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Navy Conducting Alternative Carrier Study

USS Gerald R. Ford, CVN 78, Dry Dock Flooding. Huntington Ingalls Industries Photo

USS Gerald R. Ford, CVN 78, Dry Dock Flooding. Huntington Ingalls Industries Photo

The Navy is studying alternatives to how it competes and sources its aircraft carrier force, the Navy’s top acquisition official told Congress last week.

“We have been asked we are following suit to conduct a study to look at alternatives to Nimitz size and type of aircraft carriers and see if it makes sense,” Sean Stackley — Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA) — said before a Senate panel on Wednesday.
“Is there a sweet spot, something different other than today’s 100,000 ton carrier that would make sense to provide the power projection that we need that we get today from our aircraft carriers but at the same time put us in a more affordable position to provide that capability?”

Navy officials provided additional details on the study to USNI News late Friday.

“This study will reflect our continued commitment to reducing costs across all platforms by matching capabilities to projected threats and also seeks to identify acquisition strategies that promote competition in naval ship construction,” the official said in a statement.
“There is a historical precedent for these type of exploratory studies as we look for efficiencies and ways to improve our warfighting capabilities.”

Timelines for the study’s completion were not provided to USNI News.

Stackley’s Wednesday comments revealing the study came in response to questions from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the affordability of the Ford program.

McCain has been among the most vocal critics of cost overruns in the next generation carrier program.

USNI News understands the latest look in the carrier program began earlier this year in response to questions from Congress.

Currently there is one shipbuilder for U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport, Va.

According to the Navy, the Newport News yard is the only place in the U.S. capable of building a nuclear aircraft carrier.

The $12.9 billion first-of-class Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is slated to deliver to the service next year. The next ship — John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) — will deliver on June 22, 2022.

The following is March 20, 2015 statement to USNI News from a Navy official.

As indicated in testimony, the Navy has an ongoing study to explore the possible composition of our future large deck aviation ship force, including carriers. There is a historical precedent for these type of exploratory studies as we look for efficiencies and ways to improve our war fighting capabilities. This study will reflect our continued commitment to reducing costs across all platforms by matching capabilities to projected threats and Also seeks to identify acquisition strategies that promote competition in naval ship construction. While I can’t comment on an ongoing study, what I can tell you is that the results will be used to inform future shipbuilding budget submissions and efforts, beyond what is currently planned.

  • airider

    PEO Carriers knows the options available to them. Whether they’ll be acceptable to others is the real question.

    • Curtis Conway

      Those options are examples of thinking in the box. We must think out of the box. Something, new, fresh, yet capable given our new technological edge.

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  • Curtis Conway

    Anyone following my post already know my position on this and related matters:

    1. Adopt a Light Carrier Program based upon the USS America (LHA-6) Class platform with an F-35B / V-22 air-wing (Expeditionary Strike Group configuration).

    2. Relieve the USMC of the requirement to buy and support F-35C, and restore their full F-35B employment and logistics train.

    3. If the LCS/SSC/FF is to remain, then upgrade its capability to at least defend itself from a Theater Ballistic Missile threat.

    a. A non-rotating 3D fire control capable radar (NIFC-CA) in modified superstructure.
    i. SPY-1F least preferred with IAMD, and could be on carriers as well.
    ii. 9-module AMDR Lite providing SPY-1A cruiser level radar fire control coverage, at a fraction of the power, cooling and space requirements.

    b. MK 57 VLS minimum with ESSM advantageously located.

    c. Mk 41 VLS cells forward for medium range SM-2 and ASROC

    4. Develop a lower cost yet capable all-ocean alternative to a DDG-51 with half the weapons capability,1/3-1/2 the crew, but that AMDR Lite 9-module radar, and ½ the load-out of Mk 41 VLS cells. This should be an AAW platform with an ASW capability, and a 5” gun location (NGFS support for the Marines). The HII National Patrol Frigate would be a good start.

    5. Develop a pressurized version of the V-22 Osprey for more efficient COD operations, providing the base platform for the EV-22 AEW&C Osprey.

    6. Licensed production of SM-2 missiles (Baseline SM-2 design) by the Japanese and South Koreans would provide more weapons bodies faster. The US Navy can handle rocket motors and the advanced SM-2 components for the US fleet. This will get the availability of the weapons up for the additional platforms more quickly.

    Now we can assemble a Light Carrier Battle Group, or an Expeditionary Strike Group at a fraction of the employment cost of a Carrier Strike Group, and provide a meaningful combat power if necessary, but more importantly meaningful proactive presence in the Western Pacific, Mediterranean, and other places. Some financing can come from a substitution of NPF 2-for-1 with DDG-51 construction money. Stretch out the Kennedy and Enterprise and pay for the rest. Four CVLBG/ESGs would just meet the need, but six would be better for extended employment and presence maintenance. That’s my 2Ȼ

    • PB

      Then part of the cost equation will be nuclear propulsion vs fossil fuel based propulsion for the light carrier. The Essex class carriers evolved into sea control platforms with ASW assets in the 60’s time frame.

      • Curtis Conway

        There are many issues to calculate into the equation. One of those items for the South Western Pacific, and South China Sea is many of the available ports of call do not like Nukes. A Light Carrier Hybrid Electric Drive burning fossil fuels will only offend the Chinese.

    • Keeping the Main Carrier battle groups back home at their current numbers. While employing the Light Carrier Battle Group for regional presence in the Region. The Carrier strike groups would be main force, while the Light Carrier Battle Group maintain a presence in the regions.

      • Sandy

        HNO…CVN’s do no good sitting at anchor at home.

    • PolicyWonk

      I cannot agree more.

      This nation needs to build LHA-6 sized carriers (our “light” carriers are as large or larger than any of our allies), and man them with F-35B’s (unless of course, we deem to give them catapults and arresting gear). The advent of smart munitions makes even a “light” carrier a stunningly lethal platform. As if that wasn’t enough – we can get 3 LHA-6’s (may four) for the price of only 1 USS Ford. This translates to better coverage no matter how you slice it.

      The addition of V-22’s and a contingent of marines, or in partnership with an ARG/ESG, constitutes not only a versatile force – but an excellent set of power projection options.

      LCS/SSC/FF should be killed outright, IMHO, given the staggering costs. We’re far better off to go with an up-armed/armored version of the NSC used by the USCG.

      • Sandy

        wonk…agree in theory, BUT, as I told Curtis, we MUST have some kind of force protection for these usual ARG assets – they are sitting ducks now because we don’t have an AEGIS with them nor a submarine. The problem will be in getting the Fleet CDR’s to keep those assets with the ARGs and not split off for STATE mandated port visits/show-the-flag ops. I remember in 93 being told “don’t worry, CINCUSNAVEUR won’t split the ARG and Battle Group up – what happened when we inchopped? All went different ways. An overall strategy has to be re-thought before having these smaller task groups.

    • disqus_89uuCprLIv

      Rereading the operational use of WW-II light carriers (CVL- converted cruiser hulls with USN designed and certified hull construction, damage control systems and armament) vs the employment of escort carriers (CVE- with modified commercial hulls, Navy systems modified to work in them and speed restrictions) leads to the conclusion that employment depends on air superiority.

      CVANs can create air superiority due to their inherent aircraft and weapons loading.

      CVLs can contribute to air superiority but cannot make it except when employed against Third World air forces.

      CVEs do not have a hope for surviving in a hostile environment. They REQUIRE air superiority in order to augment the big carriers by dealing with the plentitude of ground combat and infrastructure attack missions. They also provided replacement pilots and aircraft for the CVAs as part of the Fleet Train.

      • Curtis Conway

        Reading your post, one would wonder if HiStory and technological advancement exist. If the situation warrants a CVN goes, but most of the time, we are just maintaining a cop-on-the-beat presence. A full CSG is expensive, and the ARG does not have enough fixed wing air. The CVLBG (Navy centric) or ESG (Marine centric) formations fills the gap between your CVL & CVAN with the exception of a few mission sets. If the EV-22 AEW&C Osprey should ever be developed, most of the other missions can be assumed by the F-35B. With sufficient F-35Bs airborne one has quite an air picture via data from its combat system, but that is not sufficient for a comprehensive air picture.

        A USS America (LHA-6) configured as a Light Carrier (which ever flavor) will incur an OPTEMPO cost much less than the full CSG, provides more combat power than an ARG, and can go to most any port. A CVN can’t do that.

  • Curtis Conway

    If this study group comes up with a new carrier design we will know that the purpose of the group is not as stated (cost conscious in the austere budgetary environment), or is driven by the Industrial Military Complex that Dwight David Eisenhower spoke of so eloquently.

    • NavySubNuke

      What if the new carrier design is half the size with a much smaller crew and a smaller air wing optimized for sea control/air control vs. the current multi-mission behemoth?
      Especially if it comes out with a design that is conventional and can be built in either of the big deck shipyards vs. the current nuclear version that can only be build in VA.

