Your ideal RN Task Force in 1982

uk 75

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I got into hot water on another thread for trying out an
idea on RN ships and their armament in the wrong place.

I do think, however, the issue of whether the RN has the
right ships is an important one. However, I put it in the form
of questions as I am nowhere near as expert as others here.

If the Royal Navy had followed other NATO and Western navies
in building ships with US supplied weapons rather than its own
sometimes odd creations would it have been better off. As an
example take the Falklands in 1982.

Instead of the County and Type 42 destroyers with Seaslug
and Seadart give the Task Force a similar number of ships
with Standard missiles in batches corresponding to the ages
of the ships involved.

Instead of Ikara and Exocet, assume that destroyers and frigates
were equipped with the standard 8 round ASROC pepperbox launcher
and in some cases Harpoon rounds.

For point defence, Sea Sparrow on older ships, a small number of
Vulcan Phalanx systems on later ones.

For airpower, the question is a bit harder as the US could not offer
equivalents of the Harrier so the Task Force either has to have a
pair of Essex class/ or type ships with a mix of F8s and A4s/A7s
as the closest match to Invincible and Hermes. Similarly the USN
had no equivalent of the Lynx/Seaskua combo, so helos would be
limited to Seakings and Seasprites for ASW.

UK 75
 

Just call me Ray

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I just kinda wonder why no Tornadoes or Jaguars were based in Chile. I read that Chile wasn't the biggest fan of Argentina at the time.
 

Abraham Gubler

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uk 75 said:
If the Royal Navy had followed other NATO and Western navies
in building ships with US supplied weapons rather than its own
sometimes odd creations would it have been better off. As an
example take the Falklands in 1982.

That’s an interesting if unlikely question. Rather than redesign the 1982 Royal Navy ship by ship replacing UK developed system with US developed system it might be easier just to benchmark class for class. That is instead of Type 42 destroyers – an anti-aircraft focused destroyer first built in 1975 – they would have the US Navy mission and timeline equivalent. Which would be the Kidd class DDG.

Ship systems wise the RN would probably be at a disadvantage as the Sea Dart was better than the SM-1MR, Sea Wolf likewise for BPDMS Sea Sparrow, Super Lynx more versatile than SH-2F, Sea Harrier much better than the A-7E and so on. But the US ships are larger and more capable and their carrier and amphibious forces far more capable.

So I would benchmark the fleet this way:

County class DDG = Belknap class DLG/CG (improvement in AA, ASuW)
Type 42 DDG = Kidd class DDG (improvement in AA, NGS, ASW, ASuW)
Leander class FF = Knox class FF (improvement in AA. ASW, NGS, ASuW by fleet, ie no specialised versions)
Type 21 FF = Oliver Hazard Perry class FFG (improvement in AA, ASW but a reduction in NGS)
Type 22 FF = Oliver Hazard Perry class FFG (improvement in AA, NGS)
Valiant class SSN = Sturgeon class SSN (no real effect)
Churchill class SSN = Sturgeon class SSN (no real effect)
Swiftsure class SSN = Los Angeles class SSN (possible significant effect due to longer range sonar meaning the 25 de Mayo might have had a sustained track and being sunk at the same time as the Belgrano or in its place)
Oberon class SS = Barbel class SS (no real effect)
Fearless class LPD = Austin class LPD (no real effect)
Round Table class LSL = Newport class LST (improvement in landing capability and AA)

The harder benchmarks are the carriers. The US Navy did not replace conventional takeoff and landing aircraft with VTOL and replace its attack carrier fleet with sea control ships. So the Royal Navy has to follow suit. While it’s unrealistic to imagine the RN building Nimitz class carriers in the 1970s they could have replaced their war built carriers with conventionally powered super carriers or the US Navy’s own CVV design.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1083.0

Which would mean the air wings would be much larger and capable than the small number of Sea Harriers. The CCV air wing would be the size of the Midways but able to support F-14s. So that would mean:

Two squadrons of F-14s, two squadrons of A-7Es, one squadron of A-6Es (with KA-6D), one squadron of E-2B, and SH-3 and EA-6B dets. So the Task Force would have about 40 F-14s, 50 A-7Es, 25 A-6s, 8 E-2Bs and 6 EA-6Bs. A Huge boost over 20 Sea Harrier FRS.1.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Comparing the UK and USA sourced RN task force:
 

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uk 75

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Abraham

Thanks for taking the time on this one and very much enjoyed
your class and weapon comparision exercise.

My rationale was based slightly differently, as I assumed that
like other NATO navies (notably Netherlands, Italy, Spain and
Germany) the UK would have taken parts of the US weapons
system so:


DLG Similar to County class but with Terrier launchers,
later Standard. ASROC pepperbox instead of helo/Ikara

FFG Similar to Type 22/42 in size but with Standard instead
of Seadart/Seawolf

FF(H) Type 12 but with ASROC and Sea Sparrow instead of
Limbo/helo and Seacat

Replacing the Invincible Escort Cruiser is harder, though Italy
built a similar ship in the Vittorio Veneto. A through deck
Veneto with Standard/ASTER would be the same era.

