOCS "Operational Report" spelled out 12 imperative
characteristics for future ships, within four priorities:

Priority A: Cooperative engagement in all mission areas;
integrated machinery systems; survivability and the ability to "fight hurt."

Priority B: Embedded readiness assessment, mission
planning, and training; condition-based maintenance; torpedo
self-defense.

Priority C: co-location of ship control and combat information
center; access control and security; alternative (peacetime/
wartime) use of volume.

Priority D: Smooth topsides; new information management;
organic aviation and other off-board vehicles. (10:72)


Early efforts at designing the Revolution At Sea ships actually
started in January 1988, as engineers at the Navy's David Taylor
Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Annapolis and
Caderock, Maryland, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White
Oak, Maryland, started identifying technologies that showed promise
for achieving the goal of total weapon systems for the new family of
warships. Design work is expected to continue until the mid-1990s,
when the Navy will request funds to acquire the ships. (10:70)
According to Admiral Metcalf, if the Revolution At Sea is
successful, the warfighting design policy for the U.S. Navy will be
to maximize a warship's ability to deliver ordinance on target.
Ideally, in such a ship, the internal volume should be all weapons.
In a future strike cruiser, for example, this might mean cruise
missiles in Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells from stem to stern--a
modern-day HMS Dreadnought. (The Dreadnought was the first "big"
gun battleship in which the battle space was measured not in yards
but in miles. (6:38)
 
Thank you very much for the information, Grey Havoc. I wonder if the Mission Essential Unit (MEU), or CG V/STOL, strike cruiser evolved into the Arsenal Ship. Both concepts were part of the "Revolution at Sea" initiative. As a replacement proposal for the Iowa-class battleship, I presume that the ships would be politically unpopular with the battleship mafia. I also wonder if there is a nuclear-powered version of this concept.
 
Charles Gray said:
Howedar said:
The lack of gun is weird to me, especially with such a nice big open deck forward.

Guns, especially older ones cause a lot more problems for flight operations than do missiles, which can be launched (as VLS) at any target without forcing the ship to take a specific course. There's also the fact that a gun forces the ship to close to an enemy, especially with smaller cannon used today.

Now, a next generatoin combatant with a railgun might not have that problem, ast he predicted ranges for some types of railguns is in the 200+ mile range with means they're less likely to put that sort of constraint on the ships manuvering.

I wonder if the design could have been fitted with the 155-millimeter Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS) with an extended range guided munition.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,689.msg67139.html#msg67139
 
DonaldM said:
I wonder if the design could have been fitted with the 155-millimeter Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS) with an extended range guided munition.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,689.msg67139.html#msg67139

Given that the ship was planned with VLSs at the outset and apparently had a decent growth margin, it would seem logical to assume so.

Interestingly enough, one of the things that led up to the MEU design was the failure of the USN to get an Surface Action Group optimised (at the expense of NSFS capability) Iowa class conversion past the USMC. That particular plan included removal of all the 16-inch turrets and installing, among other things, 324 Tomahawks, 100 Standard Missiles, and an Aegis system (a custom variant of the Baseline 2 AN/SPY-1A most likely).
 
Grey Havoc said:
Interestingly enough, one of the things that led up to the MEU design was the failure of the USN to get an Surface Action Group optimised (at the expense of NSFS capability) Iowa class conversion past the USMC. That particular plan included removal of all the 16-inch turrets and installing, among other things, 324 Tomahawks, 100 Standard Missiles, and an Aegis system (a custom variant of the Baseline 2 AN/SPY-1A most likely).

Wow, I did not know that since the debate has always centered around how the 16-inch guns were an absolute necessity to give the Marines littoral fire support and to strike fear of United States military power.
 
The Iowa reactivations were always sort of schizophrenic. The surface Navy (to the extent they wanted them at all) saw the ships as the cores of surface action groups, which is why they got Harpoons, and as strike warfare platforms, a way to get Tomahawk to sea in large numbers relatively quickly. The guns were not crucial to the Navy's needs, but the Marines certainly wanted them and the Navy needed the Marines to help secure funding. SO the guns got talked up, though if if was up to the Navy, the turrets would probably have been left mothballed to save the manning.
 