      • Curtis Conway

        New smaller carrier means more development money which we do not have time for, and cannot afford!

        • NavySubNuke

          You have to spend money to save money. If you can build a smaller carrier that has a much smaller crew you will rapidly recoup those costs.

          • Curtis Conway

            Will it have a crew smaller than an LHA-6?

          • NavySubNuke

            Doubtful – LHA-6 seems pretty slime at ~1050.

          • Curtis Conway

            I agree, but it will grow with the Expeditionary Air Wing composition support staff, and changes in ships capability. AIMD alone would grow to support the additional tasking, and the Squadron numbers and diversity will be larger. Ships company probably won’t grow much, but the airwing definitely will. there would not be 1,600 Marines on board, but they will not all go away either due to increased SOF tasking, and dedicated SEAL spaces will be present as well. The Intel spaces will grow requiring more personnel. An AMDR Lite with 9-modules will provide SPY-1A fire control track quality picture for weapons direction, but more importantly the most capable air control and tacking radar available today. That radar will also provide additional EW capability. Air crew safety should grow beyond a rotating radar. If weapons upgrades or improved radar is installed that will bring a few more technicians.

            I would even advocate a US Navy Attack Helo for the littorals. The carrier is Home Plate and every flight deck in the fleet is the divert field and refueling platform. Guided Rockets, ASCMs, AIM-9s, and a gun directed by onboard radar, EO/IR and data-link.

            The ESG is made to order for the littorals in the South China Sea, Med, or anti-pirating operations over a large area. Don’t think we will paint it white and put a red hash on it though.

        • El_Sid

          Just licence the design of the Queen Elizabeths. Ready to go, designed for 40 F-35B, two of them can generate 144 sorties/day, highly automated so core crew is 679, air crew obviously depends on how many planes you have on board but probably no more than LHA-6 if you only have 20 F-35 on board.

  • captlou

    I recall similar studies back in the late 70s at the direction of the Carter administration. The criticism of the smaller carrier was it would have such limited capacity and strike power that it would rival the weak offerings from France and the UK. Amazing how history repeats itself and this silliness rears its ugly head during Democrat admins. They always push the weaker alternative.

    • FormerDirtDart

      Idiot

      “Stackley’s Wednesday comments revealing the study came in response to questions from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the affordability of the Ford program.”

      • captlou

        Last time I checked, Mr. Stackley works for Obama, and not McCain. Read history, these “studies” never amount to anything.

        • Secundius

          @ captlou.

          Actually your WRONG Sir, Sean Stackley, was appointed by President George W. Bush…

          • captlou

            You, sir, need to read my post again – I did not say who hired Stackley, I said he WORKS for Obama. Agree, appointed by Bush, works for Obama.

          • Secundius

            @ captlou.

            Sir, after 19-days of not hearing a reply, I moved on. I no long care…

    • Curtis Conway

      The current precision guided weapons coupled with the unique combat system on the F-35, change the entire context of the argument. Strong consideration should be given to this concept.

      • Sandy

        what concept…smaller carriers? NOOOO…..You can’t do sustained combat ops with these smaller carriers…they are a joke unless you have two or three together….so what’s the point?

    • NavySubNuke

      In an age of infinite money the fact that we spend $13B+ on a carrier wouldn’t matter. But it isn’t an age of infinite money. Unless/until we are willing to cut the moochers off the Navy isn’t going to get the money it needs so now it is time to start looking at alternatives. Designing and deploying a smaller carrier with a smaller air wing makes fiscal sense – especially when you consider the advancements that have been made in anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.
      I would rather have a battle group with two half-capable carriers than 1 super carrier if only to make the enemy hit twice as many targets. Also, no matter how capable your 1 super carrier is it can only be in one place at a time and control a limited amount of space around it. Would you rather have 10 super carriers — of which only 2 or 3 are actually at sea in areas you care about — or 20 carriers that are half as capable but 5 – 7 are actually at sea in places you care about?
      You can try to make this a republican/democrat thing if you want but both parties are equally guilty for the tiffany navy we find ourselves with. Sure our ships are awesomely capable – more capable than any other ship of their class in the entire world – but they are so expensive we just don’t have the numbers we need.

      • Curtis Conway

        You must have been reading my comments over all these months/years. More than one of us has been making this argument.

        Now, just because we would begin a Light Carrier Building Program would not necessarily mean that the large deck bird-farms are going away. That capability must be available as a deterrent if nothing else. However, our Super-carriers are unequaled on the planet. It’s more than just a training program for our youth, or career path for pilots and engineers. They just cost an arm and a leg to operate, so when the economy is not gangbusters, OPTEMPO must be less. The CVLBG represents a solution to reducing operational cost while providing tangible combat power. The capability does not go away when good times return.

        Modify the makeup of the ARG or develop Expeditionary Strike Groups to replace some of them, at least two ARGs on both coasts. The ESG can augment that formation with another amphib well-deck. If I were King of the Navy I would have three (3) ESGs / coast. In fact I would place one in the Med and South China Sea full time.

        We can build the CVLBG force of six for a little over the cost of two super-carriers. If the new FF(G) is developed then we can get that cost down even more without loosing too much capability. The AAW Commander would be a Cruiser/DDG, but the screen/skirmishers can be FFGs, as in the past. The LCS (by any name) cannot Skirmish . . . it will just die, because it cannot outrun an ASCM, or adequately defend itself against a determined attack.

        • old guy

          WAAAY back in the early 90s, we did an alternate carrier study. I was in it because I was an R&D wonk who had built a 16,000 ton carrier with the Spanish. (Principe de Asturias). As soon as 15,000 to 60,000 toners looked like they could be a useful option, the moguls edicted nuclear only and that ended that. I thought it would interest you.

          • Curtis Conway

            I like nukes, but the development alone would be outside the scope of this effort, and defeat its very intention, which is to SAVE money, and use what we have (Bird in the hand), not what we wish or could have (Bird in the Bush). We are out of time in the numbers game. No more delays. Get the numbers up with real capability, not a fast and hollow force that is unsruvivable when it comes to Surface Combat.

          • Doug M.

            Developing a shipboard nuke plant would take development funds? I don’t think so, they are already developed. If it made too much power then you run it at 10% as navy nuclear power plants run way below commercial plants do anyway. If you thought a carrier power plant provided too much power then you could use already developed naval nuclear submarine power plants. The cost for development would be in the way of having to develop non nuclear power plants for a conventional powered carrier. Also, why do you think that you could build 6 half size carriers for the cost of only 2 current carriers? I guarantee you that the cost of 6 half size would be more than the cost of 3 full size. History has taught us this.

          • El_Sid

            The two British carriers have a programme cost of GBP6.2bn ( about $10bn), and it’s been suggested the marginal cost of one ship is about $3bn. Admittedly the current version only flies F-35B’s, but two of them can generate 140 sorties per day, comparable to a CVN. And two smaller carriers can be in two places at the same time, something a CVN, no matter how awesome, cannot.

          • Sandy

            F-35B’s have so many problems as well as their lack of ordnance carrying capability that they can not be given serious consideration for CVN ops. . Not sure where you get 140 sorties per day – that’s low number on combat days. That’s only 5.8 sorties per hour on round the clock ops. You also can’t launch E-2C’s from the Brit carriers.

          • Curtis Conway

            The F-35 (any flavor) combat system will mature with time. In the mean time, It’s the only program we have until Generation 6 fighter comes out.
            The Britts use helos for their AEW platform. Currently that is a Westland AEW Seaking Helicopter with a Searchwater Radar on the side. The new one will be an Augusta Westland AW 101 Helo. The new one is coming out now. An Expeditionary Strike Group, or Light Carrier Battle Group would only ever be a ‘proactive presence’, or augment a full CSG during combat operations.

          • Sandy

            the gun on the F-35 won’t be ready for a few years, and, the small diameter bomb doesn’t fit in the V/STOL F-35. There are problems with the FORD class arresting system, so we have those priorities first. I am not opposed to beefed up ARGs – I have always been in favor of a CRU-DES asset and a submarine attached to them, but they rarely are because the theater commanders have to abide, also, by the port visit plans for engagement strategies put out by STATE. So, much to ponder.

          • Curtis Conway

            Now Sandy, we will have to get our facts strait. The GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) is a 250 lb (110 kg) precision-guided glide bomb, or the GBU-53/B with its tri-mode seeker (radar, infrared homing, and semi-active laser guidance) are intended to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of bombs in a pack of four SDBs in place of a single 2,000 lb (907 kg) bomb. The F-35B’s bomb bay is a bit smaller than the “A”, or “C” variant making room for the vertical lift fan. The space in the “B” bomb bay has some plumbing issues, which have been identified and must be changed, so the full complement of four (4) SDBs can be carried. The F-35B can, and always could carry an SBD-(X) internally or externally, just internally they cannot carry all four at present. the fix has been identified and all production F-35B aircraft will not have this problem. However, if a Marine pilot wants to drop an SDB-39 or GBU-53B on someones head next July he will be able to do it.

