Home » Aviation » USS America Leadership Look To Aircraft Carriers For Inspiration On Leveraging Aviation-Centric Design


USS America Leadership Look To Aircraft Carriers For Inspiration On Leveraging Aviation-Centric Design

The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), left, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) are underway in formation during a simulated straits transit on June 5, 2017. US Navy photo.

As the first-in-class USS America (LHA-6) begins operations on its first major overseas deployment, leadership has a good understanding of the basics of operating this new type of ship – an amphibious assault ship without a well deck – but also a lot of room to learn how to maximize the new capability it brings to the fleet.

Col. Joseph “J.R.” Clearfield, commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked aboard America, told USNI News earlier this year that the Marines and their Navy counterparts would experiment with several different loadouts of equipment on the three-ship Amphibious Ready Group – America, amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD-22) and dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52) – to validate what does and doesn’t help the warfighters meet their missions.

Clearfield told USNI News on Tuesday, aboard America while transiting from California to Hawaii, that leadership found they had a lot of good options despite lacking a well deck.

“The LHA-6 was well wargamed out and there were several [memos] that came out about operational considerations. There were a whole series of them about what the ship, what it’s capabilities were and what it’s limitations were,” Clearfield said.
“I think they were pretty much spot on with the hangar bay being bigger and what we could unfold in it, with more fuel capacity, with you may need to rely more on heavy lift helicopters because there were no surface connectors. … I think all [pre-deployment training program] did was sort of validate that. So we had good operational considerations coming in, we went at it that way, and then during the workup all those operational considerations got validated.”

Capt. Rome Ruiz, commander of Amphibious Squadron 3, who took command partway through the pre-deployment workup, said the aviation-centric nature of the ship, as well as the advanced command, control, computers, communication and intelligence (C4I) capabilities on the ship, create a lot of flexibility for the operators. He said there was still much to learn about operating this type of amphib and that he and his team were looking to the Navy’s aircraft carriers for inspiration.

USS San Diego (LPD-22) steams behind the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6). US Navy Photo

“Given the robust communications and intelligence capability of this ship, and being able to be networked, this ship – when you think about dominating the maritime battlespace, you start looking at projecting power, maritime security, those type of things, very similar types of stuff when you look at our aircraft carrier capability – so there’s some things we can learn from how they do operations that we can even leverage to be, whether it be more effective or more efficient, and one of those is the composite warfare command concept,” Ruiz said, referring to the command and control relationship between the at-sea force and the landing force within an Amphibious Ready Group.
“What really comes to concern is the defense of the amphibious task force, given that the threat environment is starting to get a lot more capable and a lot more bold. So how do we defend ourselves to ensure we can continue to project power and continue to do maritime security operations and to continue to maintain maritime dominance in the battlespace?

“What we’ve been doing, or what we’ve been learning, is how do we work better together, even when we’re disaggregated; how do we maintain our combat power when we’re miles and miles away. And a lot of that has to do with the capability of the aircraft, being able to have long legs to be able to do deep strikes if that’s necessary, to communicate; there’s all kinds of packages we can do from an aviation-centric standpoint,” Ruiz continued.
“So I guess what I’m getting at is, we’re at really a journey of discovery here with opening up and kind of uncorking what we can really maximize with this capability, and it’s also making us think differently about how we use the ships, whether it’s the LSD and using her in a different way, with helicopters or aircraft or whatnot. So it really again goes back to maximizing flexibility to get us where we want to be.”

A pair of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161 (reinforced), provides air support to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during a simulated straits transit as part of Certification Exercise (CERTEX). on June 5, 2017.US Navy photo.

That the leadership team is focused on maximizing the new potential this ship brings, instead of looking at how to compensate for the lack of a well deck, is important given the conversations around the future of the Navy fleet. America will be just one of two amphibious assault ships of its configuration – Tripoli (LHA-7) will be built with the same design, but Bougainville (LHA-8) will have a small well deck reinserted into the design, with some aviation capability and some medical spaces sacrificed to reach a compromise design.

However, there are many supporters of the idea of using America as a launching point for a “light carrier” idea. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis included the America-based concept in its Future Fleet Architecture study delivered to the Navy earlier this year, and the Senate Armed Services Committee in its Fiscal Year 2018 defense bill sets aside $30 million for the Navy to conduct a preliminary design effort. The light carrier would add a catapult or two to the America-class’s straight flight deck to allow for larger fixed-wing aircraft, such as the Navy’s E2-D Advanced Hawkeye command and control plane, to operate as part of the ARG/MEU.

Though the light carrier concept is still a notional one, the ARG is set for near-term advances in capability and therefore changes in how it can operate. Once F-35B Joint Strike Fighters begin deploying aboard amphibious assault ships, that plane’s sensing and computing power, plus the long legs of the MV-22 Osprey, the heavy lift capability of the CH-53E today and CH-53K in a couple years, and the C4I power on the ship, would create a powerful combination that goes beyond traditional amphibious operations. The efforts by the America ARG, 15th MEU and PHIBRON 3 during this first deployment are sure to shape future efforts to leverage America’s high-end capabilities.