The original plan was if the refit went over budget was to leave the 16 inchers in layup.
Of course once enough VLS ships were commissioned or converted they were thrown back in mothballs where they belonged.
 
Did the Bureau of Ships expect a new hull classification for the Mission Essential Unit (MEU)/CG VSTOL since the concept painting starts with 1? What might be the new hull classification? Landing Fire Support (LFS)? Sea Control Ship (SCS)? Or if it had been build would it have been added to the cruisers list as a CGH-xx?
 
You know, I wonder if one thing that killed this concept and some others involving integral V/STOL craft ws the improved networking ability of the modern military. A lot of the older concepts I read stressed the importance of having organic air power to help target missiles-- but that's not really needed today since you can easily "hand off" such chores to someone else.
 
Since there's talk of building smaller carriers I wonder if this will get a second look.
 
XP67_Moonbat said:
Since there's talk of building smaller carriers I wonder if this will get a second look.

I don't think there's any real interest in smaller carriers among the USN planners or leadership. There certainly is no budget to develop a new and very complex hybrid class like this right now. The USN needs to get its hands around the frigate/small combatant issue and the cruiser replacement/missile defense shooter missions first. Carriers are pretty much a solved problem right now.
 
There's also another issue-- drone technology is advancing so quickly, that you could very likely start a ship now and then see it become more or less obsolete. So I think smaller aviation capable ships will probably be atl least partially delayed by a desire to see how maturing UAV technology is going to impact them (My belief is that a futgure version of the MEU would be a ship with aviation support, but mostly for drones, rather than manned aircraft, save helo's or V-22 style craft. Barring a dramatic change in technology, the sweet spot for a full carrier seems to be about what the US has, and smaller fleets accept smaller ships, not because they're the best, but because of budget/mission reasons.)
 
My first post, I find the image fascinating. I wonder what that ship would look like if attempted today? VLS would have a more varied loadout and larger drones could be operated from it. Such a ship with three VLS modules would have 192 missiles composed of ESSM/SM-2/SM-6/SM-3IIA/Tomahawk/Maritime Strike Tomahawk/ Possibly LRASM. RAM launchers/57mm MAD-FIRES CIWS. SPY-6 radar 18 foot diameter version. Integrated Power System. SV-22/F-35B/H-60. Possible air group of 12 SV-22s/4 EV-22(AEW)/12 F-35B/2 MH-60S(SAR) plus large drones such as Bell V-247 tiltrotor or smaller drones. Air Group totals 30 plus 6 Bell V-247s or more smaller drones. Displacement increases. Dimensions increase, possibly use LHA hullform.
 
My first post, I find the image fascinating. I wonder what that ship would look like if attempted today? VLS would have a more varied loadout and larger drones could be operated from it. Such a ship with three VLS modules would have 192 missiles composed of ESSM/SM-2/SM-6/SM-3IIA/Tomahawk/Maritime Strike Tomahawk/ Possibly LRASM. RAM launchers/57mm MAD-FIRES CIWS. SPY-6 radar 18 foot diameter version. Integrated Power System. SV-22/F-35B/H-60. Possible air group of 12 SV-22s/4 EV-22(AEW)/12 F-35B/2 MH-60S(SAR) plus large drones such as Bell V-247 tiltrotor or smaller drones. Air Group totals 30 plus 6 Bell V-247s or more smaller drones. Displacement increases. Dimensions increase, possibly use LHA hullform.

Even if you built that thing you’d still have to arm it and defend it...and with all those goodies it would be a fat juicy target...keep the planes on the presently defended carriers and disperse the missiles among smaller combatants and subs...don’t forget crew as well...smaller hulls are easier to automate...which is critical when you already have a situation where there’s insufficient crewing for an insufficient number of ships and boats. I see aviation cruisers in the modern age a bit like a combo TV/VHS//Beta set: Yes you ‘could’ build it, but you’d create more complexities and expense; and why would you need one tape deck, much less two.
 