          • Sandy

            Brutha, I am only relaying what was said in Navy TIMES and what a Marine aviator here told me: I was a frogman by trade. That said, you just said there are issues with the SDB and the gun is virtually useless – nothing compares to the A-10. That also said, there are limitations with what the V/STOL can load, just like the Harrier. That is not my point overall, however; if we don’t re-think how these smaller carriers will be protected by AEGIS and subs, they will be sitting ducks…just a fact. A swarm of small boats could take these out in narrow straights as well as missile batteries and small diesel boats. Dang, give me the ASDS with a pair of MK-50 torpedoes, and goodbye amphib flattop – that is my point. The F-35 is a side-spectacle.

          • Curtis Conway

            I was Combat Systems Test (Aegis). What I listed above are the facts. Agree on the sub + Aegis with every ARG. I think if you check the last few employment schedules you will find that is pretty well happening already. If we do build Light Carriers, they will definitely have the underwater and above water insurance policy in company.

          • Sandy

            Again, in theory….when they in-chop, it is the Fleet CDR’s discretion – and he can do what he pleases, but he also has another master – DoSTATE….that’s my point.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I think your confusing yourself, the GBU-53/B is also a (SDB). Not 2,000 JDAM, the JDAM or BLU/GBU-109…

          • Curtis Conway

            The GBU-38 (Lockheed Built) AND the GBU-53B (Boeing built) are SDB built to the same form factor so 4 will fit in the same space as a Mk84 2,000 lb bomb. It’s that simple. I missed it in the para above (SDB-39).

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            The only Ordnance System, at present that doesn’t fit is the SDB II or GBU-53B. All other’s will fit…

          • Curtis Conway

            Thanks Secundius. I would like to see the source. The last thing I read on it (and there were a half dozen stories on it) was discussing length issues towards the rear of the bomb bay. Both SDBs are build to the same clearance spec. Looking for clarification. What I had read was the jet can carry two but not four.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            BRU-61/A SPC (Smart Pneumatic Carriage)
            143″ x 16″ x 16″ @ weight 320#, load capacity 1,460#

            Boeing GBU-39B, SDB I & FLM
            70.8″ x 7.5″ @ 285#, range ~60nm.
            Accuracy: ~8 to 10-meters

            Raytheon GBU-53/B, SDB II
            71.3″ x 7.6″ @ ~288#, range ~45nm.
            Accuracy: ~1-meter

          • Curtis Conway

            The 53’s a little longer and larger girth. This must be the issue with the fit and plumbing problem with the current F-35B bomb bay. So the F-35B can carry two GBU-53/Bs internally, or no? Obviously they can carry the full complement (4) on the wing stores stations that are Mk 84 qualified.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I suspect the wing’s are shorter too, that would explain it’s lesser range capabilities. The four GBU-39/B’s YES, but the two GBU-53/B only Side-By-Side configuration. It’s the spacing between the weapons, that are the heart of the issue…

          • Curtis Conway

            The lesser range is due to less internal fuel capacity because of the lift fan. the V-22 has a refueling capability so the F-35B does a deck roll and hits the tanker. If a long range mission is contemplated the fuel can be topped off just before ingress to the target.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            All carrier plane’s carrying Full Ordnance Packages, never take-off fully-fueled. Once Airborne goes Texico, to “Top-Off” their Fuel Tanks, including their Pylon attached Fuel Pods. For two reasons, one for Safety and the other being. They can’t produce enough thrust even when being Cat-Launched to get Airborne. The F/AV-35B’s engine thrust is rated 43,000lbf, std. and 50,000lbf, max. Normal Ordnance Package is 10,000lbs Internal and 12,000lbs with External’s. And mounting a “Ski-Jump Ramp”, is like adding 75-extra feet to the Flight Deck.

            On a side note, AESA radar is planned to be integrated into the F-35’s airframe…

          • Curtis Conway

            This used to be one of my jobs. I am very aware of the process. Obviously this person (and all the outlets that talk about load problems with aircraft on aircraft carrier aircraft) do not understand this. Education is the name of the game. The more that know, how and why, the better off we are, and the better decisions we will make. That is what this conversation thing is all about.

          • El_Sid

            The problem with the SDB is that they only get 4 in the internal bays rather than 8, not that they don’t fit at all. More of a problem is that the software to let them use SDB won’t be ready until Block 4 (so 2022??).

            However, the F-35B can take eight Brimstone or Spear in its internal bays (plus Meteors). The British have every incentive to make that work… I suspect you’re going to see the USMC and FAA converge to a large degree when it comes to equipment as well as operationally, it’s certainly quite plausible that you will see a USMC squadron operating off the Queen Elizabeth.

            To be honest it’s a pretty short-term problem, just like the thing about 2000lb bombs. In future, every NATO weapon will be designed around the internal bays of the F-35, even if that means switching to a 1800lb bomb. Manufacturers will just choose whether they want to go for the biggest bang, or whether they want to give themselves a chance of selling to the USMC, UK, Italy, Spain etc.

          • Curtis Conway

            El Sid, when the first LHA’s started deploying to the Med, the admirals and generals in these groups were trying very hard to prove that they could do just about everything a CAG in a CSG could do. Of course that is ludicrous. However, they did prove that they could generate a launch and recovery rate that every Bird Farm could only dream about, and that was with the CVN conducting FLEXDECK operations. When the initial reports came out, they were quashed by the powers that be, because the CVN Program had to be protected. In the Navy’s defense, they were absolutely right. However, the capability was also legitimate, and those same powers did not want that fact to come out. Granted, I would rather ingress on a formation knowing the CAP was an AV-8B over an F-14 Tomcat (at that time), or F-18 today, but ingressing on an ESG/CVLBG with F-35B CAP would be a whole different matter entirely . . . at least until the “Merge Plot”.

          • Curtis Conway

            Actually the half size would be in block buys like the DDGs. Really cuts costs.

          • Curtis Conway

            This is where you are absolutely wrong. A nuclear power plant layout (Land Based Test Site) as you describe does not presently exist. In fact the Light Nuclear Carrier configuration does not exist. To take current designs you allude to become reality, this activity would have to be funded, developed, and fielded. That is a $ Billion Program.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I’d have to disagree with you on that point, The S8G Nuclear-Submarine Reactor could be used with a 60,000-shp rating…

          • Curtis Conway

            The power rating capability does not put the equipment in the facility in the configuration that it will be in the vessel. Land Based Test Sites not only stress the individual components, but also test configurations over long periods of time, and under certain stress conditions. Sometimes it is configuration equipment installed in a test facility. Other times its configuration equipment in a specific test control configuration.

            We may in fact be able to do as you suggest, but development will be required, and life cycle support is also required. one does not just declare “this is what we are going to do” and show up at the shipyard with it. A huge amount of development engineering is required before raw materials are cut, or a wrench it turned.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I would think 800-feet below the surface or 2.6MPa (371.9psi). That’s equivalent to 24.8463 Atmospheres on the Surface of the Earth. I defy you to tell me, where on the surface of Earth your going to find those pressures on the open air surface. So that being said I guess that qualifies as STRESSING on a Nuclear-Reactor…

          • Curtis Conway

            Secundius, your missing the forest for the trees. There is more to an engineering configuration of a propulsion system than the reactor. I don’t care if you reactor works in orbit or on the moon. there is an electronic control and distribution system, Main Reduction Gears/Steam Turbines, Bearings (thruster and otherwise with all that entails), my goodness the list goes on. The reactor, though an essential and important part of the configuration, is NOT the only consideration. That is what LBTSs are for. To stress the system, and see how it performs over time, BEFORE the configuration has to go do it for REAL. The Reactor is probably the most capable part of the configuration at this point and is most likely the least of my worries, were we to design and build this system in an LBTS.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway

            No, Sir. Your the one Missing the Trees, because of the Forest. I was responding to a question about Nuclear Reactors on Small Carriers. And what would be the Smallest, yet powerful Size to Weight Ratio Nuclear Reactor to put on a Small Carrier. I’m not Advocating putting Nuclear Reactors on Small Carriers, I think it would be far more economical to put Larger Gas-Turbines like the LM6000 series on Small Carriers…

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Why do you keep insisting in Steam Turbines with Nuclear-Propulsion. Steam-Turbines are only needed if a Drive Shaft is used. Most Modern Nuclear-Powered Submarines, don’t have Drive Shafts. It’s power from Reactor to Electric Motors. That why there called “Nuclear-Electric Propulsion” Considering electric motors operated at a constant speed, the only thing that needs to be controlled is the Variable-Pitch of the Screw or Propulsor Drive. So, NO Steam-Boilers and NO Reduction Gears (aka Transmission). PTO’s or Power Take-Off’s to other Electric Motors can be used for Internal Power…

          • Curtis Conway

            Secundis, you keep jumping to conclusions that simply are not there. I am not insisting on any specific configuration, but there should be an LBTS to simulate and stress that configuration over time. Common configuration over many vessels provides logistics savings over time.