Ruiz said he doesn’t feel the ARG/MEU team is giving up anything by not having well deck space on the big-deck ship: “we can go in closer to shore to do things, and we can stay far our from shore and do things. And we can do it fast through the Ospreys and the (AV-8B) Harriers, or we can do it a little slower but with more lift with our helos. Three’s just so many options, we’ve got a menu of options to do to get after whatever we’re tasked to do.”

Clearfield agreed that this new ship doesn’t take away from his ability to move Marines ashore but rather provides “tailorability and flexibility; you can reconfigure to accomplish the mission.”

The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) conduct a replenishment-at-sea with fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) on July 8, 2017, the day after leaving San Diego for America’s first deployment overseas. US Navy photo.

Capt. Joe Olson, America commanding officer, also played down the notion that anything was being lost by not having a well deck, saying that his ship was still able to conduct all the missions the Navy asked of it, such as contributing to battlespace awareness, while supporting the Marines.

“Just because we’re relying heavily on aviation, I think we still have the ability to do a lot of mission-essential tasks that the Navy puts out there for us to do as we operate over the horizon, if you will, all over the world,” Olson said.
“So while the ship is aviation-centric, there’s still plenty of other things we do onboard the ship to support all the Navy missions, plus the Marine Corps missions. We just happen to not have a well deck.”

The America ARG departed San Diego on July 7 and is expected to operate in the Pacific, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa during its first operational deployment overseas. The ship, which commissioned in October 2014, participated in last year’s Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii as a lead-up to deploying this year.

  • Curtis Conway

    If we can afford our Amphibious Assault Ships, then we can afford to configure half of them like LHA-6 without well decks possessing more extensive aviation support (greater AIMD and hangar space for F-35Bs). The ship already exist and LHA-6 is on deployment. The USMC has already conducted a large F-35B Lightning II experiment in exercises off of California. The only thing missing for this little Lightning Carrier Battle Group is a VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft. It is much cheaper to develop THAT one aircraft, which would revolutionize Naval War At Sea with its ability to operate off of ‘any helo flight deck’, as it unlocks the potential of the Lightning Carrier Battle Groups, and brings NIFC-CA into the fleet operating off of any flight deck in the fleet. This option is far cheaper, faster, and easier to do, than developing a whole new light carrier with all the non-recurring engineering cost and added development time. The Military Industrial Complex will love this new light carrier concept due to all the money spent on development of this new design. However, we can get more ships at sea, and provide greater lethality to the fleet investing in the VSTOL /STOVL AEW&C aircraft with NIFC-CA capability.

    At present we are trying to build the fleet quickly (relatively speaking) over the next decade, and the new (existing) Lightning Carriers (circa LHA-6/7) with a new VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft, would get us miles down the road toward that end in much less time/cost. This new VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft will provide greater capability Fleet Wide.

    Additionally, this new airborne AEW&C asset may have a gadget(s) that take advantage of new [multi-spectral] technologies perhaps in a different part of the EM Spectrum providing greater capability/flexibility in combat operations. With this new transformational platform operating off of any flight deck in the combat area, in waters deep enough to support LHA operations or not, will prove to be a game-changing capability for the US Navy. This new AEW&C asset, not being a weapons platform but possessing NIFC-CA, will provide a fundamental change in force planning and operational flexibility not only at sea, but ashore as well.

    The US Navy can adopt the F-35B Lightning II JSF in Reserve Squadrons, and move forward with Lightning Carrier production. Alternating these aviation-centric amphibious assault ships ‘without a well deck’ beyond LHA-8 forward, building them in separate and/or dedicated yards until we have six total non-well-deck units would be the goal, and support our national strategic shipbuilding capability. Greater Amphibious Vehicle Lift can be scheduled into the new LX(R) and MLPs if required. The new Reserve F-35B Lightning II Squadrons will be able to exercise with our new VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft and provide this capability ANYWHERE!

    Just my 2ȼ.

    • DaSaint

      Like the idea of more LHA-6s. Concur that the flexibility helps.
      Agree for VTOL AEW&C. As an interim measure, we could consider some of the Brits Merlin-based systems until an Osprey-based system is ready.

      • Curtis Conway

        Like Simon Templar on “The Saint”, your capabilities on USNI News absolutely baffles me . . . very impressive.

        • DaSaint

          🙂
          Thank you Curtis. Coming from you, I appreciate the compliment. See avatar.

        • DaSaint

          BTW, the 2020 date for the ordering of the first FFG(X) lines up nicely with the following competitions or service date entries:
          Australia Sea 5000: Italian FREMM, Spanish F-100 variant, UK Type 26
          Canada: French FREMM, UK Type 26
          New Zealand: Will select whatever RAN selects

          I’m starting to think that a FREMM or Type-26 variant isn’t so out of the question anymore. The FREMM looks like a super-sized Freedom class anyway.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’ve been spending more time looking at the FREMM. My favorite heretofore has been the NSC, but HII Ingalls does not have a version that really suits my purposes. Really looking for a Hybrid Electric Drive so the commander can stretch his fuel. With the new turbine technology that is coming of age we will have speed when needed. The next iteration of LM2500 Gas Turbine upgrade should be the power plant in a standard LM2500 form factor, and that be the next upgrade for all destroyers and cruisers coming in for future yard periods. We will save fuel and get more power for expenditure on the same unit of fuel, extract more service hours on less maintenance, and maintain that ever important reliability, and instant service turbines provide. Not a diesel fan with all its moving parts, and turbine efficiency is catching up fast. The extra efficiency in turbine O&M we will have a real long range and fast skirmisher.