There were a number of studies of similar CGVs. These ships provided 22 aircraft and 192 VLS cells. I disagree with concentrating all airpower on big deck carriers only. A hybrid cannot take the place of a carrier. It's function is to disperse some airpower. The MEU/CG-V/STOL combines an Aegis cruiser with a small V/STOL carrier. Main function here is ASW with enough missile firepower to defeat saturation air attacks and a small number of organic fighters for self defense and presumably some form of V-22 based AEW. Larger than Invincible with more missiles, SPY radar system and Aegis combat system. You could build a surface action group around this ship or perhaps sail it independently. Friedman's Destroyers showed Aviation Cruiser with VTOL aircraft and larger missile batteries some years ago as being proposed to follow on the Arleigh Burke DDGs. A CBG cannot be in all places at once while dispersion complements the CVN and does not compete with it.
 
The advent of missile armament from VLS and high performance STOVL aircraft such as the F-35B make the aviation cruiser more practical than before but operating away from the CVN in SAGs or independently in some situations. Massed missile batteries provide excellent self and area defense. The SV-22 which would be like a modernized S-3B Viking but with the ability to carry self defense Sidewinders and dipping sonar for sub hunting or convoy escort by the aviation cruiser with Aegis combat system and the larger diameter SPY-6 AESA AMDR and larger VLS batteries than Tico cruisers would have something to offer in the way of having organic self defense and area air and missile defense to other ships that would be unique while F-35Bs could support ARGs providing air defense and surface and land attack strike while the VLS provides Tomahawk Maritime and land attack capabilities.
I just think you have to reconsider the hybrid in light of technological advances since the days of the flight deck cruisers of the 30s that were hampered by heavy guns and limited aviation capability. Things have changed.
 
I think the problem is that when people talk about this, you start hearing people mention how it will "replace" the CVN, which as you correctly said, it wouldn't.

Now that we have the F-35, I'd say the concept is more viable than ever, given the quantum leap compared to any previous VTOL fighter.

Of course, a future cruiser might have a considerable aviation capability, but one mostly comprised of UAVs, which would allow for more compact storage.
 
In the abstract, sure, having a bunch of aviation-capable non-CVN warships is useful. And with unlimited budgets, I'd say go for it. But in reality, there simply isn't enough money to field ships like this and maintain adequate force levels of large carriers and other ships. Especially when we start positing the existence of things like the SV-22 and (presumably) EV-22 for ASW and AEW tasks from these ships. That's a lot of development money that simply does not exist in any realistic contemporary budget environment.

Besides, the USN already has a way to put more F-35s to sea when needed -- the big-deck amphibious ships running in their secondary "Lightning carrier" mode. The desired VLS cells can operate just fine* on their accompanying escorts. There's no pressing reason to combine them in one ship.

* actually better, becuase there are plenty of reasons that an F-35 carrier will want to be elsewhere from the missile shooters. Air and Missile defense assets want to be posted up the threat axis, for example, and you don't necessarily want your cruise missile shooters to be co-located with the carrier, because launching missiles could interfere with flight operations.
 
According to the Global Security web site the US Navy studied the following:

Another cruiser alternative studied in the late 1980s was variously entitled a Mission Essential Unit (MEU) or CG V/STOL. In a return to the thoughts of the independent operations cruiser-carriers of the 1930s and the Russian Kiev class, the ship was fitted with a hangar, elevators and a flight deck. The mission systems were Aegis, SQS-53 sonar, 12 SV-22 ASW aircraft and 200 VLS cells. The resulting ship had a waterline length of 700 feet, a waterline beam of 97 feet, and a displacement of about 25,000 tons.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cruiser-cold-war.htm
Mission Essential Unit (MEU) is great moniker because w/o some sizeable combatant like a Cruiser/Carrier ie CG V/TOL you wont have what is essential for a mission accomplish and you essentially will not be able to accomplish most maritime missions.

W/o a large budgets, we might well start speaking Chinese at this point. Time is up as the saying goes. Retention of USN ranks needs quite an expensive overhaul yes, as a start.