            If we went with a nuclear power plant, I don’t care how you drive the shafts. You can use ‘rubber bands and squirrels’ as long as we can simulate employment over time and under different conditions in an LBTS. Not sure about the duty cycle of the squirrel. That is one of the LBTS’s functions, to verify that understanding, and what causes it to change over time, if it changes. Configuration changes/improvements can be tested here as well. I would prefer to see electric motor on shaft so when the ship must go fast, we have additional electricity. However, a strategically placed GTGs can solve most of those problems, and an Integrated Power Distribution System will take that power where needed, even in damage control situations.

            I am not big on Electric Propulsion.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            The principle is no different, then a Gas-Turbine Direct Feed to a Electric Motor on Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes…

          • Curtis Conway

            When one uses a shaft, the options to drive it can line up for the job. I like Gas Turbines myself. If there is an electric motor turning a short shaft out the back, then electricity is the name of the game (period), and I understand some navies do have, and some of our submarines have had, such a system.

            A shaft connected to reduction gears, with motor on shaft (more efficient), or on MRG (less efficient) provide REDUNDANCY. In combat one must have options. Two engine rooms, and two separate drive mechanisms. Flexibility is the name of the game, provides options, and will bring you home at a higher level of probability. When at GQ with electric drive on shaft or MRG, one has more a) drive power, or b) electrical power generation. In our new Directed Energy and Railgun world that is very advantageous. I play to win with the lowest risk factor possible. With LCS the risk is so high I don’t even want to calculate it for after the first shot is fired.

            The United States Navy needs Light Carriers and an Aegis Guided Missile Frigate.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I’m not suggesting One Power Plant Usage, I’m all in favor of Redundancy. As far as Direct-Energy Weapons or Rail-Guns, High-Energy Capacitors are going to be needed to Hold and Maintain Energy Power Levels. Any deviation of power could, and probably will effect shot. Plus you have the added bonus of an Emergency Power Reserve when needed.

            In the case of Azipods or Mermaids all Transmission Gearing in Pod themselves, so NO external Transmission needed…

          • old guy

            I disagree. If you look at the pattern of ALL recent designs (DD1000, LCSs, V-22, F35, “new carrier”), you can readily determine that the main driver is NOT the changed world environment, but a continuation off the Contractor Welfare Program (CWP) and the secondary program (WDIGAR), where do I go after retirement.

          • Curtis Conway

            In every example you provided, you made my argument. The USS America (LHA-6) already exist. We should take full advantage of this platform in this more cost effective way. Some modificationbs will no boubt be made. However, that is well short of a whole new development program.

          • old guy

            I AGREE. But one must be very careful. Remember when they added sponsons to the Midway to compensate for added displacement (48 to 73K tons); made it totally useless, due to decreased roll period?

          • Curtis Conway

            Don’t I remember! Every Aviator in the US Navy who ever flew off of her was pissed. Actually made it more dangerous to do so (fly off of her in higher sea state). The USS America (LHA-6) as it, will be sufficient for the embarkation of an Expeditionary-, or Light Carrier-Air Group (EAG/LCAG). I’m a traditionalist so I’m not giving up the terms. Maintenance and support spaces will be moved around a bit, but that can be done slowly, and over time, without disrupting ship handling qualities. If anything was modified it might be in propulsion for more speed, but keeping the same configuration for ‘common’ logistics considerations is what is important for this platform. It’s maintaining presence and responding ‘if required’, not conducting combat operations on its own. If this abbreviated battle group ever did engage in combat operations in a big way, it would be an adjunct to another battle group. However, for maintaining presence in the SCS, or Med, it’s perfect. For conducting GWOT operations anywhere on the planet, it’s perfect. If I could just get that EV-22 AEW&C Osprey!

          • old guy

            1. The roll period was reduced from 20 secs. to 12 secs. Marginal to fly from. Horrible to handle A/C aboard. My team added large bilge keels to get the period up to 15 seconds and cut the scupper tubes above the bulge to prevent them from mashing when docked.
            2. I am dead set against the V-22 in any form. Stupid, Expensive concept. Gens. Krulak, Jones and Gray all opposed, but, when pressured, gave a jolly aye, aye.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Their are literally ‘hundreds” of Medium Aircraft Carrier designs, from traditional designs to the “absurd” designs. Two i like are the PFVA65 design and the RAoN Wingless class design. On the Absurd side, there’s the PLAN-CV-DFS-XDECK based on a 55,000-tons Modular Container Ship w/48 plane complement: 36xStrike, 4xAEW, 4xEW, and 4xHelicopters…

          • Curtis Conway

            Sorry! Water under the bridge. We have them and in large numbers now. My son hates them too. They are here to stay and several Allies are buying them too. Cost vs. benefit! The range/speed/capacity and VSTOL capability make it one of those game changers. Now its a tanker too. AEW&C is the only missing component for the ESG/CVLBG concept.

      • Sandy

        two “half-capable carriers” still require two crews which won’t be that much difference in size. What you forget is that you can’t do sustained combat ops with small carriers. You would need two/three small carriers with many more personnel to do the same thing one super CVN can do. The sortie ratio on the DeGaulle is a joke compared to a Nimitz-class. If you are talking about sea-control, one could also make the argument that the super CVN can cover more area than either two smaller CV’s can….

        • NavySubNuke

          I don’t know that I agree on the crew size – LHA’s have a crew of just over 1,000. The UK’s carriers are at 70K tons and will have ~1600 for crew.
          Also, there is a lot more to sea control than sortie rate.
          There is also something to be said for giving the adversary more targets to strike. Right now a single DF-21 hit will take out a super carrier, if you have two half capable carriers you need at least two missiles to take them out.

          • Sandy

            The DF-21 isn’t ready for prime time, and a THAAD can take it out. Also, you have to remember that these smaller EWG’s as I was telling Curtis are rarely accompanied by a CRU-DES asset that has sufficient anti-air capability, so, the EWG could be taken out rapidly if the enemy knows the OOB. The CVN’s are always escorted by an AEGIS cruiser and destroyer plus a sub asset. Unless you get that kind of force protection, the EWGs could be sitting ducks, much the way ARG’s are now. If you attach an AEGIS capable ship and a sub, then I agree with the concept, but that seems to never happen on “inchop” as they have different plans. GOD Bless.

          • NavySubNuke

            “The DF-21 isn’t ready for prime time, and a THAAD can take it out”
            Two interesting assumptions there – remember we are talking about a decade or more in the future not 2 – 3 years – are you sure those will still be valid? Last I check a THAAD based in Guam or Japan wouldn’t exactly help out if the carrier wasn’t close to Guam or Japan – particularly if it was closer to the launcher then the THAAD battery.
            And yes – my half capable carriers would be a replacement for the current carriers of today so they would have the same battle group protection that our current $13B carriers do.

          • Sandy

            brutha, many of the AEGIS have been back-fitted with the capability – remember they took out a satellite last year? Point is, if you think the DF is a threat, then why are we not going to have force protection assets with it? We never had a sub near us unless it was LOI configured for SPECWAR, but it usually had other tasking. If you want to have these smaller task groups, then strategy must be re-visited to have an AEGIS and a sub follow them.

          • NavySubNuke

            Ah – you mean SM-3 not THAAD. THAAD is a land based system managed by the Army.

          • Sandy

            okay, well my SWO buddies said that the AEGIS with the Block-4 (?) was the same effectiveness as the THAAD. If the two were not the same, my bust!

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            If you referring to the AN/SPY-4, it got cancelled for a upgraded AN/SPY-3 system…

          • Curtis Conway

            SM-2 Blk IV, Standard Missile with the booster and an Awesome front end. LONG range and intended for ENDO-Atmospheric intercept. This same configuration with a few upgrades is the super long range SM-6, again ENDO-Atmospheric intercept, which is the primary NIFC-CA bird.

          • Secundius

            @ NavySubNuke.

            Also Hawai’i, South Korea, UAE and Oman has and/or will have THAAD.

          • Sandy

            Well, your experience as a nuke, then we may have to make those smaller carriers into mini-CVN’s because the big deck amphibs are way too slow with their diesel and diesel-electric plants..

          • Curtis Conway

            The new standard has included at a minimum an Aegis Cruiser or Destroyer in their formations. Look at recent employments. Also in testimony before congress last week the Navy was telling congress the surface combatant Integrated Air & Missile Defense capable ship count (request) will increase to 77 units. We barely have that many units. In fact the Navy just took 5 destroyers off the conversion list for their next yard periods. The United States Navy needs Aegis Guided Missile Frigates.