            The electrical generation and distribution should borrow from where DDG-51 Flt III which is going to 4160v, and probably upgrade some items with new things on DD-1000 has gone with distribution/conversion and storage has taken us, and will be upgrading DDG-51 Flt IIIs in the future. We will need that or Directed Energy, EMRG in the future.

            All USN combat systems should be moving to more passive sensors, and go active when tactically necessary, or when the mission requires ‘presence’ as a tool.

            The Mk41 VLS is important with Strike Length cell availability for longer ranged weapons. Just like the SPY-1 radar range just moved out by exponents, the new FFG-X should also have a super radar (three array face 9-RMA AN/SPY-6(v)) like the Ford and Amphibious Assault ships will have (hopefully).

            A single Mk29 launcher with ESSM would provide greater lethality for the supersonic ASCMs so you can shoot them in the face close aboard.

            I like the SeaRAM, but us Texans like ‘Lead on Target’, so Mk15 or Goalkeeper CIWS are my choices for PD. Hard to spoof ballistic tungsten (or other fused device) with a flare or ECM. A lot going on in the 30 mm arena these days, and the US Navy should be able to take advantage of that on more platforms other than LCS and Amphibs, not just the US Army. The more services shooting the same ready service rounds, the lower the logistical costs, and the easier it is to upgrade a greater portion of the force with a single ammo upgrade.

            The gun should be a 5″. Nobody wants to go there, but the new ammunition that the rest of the fleet will be shooting in a decade will come in real handy with the greater target set lethality, and all the simplified logistical support for similar ammo provides is the goal. The analysis is analogous to 2.75″ (70 mm) guided rockets compared to its predecessor. Its not a ‘what would you rather have’ comparison. It is a ‘when Hyper Velocity Projectiles’ get here the Powers that Be will wonder why we didn’t proliferate them across the board with the greater blast effect and lethality the 5″ projectile brings to the table, with a very smart guidance package, and outstanding (future) range.

            If we are truly to ‘Never Send Our Troops Into A Fair Fight’ then we must plan like it, and NOT build to a budget target like LCS, or plan on the ‘almost unattainable’, like the Ford in the short term. A decent 5″ exists today, and populates most of the fleet(s). Let’s keep it that way. Kinda like an old 5″ 38 caliber. One could always find ammo, and everybody had one. Really simplified logistics. Keep it simple or you own the last “S”. LCS owns the last “S”.

          • DaSaint

            Completely agree with the need to shape this FFG(X) with building blocks. To me they are:
            Sufficient electrical generating capability, which therefore begs for a hybrid drive vessel.
            Twin screw propulsion, with either drop down thrusters or a bow thruster to allow the vessel to maintain station (DP2 or DP3 system)
            A large flight deck for anything up to and including an Osprey-size/weight aircraft.
            A large ‘aviation’ hangar for 2 medium-size helos or 1 helo and 2 to 3 VTOL UAVs.
            A large ‘mission bay’ fore of, but connected to the ‘aviation hangar’
            A moon-pool or pools, to allow discreet and controlled insertion/removal of UUVs (now this is where a trimaran or catamaran works nicely, but I’m not in favor 8of that for the FFG(X).
            SeaRam and Phalanx (ok, this is my wish list, right?
            32 MK41 VLS with a flexible loadout: eg: 32 SM + 32 ESSM, alternatively ASROC, TLAMs, or SSMs.
            8 SSM
            And I’ll differ with you here and accept the 76mm if weight doesn’t allow the 5″ otherwise, I’d certainly agree to the 5″.

            The FREMM seems adaptable. I hate the masts of both the French and Italian versions, so I’m sure that would be modified, and the hangar spaces could use modification, but otherwise the hullform and superstructure seems ok for what it’s worth.

          • Curtis Conway

            Oh yes, AN/SPQ-9 (X-band) should be on top of the mast like the new carrier and amphibs.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        Lockheed Martin are the primary contractor for that ‘Merlin’ based system (Crowsnest),
        It could be adapted for the Osprey if the need arose.

        And the price the UK paid was ok, £270m for 10 units.

      • El_Sid

        Given that Crowsnest is designed to be modular, it would make more sense to adapt Crowsnest to V-22 (or Seahawk) than procure Merlins. But rather than the (cheaper) Thales version which the RN ended up with, I’d imagine that the USN would probably prefer the Lockheed version using Israeli AESA panels which lost the Crowsnest competition. Easy enough to do given the timescale of building new ships.