I have assumed that the UK is fairly hard up and has to use
the US weapons to save on hefty development costs. Thus
no fixed wing carriers, except perhaps the two Essexes offered
in 1966. CVV was a mid 70s design and if the UK had adopted,
it would have taken at least a decade to build, so not available
in 1982. It would have been intended for F18s rather than F4s.

I like yours better

UK 75
 

Abraham Gubler

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uk 75 said:
My rationale was based slightly differently, as I assumed that
like other NATO navies (notably Netherlands, Italy, Spain and
Germany) the UK would have taken parts of the US weapons
system so:

Yep but way too hard to benchmark ship by ship and most of the differences probably wouldn’t matter than much. A 4,000 ton frigate is still just a 4,000 ton frigate and you can’t change things too much between them. The key tactical significance for the Falklands would be in naval gunfire support (NGS) and surface to air missile (SAM) capability.

For NGS US technology sourced RN ships are going to be sailing with a mix of Mk 42 and Mk 45 127mm L54s. While there is not much difference between a 4.5” and a 5” round the American turrets are generally better reliability wise than the Mk 8. The Mk 6 showed itself to be an amazing performer in Vietnam but that was in a three mount set up on a Daring class. It didn’t perform so well on the single mounts on the Type 12s and Countys.

For SAMs the RN would have a wider availability on ships of the RIM-66A/B (SM-1MR) with the Digital Tartar (Mk 74 FCS). Thanks to the space efficiency of the Mk 13 GMLS more RN ships would be able to carry it including the Type 21 class. The Type 22 with the Mk 13/Mk 74 instead of Sea Wolf would resemble the Australian DDL second iteration so would also ship a Mk 45 127mm gun.

The effect of this apart from the wider distribution of SAMs would be that the Argentines would lack a high level knowledge of the performance of RIM-66/Mk 74 because the USA would not sell it to them, unlike the UK and Sea Dart. So their aircraft would probably attack at higher altitudes making them more vulnerable. Would the RIM-66/Mk 74 perform as well against wave height fighters as Sea Wolf? Probably not but each ship would be shooting SM1s on one or two channels at these targets and it wouldn’t be pleasant for the incoming pilots.

uk 75 said:
Replacing the Invincible Escort Cruiser is harder, though Italy
built a similar ship in the Vittorio Veneto. A through deck
Veneto with Standard/ASTER would be the same era.

Forget the Italians the US Navy designed a range of V/STOL capable “Sea Control Ships” during the early 1970s. One iteration of which later emerged being built in Spain as the Prince of Asturias. They also included Invincible sized ships able to fly 12-24 V/STOL fighters each.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,7635.0

The key question here is would the USA build a V/STOL fighter as good as the Sea Harrier FRS.1? Since the NAA XFV-12 couldn’t even hover the likely aircraft would be the GD Model 200 backup. The US also required a V/STOL ‘sensor’ aircraft for supporting roles. Which is a great advantage over the RN’s approach to just use ASW helos. So the Sea Control Ship would also have V/STOL ASW, AEW and other aircraft to support the fighters.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2140.0


uk 75 said:
I have assumed that the UK is fairly hard up and has to use
the US weapons to save on hefty development costs. Thus
no fixed wing carriers, except perhaps the two Essexes offered
in 1966. CVV was a mid 70s design and if the UK had adopted,
it would have taken at least a decade to build, so not available
in 1982. It would have been intended for F18s rather than F4s.

Well perhaps not. I would imagine this scenario to be plausible would have to start back in post war austerity. Where the UK Government says no more weapons development we will just buy USA weapons from now on and spend the balance on civilian development. The Americans would probably be more than happy to have a captive market and their no.1 competitor removed. The UK could have become an equivalent of Japan in the 1970s in the 1950s freed of the cost burden of developing a full range of weapons and instead building consumer and industrial products (yes its bloody unlikely!).

Anyway in this case the RN would need to replace their angle deck, steam catapult Essex class ships by the early 1970s when their life expired. While the CVV was designed at this time and is implausible for this requirement it is not a unique ship. It is simply a conventional carrier sized to the Midway class and designed with available carrier technology – in its case that of the Nimitz class. You could do the same in the 1960s but using the technology of the Kitty Hawk class of super carrier. For our purposes it would be identical to the CVV and available in the early to mid 1970s to replace Essex class ships in the USN and RN.