          • Sandy

            nope – although they may be together at IN-CHOP, they split up because of the STATE Dept objectives given to the Fleet commander to have this ship go to this port, and this ship go to that port. I was a Fleet scheduler for SPECWAR at C6F. In concept, they are all supposed to stay together. They don’t – ala USS COLE. That is why the Fleet strategy has to be changed. As you rightly pointed out, there aren’t enough to go around, in theory. In practice, the Fleet commander should be given the autonomy to make his own decisions on peacetime engagement with respect to port visits. Heck, take some of the LCS’s and backfit them for AEGIS, or, as you said, get an AEGIS frigate.

          • Curtis Conway

            COMSIXFLT is one thing, the Western Pacific is something else and THAT is where the DF-21 is. China’s not selling it yet.

          • Sandy

            the Fleet strategy in accordance with STATE is still the same….

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy

            THAAD can be Navalized…

          • Sandy

            I think for all intents and purposes, it has with the AEGIS tweeks – and a funny story on that, one of the think tank guys was none other than Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Doobie Bros fame. Saw him on one of the military shows or it might have been DefenseNews on Sunday mornings. Have a great weekend. GOD Bless.

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            Technically, the THAAD is an Army version of the SM-3 missile which fits “neatly” into a Mk. 41 VLS…

    • PolicyWonk

      You might take note that due to the outstanding condition of the economy inherited by Obama after 8 years of GOP “management”, this nation has little choice but to determine if there are reasonable alternatives.

      Furthermore, the GOP “leadership” in the houses of representatives have flat out refused to address the problems they created under the previous administration, as listed by the CBO report on the causes of the Great Recession (granted, Obama opted to fix healthcare as his first major priority). Amongst the problems they created, were: two unfunded and incompetently managed wars; the largest corporate welfare program in history (Medicare Part D – also unfunded); and a tax break for the wealthiest Americans (also, BTW, unfunded). These items together caused a severe revenue short-fall, because they monkeyed with the economic balance that had served this nation well for many years.

      The unfortunate fact, is that the GOP inherited a nation at peace and an $800B annual budget surplus – and after 8 years left little more than total disaster in their wake (including the worst string of foreign policy/national security disasters in history; not to mention, a military at its lowest state of readiness since Viet Nam).

      Given the lack of ability to get *anything* done in the HoR, you’re now surprised the DoD is seeking alternatives? Seriously? While Obama is hardly an ideal president, the amount of damage done under the previous administration (and lack of work ethic on the part of the GOP HoR “leadership” – the worst in US history) will follow this nation around for decades to come.

      Another option that no one has the intestinal fortitude to deal with, is fixing acquisition. The US taxpayer gets (easily, and by-far) the lousiest deal for tax dollar spent in weapons acquisition. We could likely cut 30%+ off the budget, and still get everything we need, if we remove the redundancy, waste, and inefficiencies (let alone, casting off “cost-plus”).

      • sferrin

        “ou might take note that due to the outstanding condition of the economy
        inherited by Obama after 8 years of GOP “management”, this nation has
        little choice but to determine if there are reasonable alternatives.”

        I think you got that wrong. (Perfectly predictable given that you’re a self-titled “wonk”). Deficits were shrinking until a year after the Democrats took control of Congress in ’06. Then we got the drunken sailor of a President who exploded the national deficit by 70% and counting. But hey, keep blaming Bush, that’s all you’ve got.

        • PolicyWonk

          Keep blaming Bush, because its all I’ve got?

          Nice try. Keep trying to deflect blame for the incompetence of the previous administration and GOP policies – and see if it does you any good whatsoever. My opinion, on these matters, happens to coincide with the opinions of multiple years of NIE’s (the combined opinions of all 16 US National Intelligence Agencies), the Congressional Budget Office, and all of the nations on the planet, regardless of friend or foe. Oh yes – then there’s the staggering amount of evidence you’re pretending doesn’t exist.

          Hence – you’re not impressing me.

          The damage had been done long before the democrats won a tiny majority, that gave them the ability to set the agenda – and nothing else. Not enough votes to withstand either a filibuster or presidential veto.

          • sferrin

            Obama has increased the national deficit by 70%+ and counting. Yet you still blame Bush. I guess Bubba’s years of relative financial stability were really HW’s fault eh?

          • Curtis Conway

            Gentlemen . . . Gentlemen, If we EVER expect to improve our future we must look to the future. Sure we have to learn from HiStory, and there are many sides of that story/argument, and each has its own level of merit. However, our problem today is the Dragon is expanding its command over its neighbors in the South China Sea, Radical Islam across North Africa and the Middle East, and Russia’s expansion after our withdrawal from Europe . . . while we . . . ARGUE?! In our absence the World did not grow up and assume their responsibilities. We must be prepared, yet continue to grow our economy and international trade. Otherwise, this discussion is moot.

          • Sandy

            wonk, stick to the thread, not your political rants, most of which are unfounded…stick to the issue – carriers….

          • PolicyWonk

            Unfounded, except for the overwhelming evidence.

            Cheers,
            PW

          • Sandy

            your evidence…isn’t. Stick to the issue.

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            Just exactly what Overwhelming Evidence is there, because I’m not Finding It. It must be the same Overwhelming Evidence that President Ronald Reagan had on the “Marijuana” issue, and yet there was NO EVIDENCE supporting his Stance…

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            I’m in favor for Light Carrier’s, like Spanish R.11 or (SCS-75 design) class. You can get Seven for the price of One Ford class Large Carrier, And STILL be in 7 place at once…

          • Sandy

            not going to do much good unless you protect them….that’s the point.

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            If that’s the Criteria, any ship you send out is going to need protection of some kind. Or your suggesting the Lone Wolf, a ship class that is both Defensive and Offensive. Sounds like a Very Large Island with a Propulsion System, “Good Luck On That One”…

          • Sandy

            no, my point is that we need to have an AEGIS and a sub with every ARG – they are sitting ducks right now. The problem is the port visit sked which is dictated by the STATE Dept – it splits all the assets up for Peacetime Engagement. The entire strategy must be re-thought.

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            The Imperial Japanese of WW2, had the I-400 class Carrier-Submarine. That could carry 3-Strike Floatplanes, just “Tinker” with the design. Build a Boomer-sized Submarine, remove the VLMS and replace it with Hanger Deck and Ski-Jump configuration. And operate a Composite 6-F/AV-35B Strike Aircraft package. And I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t make a AEGIS/SPY radar system that couldn’t Conform with the Submarines Hull Design. Or at the very least have a Thales SMART-L Phased-Array “Jack-In-A-Box” radar system…

          • Sandy

            that would certainly be something I would want to be a part of….!!

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            Ironically the basic design for a Uber sized Submarine is out there, just acting on the design is another hurdle to contend with…

          • Curtis Conway

            Sandy, if you check the most recent ARG deployments I think you will find that your requirement is already met.

          • Sandy

            brutha, as I said in my other post to you, they split on in-chop….been there, done that. Back in 93, we were supposed to be the ffirst battle group that had a carrier, AEGIS CRU-DES, Amphibs, etc, and the concept was to be together. On inchop, as I predicted (and I was really pissed at my XO who was our Task Group CDR – he said we would never be separated – BS) the Carrier (USS AMERICA) went one way, and we (the ARG) went another. We were the first ARG on-scene after the BLACKHAWK DOWN debacle – AMERICA didn’t show up for a month and a half. We had 4 harriers for CAS and an AC-130 at night (which we didn’t need.) This issue is, Fleet Strategy. The guys in DC will say one thing, but the Fleet realities dictate otherwise.

          • Sandy

            Perhaps, but they are too slow.

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            Nobody said you had to use the same propulsion system. You could use Jet-Pumps instead of Screws, and replace the LM2500 Gas-Turbines with LM6000 Gas-Turbines at twice the Shaft-Horsepower Rating…

          • Sandy

            yep…but you will have a hard time selling that as “the need for these guys to speed” will only be in a contingency as most time they will be doing “gator squares” at under 10 knots…the CVN routinely because of airops is traveling quite a bit faster routinely than a Big Deck Amphib can do at top speed currently. Will they make that expense? It is a good discussion point.