        You also have to consider what DARPA is up to, and what kind of ISR capability could fit into the 600lb payload of TERN (which can land on the trimaran LCS), as well as alternative platforms like TALONS. It feels like that’s where they see the future of non-CATOBAR naval ISR.

        • FactChecker90803

          I would rather see a 3 panel version of the APY-9 radar in a triangle dome, mounted above the fuselage or a 2 panel version in a Wedgetail in a similar manner to the 737 AWACS, as well as an AN/APG 81 in the nose.

          The EV-22, should also have a Full Spectrum IRST21 sensor system in the nose and tail and a Full suite AN/AAQ-37 DAS all these systems would be sensor fused to provide full spectrum AWACS coverage, an a DIRCM and AN/ASQ-239 EWCS for self defence.

          • Secundius

            Already one available by Leonardo Aerospace called the “Osprey”(No Pun Intended)!/? Consists of Three Flat=Panel Phased 3-Dimensional Arrays which can be Attached to the Fuselage and only weighs ~63-pounds. With a Maximum Detecting Range of ~200nmi. Originally developed for the “Merlin”…

          • FactChecker90803

            Thats just the panels and not the counsels, generators and processors. A 3 panel triangle or DORITO radome mounted on an MV-22 has already been proposed by Boeing for the Royal Navies Airborne Early Warning Requirement, and Lockheed Martin, also proposed such a set-up for an S-3 Based AWACS.

            My reason for an APY-9 derivative is for commonality with the EC-2D, and the APY-9 has a range of over 345 Nautical Miles at 25,000 Feet and its greater the higher the Carrier aircraft flys.

          • Secundius

            How much additional weight is a “Wedgetail”?/! Even if a “Wedgetail” could be Applied to a MV-22 Airframe!/? You STILL have to be able to Fold-the-Wings of Storage and Maintenance in the Hanger Deck!/? Unless you plan to Maintenance the Aircraft and it’s AEW on the Flight Deck EXPOSED to Wind, Rain and Wave…

          • FactChecker90803

            The models I have seen of an MV-22 AEW version have either a conventional circular Radome and a 3 Panel “Dorito”, all mounted on the wing pivot point, so there is no problem with Folding The Wings. The Wedgetail was just my own proposal based on the 737 Wedgetail AEW and the SAAB “Erieye” AEW.

          • Secundius

            The “Operative Word” being “MODELS”. Not actual working Airframe. Other than Crowsnest or Osprey, the ONLY plausible configurations are either the Saab “Erieye” which is mounted on an adjustable Air Pistol for Retraction of Height and Aerodynamics. Or the Israeli IAI EL/W-2085 “Phalcon” Phased Conformal Radar. The “Latter” being a better Option, without the offsetting of the “Center-of-Gravity” of the Actual Airframe…

          • Curtis Conway

            The 24′ rotating dish on top of the E-2D is too large for the proposed EV-22 Osprey, much too large for any helo, and we want to keep the folding wing capability of the V-22. A smaller form factor is required, and the “Dorito” antenna is a good idea. The ultimate size of the antenna will limit the kinds of technology available. However, the length, height and breadth of the “Dorito” antenna utilizing technology from the Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-81 in a new 3-sided antenna will suffice, providing enough x-mitt energy and reception capability to give overlapping coverage in the new trough antennas, and utilizing all the currently developed software to be re-hosted in a new computer, driving the consoles and combat system. Throw in Link-16, IFF, and NIFC-CA software, and we have a great starting place. This will not be that easy, but it’s is not that hard. Between the E-2 Hawkeye’s PMA-231 and the JSF Program offices, a plan could be developed in rather short order. Then funding, development and test.

          • draeger24

            that would work well on Patrol Coastals…

          • Curtis Conway

            Love the multi-spectral concept. I’d want to see multiple IRST frequencies for greater discrimination capability. The CMV-22B would be the best current platform to provide range, speed and lift, internal space, external mounting area, and power for systems, and is an existing platform in the US Navy inventory. Properly configured this will be the next game changer in combat theaters, not just naval.

    • Spencer Whitson

      I can’t say I fully agree with you. I don’t support a full 50% of big deck amphibs lacking well decks. Additional aviation is great, but well decks do still provide significant capability. That being said, it is needed. Instead of half of amphibs being aviation centric, I propose a more measured and conservative third. This way, in MEB level operations, consisting of three ARGs, you will have one of the aviation centric amphibs as well as two more conventional designs. I see this as the best of all worlds. MEBs are the most likely to be used in larger, more conventional operations. This lets the MEB commander to focus one of his decks on fixed wing aviation, as was done in 1990-1991 in the Persian Gulf. The other big deck amphibs fill existing jobs. Everyone wins.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        The question is how much of the ARG BLT’s equipment previously embarked on the LHD can be accommodated in the LPD & LSD? My understanding is that there are actually very few limitations to the T/O&E between a LHA led ARG and one with a LHD. As the article mentions the LHA will lean heavier on the heavy lift CH-53E and CH-53K because of the loss of ship to shore connectors in the LHA’s non-existent well deck.
        I’m very curious what the specific space tradeoffs are in putting back the smaller well deck in LHA-8.