"In a return to the thoughts of the independent operations cruiser-carriers of the 1930s and the Russian Kiev class, the ship was fitted with a hangar, elevators and a flight deck." is exactly right. Carriers should carrying a 6th Gen A-12 (flying taco) stealth fighters (larger internal bay) bombers to make carrier worth paying for. Carriers and Cruiser/Carriers protected by close defensive and far offensive large sub/surface unmanned combatants (potentially attritable) would be far better than the arbitrary industrail complex of destroyers, frigates, and crusiers. LCS is for permissive environments.

The idea for combatants need low RCS given an adversary's access to sensor data in the 21st century is preposterous. A Heavy Combatants Cruiser/Carriers location will be known and that is the point.

There are not near enough VLS to sustain any real fight in the Pacific. Minus multiple 200+ VLS ships also equipt w/ Vertical guns and even, as it turns out, vertical missile launching EM guns (as developedt by LockMart some time ago) there is little chance of even surviving a Pac fight.

If we can't deconflict and synergize F-35 and various missiles including Cruise missiles we are already finished.

A CG V/TOL ship protected from decent anti-torpedo system (?) and multiple DEW (including restarted PBW tech) must be available to present too many variables for an adversary's C2 to manage. An extremely difficult offense renders a defense helpless. like football.

..will continue advocate a speedy nuclear powered Heavy Combatant (well within available material tech availale as a solution to traditional speed concerns, ie Nukes and material science "are magic" if there is the will. There is a lot BS being pushed by lazy bureaucrats.

Nukes could also power the proposed EM hull armor. Between PBWs and EM Hull armor nothing gets in.

Provided motivation the space and labor these Heavy Combatants Cruiser/Carriers can be produced in number. Plenty of workers and yards available if the there is sufficient intent.

A CG V/TOL may or not need a large horizontal gun (1000mile gun but..) and vertical guns are lower footprint and can get you into near space offering many options in addition to the VLSs.

A pure Arsenal Ship does not offer options including the all future V-22 variants including USMC/SOCOM assets nor horizontal launch un/manned aircraft including tanker UAS and attritable fighters.

Smaller ships are never going to challenge the decision cycle on an adversary like this type of Heavy Combatants. Smaller ship's w/ their lesser defenses and lighter hulls will simply defeated in detail as they are overcome one by one. Attritable USVs can take/block/intercept the threats.

If a AI C2 is to have the most success in Pacific fight, (it) needs the most options available on each ship. Even if you dont win fast (the likely outcome) you survive and likely fight full up again w/ the remaining ships. Either from outside or in frontal fist fight, your full multi-mission capable ready wherever and whenever culmination against an adversary occurs and operational exploitation begins.

From Grey Havoc's great find above
Priority A: Cooperative engagement in all mission areas;
integrated machinery systems; survivability and the ability to
"fight hurt." (destroyers, frigates, and crusiers generally will not be able to as they are dependant daughters not independant crusaders)

Priority B: Embedded readiness assessment, mission
planning, and training; condition-based maintenance; torpedo

self-defense.

Priority C: co-location of ship control and combat information
center; access control and security; alternative (peacetime/

wartime) use of volume. (San Antonio class) Marines/ Specops/ Refuggees/ hospital space (Put America at sea again)

Priority D: Smooth topsides; new information management;
organic aviation and other off-board vehicles. (10:72)
 
Last edited:
An intermedite ship between CG V/TOL or Carriers and there defensive and offensive sub/surface drone motherships which could be viewed as replacing frigates-destroyers as these smaller ships are still dependant on the large CG V/TOL or Carriers. This craft would eventually replace attack subs as well.


"According to undersea warfare expert H.I. Sutton, author of the Covert Shores web site, the use of drones could lead to minimally crewed aviation ships, complete with deck robots to substantially reduce the number of personnel needed to maintain, operate, and fly aircraft.

As for the carrier itself, Sutton suggests a semi-submersible vessel that uses ballast tanks to raise or lower itself in relation to sea level. A semi-submersible carrier could sit “barely two meters (six feet) above waves during flight operations in normal sea states or bad weather but ballast down further when not engaged in flying operations,” Sutton tells us. He envisions sleek, low-profile vessels, similar to a submarine sailing on the surface of the ocean, with elevators and a flight deck for UCAVs."
 

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