          • old guy

            Unacceptable, partisan silliness. I am a Ross Perot independent and I find All such talk from either set of partisans, not only offensive, but also, generally, ignorant. For a small, off-topic comment, I suggest all review the possible candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson and Ms.Carly Fiorina. ‘Nuff said, back to carriers.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            What are your thoughts about a Stirling Steam Engine, Engineless Underwater Jet Propulsion System on Aircraft Carriers…

          • old guy

            I like Stirling cycle engines and have seen one for submarine use. I have a friend, who is an engine expert, who believes the following (Pure Copycat):
            1. More complex than turbines.
            2. As complex as internal combustion
            3. As quiet as turbines. Quieter than internal combustion
            4. Not as efficient as diesel. More than turbines
            5. Cumbersome in large sizes
            6. Not as developed as other types
            7. Best for stationary applications.
            I defer to him on most propulsion matters. In 1956 I helped develop an underwater ramjet, with no moving parts, that was efficient, noisy and abandoned.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            How about replacing the Single Variable-Pitch Screw-Shaft and replace it with either a Mermaid or Paired Pump-Water Jets. Coupled to either a Pair of LM2500+G4 (CF6-50) Turbofan Gas-Turbines @ 47,370lbf or LM6000 (CF6-80C2) Turbofan Gas-Turbines @ 54,610lbf on the R.11 Principe de Asturias (SCS-75) class Light Aircraft Carrier’s, to bring her up to speed of ~31 to 33-knots…

          • old guy

            Water jets, even 2speed, 2stage ones are not as efficient as propellers; ducting and podding the props could be an advantage. We used such a unit on the SES200A which made 80 knots, but it could not match the Semi-Submerged, Supercavitating, Contollable, Reversible propellers on the SES100B, which did 96+Knots. The entry in the Guinness Book of World Records of the “World’s Fastest Warship, only shows the unclassified speed of 80 knots.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Norway, is building a SWATH design capable of 80-knots. Using an “Archimedes Screw” Drive for propulsion…

          • old guy

            I doubt it. SWATHs, like displacement hulls have a drag divergent speed of about 25 knots. Archimedes screws, like the system in “Hunt for Red October” has very great wetted area drag loss (the entire duct and screw). Bill Ellsworth, the Navy developer, pictured SWATHs at about 30-35 KNOTS. If you can, get a copy of, The Domain of Surface Effect Ships”, a SNAME paper dated 1975. It has the optimal speeds for most hull forms.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            The one used it in the movie, “The Hunt For Red October” was a Caterpillar Drive/MHD Propulsor (ManetoHydroDynamic) Propulsion System, not an “Archimedes Screw”. First developed by then Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Steward Way at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1965. The Japanese developed one called Yamato 1 in 1992, but never can close too the speed in the Tom Clancy Movie. The highest speed they recorded, was ~9-knots…

          • old guy

            Gotcha. The movie DID use a magnetohydrodynamic drive, but the BOOK used a screw. Clancy (who got his technical skinny from my friend, Norm Pohlmar) thought the MHD idea was more glamorous, but water (even salt) is not conductive enough to induce usable thrust. I had a man in Newport Lab who made an MHD pump for NaK cooling, for use in reactors (more if you want details). The DOD gave Bell 25 meg in pork, to develop one for water. I fought the project, but lost. No output. Yamato, which I saw on a visit, actually only made ~5 KTS.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            No, no. The Movie used both propulsion drives. The Soviet Submarine “Red October”, was an Experimental Hybrid Boomer. Her Primary propulsion system were Screw Driven, She was was suppose to an Operational Test Bed for the MHD Propulsion System. To prove the Merit and Value of the MHD Design. To be incorporated into any and all future Soviet Designs, when the MHD Drive proved to be Feasible and Practicable…

          • old guy

            MHD is an old concept. It is used to pump liquid Sodium-Potassium (NaK) coolant in some reactors. It requires VERY low resistance in the material to function efficiently.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            I read somewhere that only 9-knots was achieved, I just assumed it was the Japanese Yamato 1 Project. If there was a later Project, I haven’t read anything about it. I guess I’ll just to loose myself in the “ETHER”…

          • Navyjag907

            This is fascinating. Thx.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            There’s this Portable Self-Contained Non-Networked, Sunpower Radiance 160-watt Stirling Steam-Engine Generator Il like to get. Claims are it can operated in a 24-hour day, on a little as 1-Teaspoon of JP-8 Fuel…

          • old guy

            That’s about 1/5 hp. probably a single cylinder toy or demonstrator. You may not believe this, but about 1956, I designed a 11 million cu. ft. nuclear dirigible, called “Old Ionsides”(get it?) for a program called “Project Farside” meant to replace the dew line.It used the core of the GE AC110 to generate steam for the turbine propulsion. I remembered when I responded to you that my propulsion man looked at, but rejected the Stirling cycle engine in favor of the steam turbine, with recaptured water.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Nothing about the Military Surprises me anymore, you know “Square Peg, Into Round Hole” mentality. Considering DARPA, is actually studying the feasibility of a HeliCarrier concept from the Marvel Comic Book’s S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Avengers. How Crazy is Crazy…

          • old guy

            The first C.O. of ARPA, as it it was called, was a Colonel, whose name I have forgotten. We lived in Towson, Md. in 1956 and spoke of his objective of developing an advanced artillery system. He was a very affable and savvy gentleman. I believe the system that they eventually came up with was the “Sergeant York”, a 120 ton, 2 piece, 180MM cannon. Wiser heads prevailed and it was killed.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            I remember reading a book, that talked about Germany’s contribution to ending the Second World War early. About Adolph Hitler’s obsession with Railroad Artillery Guns. Like the Schwerer Gustav Gun 80cm (31.5-inch) gun, that required a crew of 1,200 and had a Major General as Gun Captain. Best rate of fire achieved was 4-round/day…

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            The only reason why President George W. Bush, Jr. and the Republican GOP are getting blamed. Is because it’s part of the National Record and International Record. The information is on Print, Video, and the Either of the Internet. Burying your Head In the Sand or Ignoring It , doesn’t Magically make it go away…

    • 2IDSGT

      Question is: Are we more broke now than we were back then?

      Anyone with half a brain knows that light/medium carriers can’t come close to matching the supercarrier’s efficiency (the relationship between capability and size is nonlinear). That’s why the idea went nowhere in the 1970s, and that’s why the UK went with huge QEs instead of a smallish design like Italy’s Cavour.

      CVNs simply offer bigger bang for the buck.

      That said, if you simply don’t have the bucks for a supercarrier, then you’ll just have to build what you can. It isn’t a matter of building two 50,000 ton ships instead of a single 100,000 ton Ford-class (they would cost more and do less BTW); it’s a matter of building whatever we can afford instead of CVNs.

      In other words, we might eventually see the USS Carl Vinson replaced by a much smaller vessel out of sheer poverty, so it makes sense to study the concept now.

      • Ctrot

        Yes we are more broke now than then, but why? The reason we are broke is because of the ever growing, out of control, Welfare State. We have at least 80 federal, means tested, hand out programs that total over One Trillion Dollars a year. Every year, and growing. Meanwhile we whine that we can’t afford a strong defense.

        We can afford a strong defense, what we can’t afford is the democrat party vote buying welfare state ponzi scheme.

      • Sandy

        We are also forgetting about manning two ships instead of one – huge cost savings manning only one BIG ship vice two smaller ones.

        • Curtis Conway

          Manning on a Light Carrier will be in the vicinity, but most likely less than 2,000 with the Expeditionary Airwing. Manning on two USS America (LHA-6) configured for light carrier operations will be less than that of even the new super carrier.

          The fundamental that is being missed here is the Light Carrier is not designed to, or is ever intended to, conduct Combat Operations, but can certainly augment them in a pinch. That augmentation will be much more meaningful than having a current LHA/LHD. It provides a Proactive Presence more consequential and threatening than an Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG). When the Expeditionary Airwing flexes its muscles, and 18-20 F-35Bs is nothing to sneeze at and/or certainly cannot be ignored, the threatening belligerent KNOWS Big Brother (CVN) is coming.

    • James Bowen

      There is no reason a large number of small carriers should be a weak option. See my post above.

    • Sandy

      yes, and now, everyone is crowing about “manning costs”…so we want to man/train/equip two crews vice one? The latter probably will cut the manning by 1/3.

    • WILDCATF4F

      I need to point out that this has been going on for 150-175 years, and that the need to rebuild has generally seen us have to go to war to get our forces up to ware they need to be, just to see the first DEMMOCOMMIE to take office want to cut the Military to “Balance the Budget”!, as if doing that will ever have a chance to do anything but tell those that do not like us, they can attack and have a chance to get away due to our not being able to respond in a timely fashion!.
      So that tells the U.S.A. that it is time to enforce the ‘Riders’ that were a part of the U.S. Air Force being formed in 1947, and I want EVERY one of you that think I am out of it to look into it, and when you read things you wopuld never have seen, I do not want a ” Your Right “, What I want you to do is get involved in the Political Spectrum, and help to put an end to this once and for all!.
      LOCK & LOAD!!!

      • Secundius

        @ WILDCATF4F.

        What I can remember of “Salinas Scrammbler’s”, they did more HARM, then GOOD…

        • WILDCATF4F

          And that is what we end up with every time the American citizens allow things to be cut, when they are not at any time aware of just what is being said needs cut, Nor are for the most part, ever aware just how much is at first suggested, nor do they ever know the final end product, so 25-30 years later, the Children that find a very BAD situation facing them in the eye, and never get an answer as to WHY they are at risk, when it was those in the days of their parents day, that cut the Military and did who knows what with the ‘Savings’.
          Now we are in the start of the next cycle, and the children who right now are too young to know anything more than they have a wet/messy diaper and they are Hungry!.
          In 25-30 years, they will be those facing a Military threat of such proportions, they will ask the bare bones staff to rebuild and re staff what will protect them, and know that there will be those ready to cut & spend on nothing of value, but those few will be counting large bank accts as the next disaster takes place.
          LOCK & LOAD!!!