        • Spencer Whitson

          The problem is not so much that the equipment can’t be carried, but that without the well deck and the ship to shore connectors that fit in it, it will be significantly slower to move equipment, notably the heavier gear that requires waterborne transport. Without the well deck, nearly half of the MEU’s connectors are “lost” (usually 3 of 7, as far as I can tell). Understandably, this is an extremely significant loss to a single MEU, which is why the LHA-8 subclass has been argued for. Where do the tradeoffs balance out? It’s difficult to say.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            One fairly obvious solution, mentioned elsewhere, is to alter the composition of a LHA-6/7 (and maybe 8 on as their well deck will apparently be much smaller than the LHA’s predecessors) by including additional LPDs in the ARG (they might also be looking at including more S2S connectors to the LX(H)).

          • Rob C.

            Isn’t it possible to have a later “Stretched” version of LHA-8 to make up the difference of smaller well deck? I thought it was weird it was smaller deck to begin with. That they’ll have to produce more LPD/LSD out to make up the difference in the numbers. I guess they want to retain a more dedicated aviation platform and have some S2S connector capacities. I believe they will continue to build a form of LHA/LHDs in the future beyond what their projecting. I honestly think they should swallow whatever cost is necessary Makin Island LHD-8 version out, at least she has the well deck capacities that are needed.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            What the best size for a welldeck on a LHA is an open question. this gives some flexibility on loadout without sacrificing the additional helo support, which is likely more of a game changer than the additional F-35B aviation support, at least when the LHA is operating as an Amphibious Assault ship instead of as a strike asset.

          • Rocco

            Yes as I have been stating here & on other blogs!! 900′ is the answer!!

          • Spencer Whitson

            I don’t think an additional ship in the ARG is really financially possible. If the LX(R) program ends up with more ship to shore connectors, you won’t see me complaining, however I’m not sure that’s really on the table, with it seemingly like a downgraded LPD-17 class will be the winning entry.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            The USN is already headed for an “excess” of LPDs (at least 12) to LHA/LHP (9 now, shipbuilding plant calls for 10 total, though that could rise). As for the LX(R), a “downgraded LPD-17 class” will be so far beyond the capabilities of the Whidbey Island Class LSDs they will replace as to easily make up the loss of some S2S capability of the LHAs vs LHPs.

      • Rocco

        Not I need agreement!! That’s what LPDs are for!!

        • Spencer Whitson

          I’m sorry, could you rephrase? Your first sentence is rather unclear.

          As for your second point, while it is nice to think that all well deck operations could be done by LPDs and LSDs, the fact of the matter is that without a well deck on the LHAs, the MEU loses almost half of its connectors (3 of 7, as best I can tell), and most of its LCACs. If you combine this with the slightly smaller well deck of the seemingly leading option for the LX(R), that’s a massive reduction of the future MEU’s ability to move equipment, especially that which cannot be carried by helicopters. As such, it would seemingly be unwise to make every big deck amphib lack a well deck.

    • Duane

      We already have the F-35B, which, along with its A and C cousins, are the most capable fighters ever developed, and are revolutionizing 21st century warfare in the air, on the ground and at sea, and will remain so for decades to come. Why in the world relegate the Navy and Marine’s very best asset to reserve squadrons, and then spend another 10-15 years developing another new aircraft for the LHAs or “light carriers”?

      That’s possibly the lamest suggestion I’ve ever read. And that’s saying some.

      • Rocco

        Seriously!! Just because we have the F-35’s does it mean we stop there!!! Nobody else would!! I’m surprised coming from you !!!

        • Duane

          You apparently didn’t read the comment I responded to which recommended relegating the world’s finest most capable aircraft to rear echelon duty with reserves and national guard duty – the most outrageous suggestion I’ve read in quite some time. Development of a sixth gen is ongoing, but the sixth gen won’t replace fifth gen, it will replace fourth gen. There is a one-gen overlap and a two-gen or more lifespan for modern warbirds. The F-35s will still be relatively new birds when the sixth gens come in and replace that Super Hornets that will co-exist with the F-35s.

    • Sons of Liberty

      You bit on the biggest issue with the CVL. We loose all advatages that the LHA has with the introduction of the F35 to operations.

      Though I disagree about elminating the well deck. I’d rather the flexibility of it in all LHA designs and loose some air capablities. We dont know what the future will require and with a well deck we are best positioned for anything that we may face.

      • Curtis Conway

        The LX(R) design criteria is yet to be finalized, and greater storage area can be placed there for the MEU’s tanks. Everyone is acting as though the MLP (USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2)) and EBS (USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3)) do not exist in future operations.