But why would the UK build another attack carrier in the 1970s rather than a much cheaper sea control ship? Because the cost difference to the UK would not be so huge as they are not carrying the burden of developing a new carrier and a new air wing. So what scuppered CVA-01 and its aircraft would not necessarily sink its US equivalent built in the UK. Also the USA showed that despite a lot of early interest it was not willing to spend the money to develop a new VSTOL carrier and air wing while it had conventional carriers. Without the UK sourced Sea Harrier there is no western VSTOL carrier option for anyone.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Perhaps the most striking difference to a Falklands campaign fought with US weapons versus Uk weapons would be in the carrier aviation. While the Sea Harrier was a superb aircraft there were too few of them and much of their effort was waster by poor command (visual ocean reconnaissance!). With a gross total of 38 Sea Harriers and Harriers the UK force was able to provide ~1,100 CAPs and only ~240 strike sorties over nine weeks of operations.

With two Midway sized conventional carriers and US Navy air wings (each with 16 F-14B, 16 A-7E, 8 A-6E, 8 S-3A, 4 E-2B, 4 EA-6B and 2 KA-6D) the carrier aviation would be able to provide far more combat power.

Two carriers could sustain a 24/7 CAP of six F-14 Tomcats and three E-2 Hawkeyes throughout the campaign. With four more F-14s available quickly by deck launched intercept to back up the CAP. There is no way any of the Argentine mission packages could get through such a defence, even the Super Étendard strikes. There would also be plenty of F-14 sorties available for fighter sweeps and special barrier CAPs in addition to the CAP.

The most significant difference would be in strike. The fleet of 32 A-7Es and 16 A-6Es could generate over 3,000 strike sorties during the campaign while just flying a single sortie per aircraft per day. That’s over 12 times the rate of strike sorties that the Harrier force delivered. Before the San Carlos landing that is 1,000 sorties alone which is a huge shaping effect on the Argentine defences. Freed from the need to provide the CAP and with much more endurance than Sea Harriers – not to mention air launcher Harpoons – this force would also have easily launched a strike to take out the Argentine carrier battle group on May 2/3.

The air wings would also have the EA-6B Prowlers to suppress Argentine air search radars and communications. The S-3A would provide high levels of ocean reconnaissance and a huge boost to ASW perhaps enough to ensure the destruction of the San Luis. Also use of C-2 Greyhounds supported by RAF in flight refueling could provide a sustained dry, two way air link between the task group and Ascension. A much better use of RAF tankers than the monumental waste of fuel in the Black Back sorties.

Of course this kind of enhanced capability would probably have also been provided by RN Fleet Carriers like HM Ships Ark Royal and Eagle with their 1960s force of Phantoms, Buccaneers and AEW Gannets.
 

uk 75

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Abraham

Excellent stuff, for which I am very grateful.

Although it would have been impossible politically, the US
weapons option seems to me very attractive. After all the
Japanese followed this route and the JMSDF is now
significantly bigger than the RN.

UK 75
 

TomS

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Just call me Ray said:
I just kinda wonder why no Tornadoes or Jaguars were based in Chile. I read that Chile wasn't the biggest fan of Argentina at the time.

Chile did apparently contribute, quietly, to the British war effort, with radar early warning and fueling for a few flights by Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft (either MRs or R.1s). In exchange, they received a couple of Canberra PR.9s after the war at knock-down prices.

http://www.spyflight.co.uk/chile.htm

Basing combat aircraft in Chile would have been an entirely different kettle of fish, as it would have put Chile into belligerent status, which the Chilean government was not interested in doing (They had no love of Argentina, but feared repercussions throughout the region if they overtly sided with a European power against an Latin one.)

Besides, there really wasn't any role for tactical aircraft unless the British planned to strike the mainland, a very touchy subject during the war. Keeping the war confined to the islands (aside from the odd SAS observation mission) was a very good idea, as it avoided triggering open support from other South American powers and kept US support firm.

And finally, Tornado was really not ready for war yet -- the first GR.1s were only delivered to an operational squadron in early 1982 and it took at least a year for them to become mission-ready. Jaguar was operational, but had no real role in this sort of battle, unless one planned to strike the Argentine bases at Rio Gallegos or Comodoro Rivadavia from the Chilean airbase at Punta Arenas.
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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As long as I'm allowed to dream, I would let the Royal Navy have a combination of small and large carriers with super-sonic Sea Harriers and naval TSR-2 (or English Electric P.17A), respectively. Combined with Buccaneer Mk. 2, fighter-bomber Buccaneer (or Vickers-Armstrong Supermarine Super-Scimitar) or a (pre-Tornado) swing-wing fighter/strike aircraft.

As long as I can dream...
 

Grey Havoc

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Speaking of the Falklands, one of the last surviving RN ships which served in the war, HMS Plymouth, looks like being scrapped unless a miracle happens: http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12482

:(
 

Hobbes

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Replying to an old thread I know, it seems to me that the big difference between US and UK ships would be the electronics. The RN found out to its cost that the radar on the Type 42 didn't work that well in coastal waters. Hence the Type 42/22 combo and the sinking of HMS Sheffield and Coventry.
I've no idea if American ships of that area fared any better in these circumstances (being firmly designed for blue-water operations like the British ships).
 

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