  • Curtis Conway

    A new long range ASW weapon for the new National Patrol Frigate would be the same ASROC weapon with the winged package thats on the P-8A high altitude drop weapon, and just place a booster on it and send it off in a near horizontal launch in the direction of the threat. The guidance package will do the rest. The launcher would look a lot like the current Harpoon configuration.

    • El_Sid

      Trouble is that these days I doubt you’ll see much US development for any ship-launched weapon that doesn’t fit Mk41 – I can’t see Harpoon going much further for instance. And VL-ASROC is a big weapon, it needs strike-length Mk41, so it’s not going to fit on many smaller combatants. However, that is a perfect opportunity to be a bit intelligent and look around to see what’s on the shelf in allied inventories. You could also argue that it would help NATO’s strength overall if the US was prepared to buy a few items from companies such as MBDA. It would also help keep the likes of Lockheed & Boeing a bit more honest if they had some genuine competition rather than “we were always going to buy KC-46 anyway….”

      If you’re going for the distributed lethality thing, then you will have to look at weapons that can be bolted on to gators and the like. They’ve already played with NSM, but an interesting option would be Otomat because you could use the same launchers etc for Milas. Perhaps Milas could be adapted to work with HAAWC? I doubt you could adapt Harpoon directly – Otomat is a similar size to Harpoon but Milas is fatter (46cm) and nearly 50% longer (6m) than Otomat.

      • Curtis Conway

        The comment about amphibs is right on. If the CNO is serious about ‘if you’re in the formation you’re a shooter’, than a topside bolt-on makes more sense. VLS mods and plumbing is just too hard a mod for some platforms, takes up time, and costs more. A topside mount for perpendicular launch from the hull makes sense, but could launch in any direction (i.e., 45 deg. angle). It’s not good for stealth, but is good for rapid installation and deployment. One school and maintenance train just like Mk 15 CIWS. The Mk 72 Rocket Booster will give it plenty of altitude (potential energy) so it can glide to a target at a considerable range. This may actually go on some of the cruisers and destroyers in the Mk 41 Strike Length cells. All we have to do is program it into the existing configuration, and get it high enough to get to the target. It should not cost more than a few million over what is already programed into the program. Federal contractors simply must do the ‘right thing’ in this austere economic environment, not just rape the taxpayers. Time for sacrifice on everyone’s part. Boeing antied up in the KC-46 Program, but everybody else is on the take. Isn’t it interesting that all the sudden the DoD is paying attention to Ballistic Missile Proliferation as we introduce a new surface combatant that has NO DEFENSE against it, or can act to counter it, and five (5) Integrated Air & Missile Defense modification packages are truncated from destroyer yard periods. Doesn’t make sense. Either it’s a real threat or not, and if it is, then how should we act?

  • sferrin

    $10,000 says all the “studies” are “how can we justify ditching carriers” rather than “how can we build 100,000 ton CVNs more economically”.

    • NavySubNuke

      Actually the study is more like “can we build an effective carrier that is optimized for sea control, has a much smaller crew, and costs <13B a piece so we can build more of them"

      • sferrin

        No matter how cheap it is they will never increase the number of supercarriers in service beyond what we have now. And it will only go down. The current administration (and it’s likely successor) cares less than nothing when it comes to the US’s industrial based and effectiveness.

        • NavySubNuke

          The whole point of the exercise is to see if we can build a carrier that is effective enough that we don’t need super carriers so of course we wouldn’t have more super carriers if this study found a better way to do things. There is more to the US industrial base and effectiveness then super carriers. The only people who have to worry about this study are the folks at Newport News since right now they have a monopoly on super carrier construction.
          The idea is to figure out if the age of the super carrier is over is before we lose thousands of American lives in a Pearl Harbor style attack that proved beyond any doubt that the age of the battle ship is over.

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  • Don’t we have that already, it’s called an LHA and LHD. If they want smaller regional carriers, maybe the format of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as a format for smaller regional carriers. Though I think maybe we can enlarge the LHA/LHD force into a Light Carrier Battle Group with F-35B’s V-22’s and having one Burke DDG and a LCS/SS/FF as providing multi level protection.

    • Curtis Conway

      Like the idea, but the fly in the ointment is the LCS/SSC/FF is not an FFG. The new up-gunned LCS cannot even Escort well because it has no real AAW capability. The SEARam, all the 30mm, and the 57mm do not an AAW vessel make. It doesn’t even have the right radar. The navy is moving into the NIFC-CA environment and hamstringing the force. One wonders why? A technological edge is only an edge if you use it.

      • That’s why I would put the LCS in the PC and MCM force. I would build up a Frigate based off the USCG’s National Security Cutter design. The other is make a deal with Japan on building the Akizuki-class destroyer, which are Mini Burkes that can protect the Light carrier battle group

  • Let’s see what the Peoples Republic of China’a Army Navy comes up with. Maybe we can steal some of their ideas, oh yea, their new carrier will be a copy of ours just like their DDG’s look like our Burkes. Put a single nuke plant in an LHA (America class), an angle deck, new elctro mag. cats, and whalla a mini CVL(N). Of course you have to consider the escorts that would make up this “Battle Group Light”. An after thought, for back up might make build it with electric drive (pods) and a set of diesels would be the back up for the nuke plant. The bigger question is do we really need more carriers or do we need more destroyers or our destroyer cruiser Zumwault. A ship of some sort configured to carry a lot of missile cells might work, or we can go on and on and say the heck with it all and put drones on a tanker hull built to civilian specs with a deck to fly drones. Yea that is the motto “bring on the drones and leave the clowns in Washington.” MMCS(SW)(SS) USN Ret.

  • Strategic Planner

    Three Points: 1. The current CVN CVW is about two squadrons short of capacity because we can only afford a total of 850 tactical aircraft (PAA) for both Navy and Marine Corps. By 2025, the CVW will consist of 20 F-35C, 12 F/A-18E, 12 F/A-18F, 6 EA-18G, 4 E-2D, 6 MH-60R, and 1 UV-22 (COD). Compare this to the 1988 TR CVW of 24 F-14A, 12 A-6E, 24 A-7E, 6 EA-6B, 10 S-3A, 5 E-2C, 1 C-2A (COD) and 4 SH-60F. Today’s CVW is a more effective strike machine even in reduced numbers because it delivers nearly 100% precision weapons vs about 10% precision weapons and the mean maintenance hours/ flight hour averages less than 20 vice greater than 20 in 1988. The latest AIM-120D and F-35C or F/A-18E/F with A-ESA radar approaches F-14A/ AIM-54C capability again.

    2. A perfectly good question is whether a 100,000 ton CVN makes sense when the air wing is this small, the most adverse wind over deck requirement is less than 25 Knots, and the maximum speed in SS-3 is less than 25 knots due to wet elevators! Would not a 80,000 ton CVN make more sense?

    2. The USMC F-35C’s are in addition to the F-35B’s. Not a replacement for them. The total DON F-35 B/C procurement is still 640. The decision for the USMC to operate F-35C was intended to maintain NAVY-MARINE CORPS TACAIR integration in the CVW.

    • Strategic Planner

      The MMH/FH average in 1988 was greater than 50. Sorry for the error.

  • Ford Prefect

    On a related note… Always wondered about an F-35 B/C hybrid… B model but with the C model’s nose gear and structure to allow catapult launches at max weight. Usually recovery is at a lower weight and vertical landing wouldn’t be an issue and no need of arresting gear. Might also allow you to fly missions when weather is below arrested recovery minimums. AND, with EMALS, and no steam piping, one wonders if you couldn’t install one or two EMAL cats on the big amphibs and get the benefit of high gross weight launches and conventional vertical recovery? It even brings to mind those seaplane catapults on the old BBs… catapult launch, water landing & recover… i.e. the innovation is simply the addition of an ability to use catapult launch. Cheers.

  • John King

    Nice discussion going on here, but Nicky wins the prize for most original thinking – leave main CVN battle group at home in ready state and use forward deployed big deck amphibs for regional presence. However, I’d save money by simply FORCING our allies and partners to stand in that role as big deck amphibs. Require Brits, French, Italians, Japanese, South Koreans to fill that space (not U.S.) in a unified deployment concept. Time for then to pay up with either real money or real assets. Otherwise, we should stop subsidizing their security needs. These are all wealthy countries and need to stand up for themselves. For example, Singapore is very wealthy and should pay for one of our big deck amphibs to patrol in their neighborhood.

    • El_Sid

      Singapore is wealthy per capita but it’s only got 1.7% of the US population – and 1.8% of the GDP. It’s roughly the equivalent of Colorado on both counts.

      Then think what 1.8% of the USN looks like.