        The introduction of the F-35B is the compelling element in this argument. It brought more lethality, range, speed, and situational awareness than the AV-8B Harrier II could ever possess. The point of contention in most of these arguments is the need for a CVL, lack of funds and time for the Ford CVNs to come on line, and some tasking in a GWOT environment using the MAGTF in the ARG doing more than just Amphibious. The Marines are ready to grow back into Amphibious, but are really used a lot in Humanitarian Operations, all in a GWOT environment. The USS America (LHA-6) is a perfect fit for this analysis, it just misses greater OTH situational awareness. THAT is why the VTOL AEW&C aircraft is needed. The tanker problem has already been conquered, it just needs to be formalized, and the CMV-22B is the perfect craft for both of those missions. It will be far less expensive, and the resultant synergistic effect of the VTOL AEW&C aircraft will bring to the table across the board with its unique capabilities, will really be a game changer in Naval & Amphibious Warfare, and this platform will be perfect for the Arctic/Antarctic. Once developed and fielded there may very well be other customers. Lot of Helo Carriers out there.

    • LowObservable

      I’d like to see some modular development done on the MV-22 as a AEW&C platform.

      • Curtis Conway

        The CMV-22B (new COD) will have greater lift for longer range so that would be the platform of choice.

        • LowObservable

          Are they using that for the proposed tanker variant also?

          • Curtis Conway

            As far as I am aware, NAVAIR is working on something, but I have seen nothing in the press about the subject. We know the USMC have conducted experiments and proved the concept. Obviously the CMV-22B Osprey COD would have ‘more to give’ with its added/expanded fuel tanks. That is why it should be the base for the AEW&C design.

      • Secundius

        Israel make a Conformal Phased 3-D Radar Array called the EL/W-2085 which is Molded to the Aircraft’s Fuselage. Ranges is ~200nmi. That way Folding the Wings doesn’t become an issue…

    • Rocco

      Kudos!!! But……….we still should develop a CVL version for the future instead of waiting until half of the Nimitz class gets decomed!! Are we gonna replace each one with a Version of the Ford Class? I don’t see this happening. It would be prudent to get the ball rolling on this as well!! & a AEW/C aircraft could be used on them as well!! If anything as I always state the America class platform should of started out at 900′ long! We should consider a long hull version of this ship like the Essex class did When they made the Tyco!. With 900′ to start with a small CVL is conceivable!! Even as just a straight axil ship at 900′ long gives more room for everyone to be happy. Well deck , more flight deck, aviation stores, fuel. Weapons, etc!!

      • Curtis Conway

        I have NEVER advocated REPLACING Super Carriers (CVNs) with USS America (LHA-6) light carriers. Replacing some of the Large Deck Aviation Platforms in Amphibious formations that support a MAGTF equipped with F-35Bs has always been my primary push. It doesn’t cost anything to do that because we are going to build the LHAs anyway, they just need AEW&C. A VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C platform that can support 8 console stations, and also performs Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) will support Amphibious Fleet Air Defense and an Amphibious Landing in a stellar fashion.

        It would be possible for the US Navy to use an Expeditionary Strike Group for Light Carrier Operations, and this is what scares the Carrier Admirals. If the F-35B Combat System performs as well as expected, and an AEW&C asset is fielded, then this concept might be used as a budget saving concept in the future. The CVNs CANNOT be replaced.

  • Rob C.

    I hope having a mix of America/Bougainville Class ships will bring better capacities in the years ahead.

    Question: Am I mistaken to note that the Bougainville has less boat bay capacity than the Wasp Class? Articles I’ve read on America and it’s sub-class/flight I Bougainville-Class suggest that it carries one less LCAC type than Wasp. Yet Bougainville-Class suppose to have lost some capacities for stores with return of a small well deck, where it’s island has to be expanded for CV-22 maintenance crews.

    I must be missing something there, what different from Bougainville-Class and Makin Island which is the basis for the America-Class?

  • Hugh

    Have 3 variants: one with a well deck, one without, and one with an angle deck with cats and traps. All options covered, not all the eggs in one basket, quicker increase in number of commissioned vessels, with a significant commonality for economy of build.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      LHA is too slow to accommodate cats & traps. A conversion of the LHA to a CVL would involve so many design changes it would essentially be a whole new ship.

      • Blain Shinno

        I’d rather have a medium CV like CV-41. Its cost might be close to a Nimitz Class, but the lack of a reactor might make it an affordable alternative.

        • James B.

          The Midway-class worked because they were steam powered, and thus also produced steam for catapults. The non-nuclear ships we build today are either gas turbine or diesel, which don’t run catapults very well. For either a steam or electromagnetic system, nuclear reactors are the best powerplant by far.

          • Duane

            It does not require nuclear power to provide large amounts of electrical energy on demand … the DDG-1000 has the largest electrical generating plant of any except the Ford class carriers, and it’s non-nuke. Gas turbines work great for generating electrical energy, and they’re generally much more efficient thermally than any steam plant (up to 60% vs. only 20-25% for any kind of steam plant, no matter what heat generator powers it).

          • Sons of Liberty

            Yes and they also helped to kill the class before they ever became operational.

          • Duane

            The class was limited to 3 not because of its powerplant, but because of a host of other issues, but mostly high cost.

            Warships of all types are now being designed and built with all-electric power plants rather than direct drive by steam turbines and gas turbines. The ability to generate large volumes of electrical energy is essential to the development of all manner of advanced systems, from weapons (i.e., directed energy and rail guns) to operating systems (EMALS, etc.). All electric systems are much more flexible and adaptable and are much quieter too, hence their use in the Virginia class attack boats.

            While the DDG-1000 is often considered a failure, it’s failure was mainly in its excessive cost. Lessons learned from that class will inform its successor class, just as the Seawolf class of attack boats, also too expensive and limited to 3 hulls, begat the highly successful Virginia class.

          • Sons of Liberty

            CVL kind kills the advatages the America class brings to the MEU. And we quickly spital out of control with the capabilities requirments that makes it to coatly that might as well spend a couple billion more for a CVN.

        • Rocco

          Agreed

      • Duane

        too small too … a light carrier needs to be smaller than a super carrier, probably conventionally powered (perhaps gas turbines,so it need not be slow), housing many more strike aircraft than an LHA (about 25 if no other aircraft are carried … more normally about half that) but obviously less than a Ford class … It’s a kind of goldilocks carrier, a tweener

        • Sons of Liberty

          Not worth it you will need other aircraft for stike support. Keep the LhA and take advatage of the F35 to truly beat leverage it as a low cost capablity.

          A CvL will cause any advatage to be lost do to increaesd costs and ops limitations.

      • Hugh

        Certainly substantial changes, eg 4 GTs rather than 2, and a steam plant for the cats. And they would not replace the big carriers, but would fill an intermediate niche.

        • @USS_Fallujah

          Looking at the cost of the current LHA, substantially upgrading the power plant and other updates needed to operate as a CVL and you’re probably not getting your money’s worth (though I could be wrong, without a true AoA it’s all made up numbers/capabilities) given what would (IMO) still be a dramatically smaller & less capable embarked CVW.

        • Sons of Liberty

          And increase cost and require an upsizing of the hull so as not to loose space gained by getting rid of the weel deck and drive up cost.

          Keep the Group focus on mission and not on trying to replicate a CVN Surface warfare group. Its a recipe for little true capability gain at higher cost and lost unique capablities.

          The F35 enough of a game changer tonincrrase lethality and capablities without sacrificing the MEU.

          • Secundius

            The SCS-75 design or “Principe de Asturias” class Light Aircraft Carrier of ~17,200-tons and ~642.7-feet long. Powered by Two GE LM2500 Gas Turbine producing ~34.8MW each. From Stern to Bow a difference of 12*, but designed with a Constant 3* incremental slope. Air Complement ~29 aircraft’s, 37 in a Emergency…

          • Sons of Liberty

            How does a 16 Ton decommissioned spainish carrier with a ski jump compre to a 65 Ton LHA or a nee CVL.

            It would only carrries 12 harrier and the hanger bays atent high enough to allow for overhead cranes. The F35 and V22 are larger aircraft than what the 16ton Asurias every sailed with.

          • Secundius

            The 17,188-ton Light Aircraft Carrier is actually an American Design. Originally proposed in 1975 by Admiral Zumwalt, using and Enlarged Hull of a “Knox” class Destroyer Escort. Plans could be Modified using a Enlarged “Arleigh Burke” Hull…

          • El Kabong

            Sure, use an outdated design from decades ago.

            BRILLIANT idea… /sarc

          • Secundius

            As opposed to the USS Kitty Hawk which was 56-years old. At least the SCS-75 design could be Updated and Built Reasonably Fast from the Keel Up. While the Kitty Hawk would have to be GUTTED to bring HER up to 2017 Standards…

          • El Kabong

            LOL!

            Who said that floating scrapyard is being reactivated?

            “t least the SCS-75 design could be Updated and Built Reasonably Fast from the Keel Up.”?

            According to what experts?

            You? *snicker*

            My, you amateurs never cease to amuse!

          • Rocco

            America class is 45K not 65!!!

    • Sons of Liberty

      A well deck doesnot eliminate the air assests just resuces them slighty. Its the most flexible longterm to be able to respond to a wider ramge of missioms. An air centric design is not smart nor warranted.

      It try to replicate a CVN battle group at the expense of a robust MEU. It take focus away from its primary mission.

    • James Davis

      I agree with that 3 variant plan!! Putting The Hawkeyes AEW and Seahawk ASW on the Angle deck would be a game changer!!

  • Matt

    It would seem to me that the small carrier should be able to at least keep up with if not be faster than a Nimitz. They should have nuclear propulsion and be at the tip of the spear not lagging behind.

    • Duane

      Nukes are not necessarily faster than non-nuke surface ships. Their principal advantage is range, which is effectively unlimited, given the current state of power plant design that provides for either a single mid-life refueling, or even able to forego refueling for the entire life of the ship.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Why?

      They perform different roles in different theaters.

      • Matt

        It is a proven advantage… carriers need to go fast. Let’s not pretend this isn’t a carrier. And why can’t they perform the same roles together with the Nimitz providing the AWACS?

  • Duane

    The USS America class is a very interesting effort to redefine amphibious readiness group capabilities, and it will likely take years to fully explore those capabilities. The well-deck ships are needed too, but the question remains to be answered, in what proportions should we devote our ARG resources, re aviation vs. marine troop transport.