  • James Bowen

    We need to go with smaller carriers and more of them. These very large carriers are too important of targets. A loss of just one would constitute a severe loss and detriment to the capabilities of the U.S. Navy. It is not known how they would hold up under concentrated air/missile attack (especially with the new threat of anti-ship ballistic missiles), and there is little doubt that they are extremely vulnerable to submarines. I see no reason why we could not deploy a fleet of 35-40 nuclear powered carriers of about 40,000 tons that carry some 30 high-performance aircraft each. That would allow for the traditional high-end capabilities of U.S. Naval Aviation to be maintained, would make for less-tempting targets, and the loss of one would be more easily absorbed by the rest of the fleet with a far less catastrophic loss of air power.

    Our ships, while they must be capable and survivable, also must be to some degree expendable. The Nimitz and Ford class carriers certainly do not meet that characteristic.

    One more thing–carriers have other functions besides power projection. Those functions include sea control and air superiority–both of which I would say are more important than power projection. We really need to get out of the power projection tunnel vision and consider that power projection is only a luxury that is bought with the successful accomplishment of the more fundamental Naval missions.

  • Cyril McDermott

    Study upon study upon study will produce the same conclusions. Forty years of studies have not produced anything more revolutionary than an island structure with a smaller radar signature. Improvements in components such as catapult/arresting gear, electronics, and such would be forthcoming no matter what size hull is used. One thing I haven’t heard anyone mention is using the ski-jump on an America-class (LHA-6), allowing the use of F-35B or C. Is it just so unacceptable, so aesthetically displeasing?

    • El_Sid

      It’s more a matter of fleet design. The US has big-deck carriers so the LHAs are dedicated to vertical lift with a secondary role in operating fixed-wing. The UK, Italy etc have STOVL aircraft as their main fast jets, so their main carriers (which happen to be ~LHA sized) prioritise getting the most out of their fast jets, with vertical lift as a secondary requirement.

      If your primary requirement is vertical lift, then all a skijump does is reduce the capability to do vertical lift. It’s not just the physical space taken up by the skijump, moving to rolling takeoffs cuts down the amount of parking space over the whole carrier, and that bit of the deck next to the ski jump becomes rather cut off from the rest of the ship, so it becomes a lot less useful unless you eg dedicate it to AEW helicopters or something. The space problem is much more acute for the USN which is landing much bigger aircraft like CH-53/V-22 – they can’t use all the spots on an LHA as it is, and a ski jump would constrain them even more.

      But when people talk of a low-cost smaller carrier for the USN, a ski-jump LHA is an obvious cheap option.

      • Sandy

        just an observation, but the harriers and the F-35 won’t need the jump as they do take-offs from the full length of the deck so as to carry more gas and ordnance.

        • El_Sid

          Trouble is that kills your sortie generation rates, because using more deck for takeoff means less room for parking. The skijump can halve your takeoff distance, which is why QEC have one, despite being 75′ longer than LHA-6.

          • Sandy

            Sid, talking to a coupla my Marine aviator buddies, the problem with the ski jump is weight, especially the load on the front gear that doesn’t allow for a lot of ordnance when it hits the ramp – too much load on it – one of the reasons they rejected the ski-jump in favor of the full length T/O with heavier loads – this is certainly not my expertise, just what they told me. Wish there was someway to reconfigure an A-10 for these decks!

          • Secundius

            @ Sandy.

            The best way to do it, is launch on Empty and do a Texico with a KCV-22C Osprey…

          • El_Sid

            Don’t know if there’s something about AV-8B’s that is different to Harriers from all other operators then. Do the USMC have any ordnance as heavy as the old Sea Eagle? Don’t think so. The British Harriers had some issues with power before the Pegasus 107 engine, but they were OK after that.

            The USMC are the only V/STOL operators without a ski jump. It feels like an excuse for FJ pilots who don’t like to admit that they take second-place to helicopters in the USMC, whereas for other operators Harriers are primary aircraft. There’s other examples of this – the USMC would rather ditch ordnance and land vertically than do a SRVL rolling landing like the British, in order to fit in better with helicopters. They are now looking at it for the F-35B though, it significantly increases your bringback weight.

            People get understandably romantic about the A-10, but the military reality is that even in 1991 they were mostly used as high-altitude missile platforms because the ground environment was considered too dangerous for them. So if you’re going to do that, you might as well take the pilot out and have a drone that can loiter for much longer with a couple of missiles.

          • Sandy

            Brutha, not being an aviator, I am only telling you what my colleagues said – the weight on the front gear is not worth the reduced deck space for horizontal T/O. Apparently, also, they haven’t fixed the problem with the engine thrust in V/STOL landing as it is still too hot. They had a similar problem with the V-22 – lit a field on fire..LOL, but they backfitted a diffuser for the exhaust. I respectfully disagree with you on the A-10 – it is the only aircraft survivable down in the weeds. I saw a bunch of them shot-up by 23mm and small arms and kept on ticking. That 30mm has saved thousands of lives, and, it sends the bad guys running. The F-35 is totally un-survivable down low – it doesn’t have the armor or the redundancy to take hits. We have only one recorded case (that I know of) of a drone doing CAS, and that was on Robert’s Ridge in AFG. I would not want to be the guy calling all the way back to the states for an operator to put a Hellfire on a CAS point. The man in the aircraft, especially the great FACs we have, can literally talk ordnance on target from the air with a kid who is not a TACP. Marines and the A-10 guys are amazing at this. Anyway, have a great weekend. GOD Bless

          • Secundius

            @ El_Sid.

            The SeaEagle, weigh’s ~1,280-pounds. While BLU-109 JDAM, weigh’s ~2,000-pounds. The AV-8B+, Pegasus 11-61/Mk.107 engine produced ~26,000-lbf, while the F/AV-35B’s engine produces 43,000lbf standard, and 50,000lbf maximum. Also the F/AV-35B can supercruise at Mach 1.2 for ~150-miles, the AV-8B+ can’t supercruise…

  • Casey Orndorf

    Hasn’t this been discussed ad nauseam in Proceedings?

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  • Rocket J.

    Too bad!! Usa, Russian, China, whoever!! We have the best fighter, best tank, best nukes… Politics, National Pride, All Bullshit!! We all die because of it!! Man cannot rule Man!! If USA took out Russia, the fallout would come around and wipe it out, same thing for Russia or China or whoever.. If we all keep going this way, there will no alternative but to attack each other.. Ground based, aIr based, sea based, spaced based.. Dosent matter.. No one country on Earth can rule the world!!! Not by Man anyway!!! Think about it..

  • Secundius

    Well I did read somewhere that DARPA was doing a Feasibility Study on a “HeliCarrier”, like S.H.I.E.L.D. used in the Marvel Comic Book :The Avengers”. Your Tax Dollar’s at work. Sort of reminds me of that FDA’s “Egg and Frying Pan” Drug’s Commercial…

  • mrbinga

    Uhh… Not this discussion again. This is one of those topics that always comes up from time to time, and the simple fact of the matter is that the cost savings just don’t exist for a multitude of reasons and in any respect there are very good practical reasons why U.S. aircraft carrier dimensions have more or less stayed the same since the Forrestal class in the early 1950s. One of the big reasons is that regardless of the physical size of a carrier the number of escort vessels required stays the same. The only realistic way to lower the price tag of carriers would be if the U.S. still had a viable domestic shipbuilding industry, wherein several different shipyards could bid for a contract. In 1950s the U.S. still had at minimum 3 shipyards capable of building aircraft carriers, presently there’s only one.

    If anybody here is actually interested in this issue two excellent places to start would be Norman Friedman’s “U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History” and Norman Polar’s “Aircraft Carriers: A Histroy of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events: Vol II”

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  • I read a lot of this and that, numbers, sizes, weights, and the like being thrown around but back to the story and a response. My expert opinion, for what it is worth:

    1. Go nuke/electric – cheaper, no turbines, reduction gear, etc. could have a single plant with back up fueled generators, also used for surge electrical power.
    1a. Two screws not four.
    2. Arm the light carrier with defensive weapons that have some clout. Less escorts. Maybe a mini ageis system.
    3. Armored box for nuke plant and magazines, but commercial standards for less of vessel. Did it before, Light carriers, merchant hulls, during WW2.
    4. What ever, about 30 plus knots –
    5. Command and control – existing DDG systems with additional aircraft control system.
    6. Cats and arresting gear – Ford class stuff. By time new carrier is built the bugs will be worked.
    7. Maybe a skip deck and get rid of cats. Could then use F18’s plus F35’s.
    8. By the time ship is built – Drones, drones, drones, could include a drone EWAC drone.
    9. Thing out of the box. There are existing commercial hulls with #3 added that could work.
    10. Manning less with automation.
    11. Standardizing – by in lots.
    12. USN design not contractors.
    13. No gold plate – room for large staff, etc., only one mess deck and galley

    The above are some shot gun brain storming ideas based on my knowledge and history. Sorry I have not done this and that or been involved with more than being a sailor with couple of years (23 plus) naval service.

    Got to it people rip me a new BH.

    MMCS(SW)(SS) USN Ret.

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