    Obviously the aviation-lift approach using Ospreys and new classes of heavy high speed choppers is great for operating long range, far inland from the shore, with high speed troop insertions, but at the cost of leaving the heavy gear behind, which the well-deck equipped ships can transport to shore. Should we rely on first gaining control of dirt inland, and then building runways to bring in the bigger stuff, and finally landing the biggest stuff on beaches after the runways are secured (sort of similar to our WW Two island hopping days), or should the focus be on securing the beach first, as in D-Day? Or a combination of the two depending upon circumstances? I think the latter makes the most sense, and I expect the Navy and Marines think likewise, which is why we are building and now operating both types of ARGs.

    As to the light carriers, that’s really a different thing altogether. I suppose that the America class could be converted to a light carrier, but it’s still too small to really take on that role as a primary task. Something closer to 70,000 tons makes more sense for the light carrier, as a supplement to the Nimitz and Ford class super carriers. It’ll be at least a decade out before we start fielding and operating the new light carriers, so there’s plenty of time for the Navy to cogitate on the appropriate mix of vessels.

  • draeger24

    I think we are getting a wee bit wrapped around the axle on the big deck not having a well-deck. My first MARG (93-94 with 22MEU), we had the USS GUADALCANAL, USS SHREVEPORT, and USS ASHLAND. DENVER, NEW ORLEANS and an LSD met us off Mogadishu after TF-RANGER disaster. ALL of that class of LPH big decks had NO well-deck – and this was when the WASP class was replacing those old big decks.
    Here is the issue….MAKE A DECISON – FOR THE LOVE OF THE UNITED STATES – MAKE A DECISION. Either have well-decks or don’t on the flat top. We can ill-afford all these “experiments” any longer.

    • Duane

      The Navy does not have sufficient information, in terms of actual operating experience and development of ARG tactics using principally aviation assets vs. marine assets, to say we need to build all one or all the other type. In fact, it’s extremely unlikely it will be an “either-or” choice .. rather the decision, likely to be revised on an ongoing basis, is the best mix of well deck amphibs and non-well deck (i.e., aviation focused) amphibs.

      Stuff changes all the time as threats change and geopolitical conditions evolve. Ten years ago the Navy thought they would be engaged mostly in littoral ops supporting anti-insurgency campaigns … and now the Chinese and Russian navies have begun a buildup in both numbers of hulls and their capabilities to “near peer” status. And so now the Navy has to adjust yet again.

      • draeger24

        Sorry to disappoint you, but we have been deploying ARGS since the Cold War started….we have MORE than enough data. The issue is the big deck, and not the LSD’s and LPDs which are always a part of the ARG. The LCS was supposed to take care of the counter-mine/insurgency/special warfare operations, which, it still can do if properly equipped. In fact, those ships should be part of the ARG as they have the speed to be the Advanced force Ops ship in an ARG. That said, the big deck decision needs to be CLOSED – it is too expensive to keep changing. My choice, given the history and missions sets that we have encountered, similar to the new threat of the CHICOMs, is aviation centric – no well deck.

        • Duane

          You missed my point … what we don’t have is the experienced with aviation-centric LHAs as part of ARG, since the USS America is the very first ship in its sub-class, and we are only beginning to assess the capabilities and limitations of that sub-class. That was the whole point of the post we are commenting on.

          Until we play with it a few years, we won’t “know” how effective our ARGs will be with that sub-class as compared to the long-standing well-deck versions. That is why it will be probably at least 5 years, perhaps longer, before the Navy can make an intelligent decision on the proper mix. Not only that, but the enemy gets a vote too. Whatever they do, their capabilities for both defense and offense will assuredly evolve over time, and what they do affects what we need to do

          • draeger24

            Brutha, I think you missed my point. The old LPH’s had no well-decks; hence, we have the experience as ARGs were done for 30+ years with those being the flat tops, and, that was during the Cold War and after where many different scenarios were presented. As one of the primary roles of the ARG is NEO and rapid response to disasters or other contingencies, which need a larger air component for insertion/extraction, those mission sets are better served. Perfect?…never is, but the MEU has always been set up to flex to mission sets.. That said as well, we do have MPS’s (which are very fast, in comparison), all forward deployed since the 90’s, with many hundreds of thousands of tons of vehicles, tanks, equipment, etc, as well as the new Forward operating docks, like the Lewis B. Pullar, that will be forward deployed. If we DIDN’T have those, then a mix might be warranted. Bottom line, let’s make a decision and get on with it and stop so much “guessing” which was one of the problems with the LCS program (which I think can be salvaged). GOD Bless.

          • Curtis Conway

            AND we now have F-35Bs with all they bring to the equation which is the most compelling part of this argument. What is missing is that VTOL AEW&C aircraft. it has applications in more than just the naval/Marine environment.

            Most of those posting act as if the MLP concept does not exist, and LX(R) changes are still fluid.

          • draeger24

            yep….and I think the Corps needs to think about bringing back the OV-10 or the new weaponized “Air Tractor” which would be a little brother to the A-10 capability as it has a pretty amazing loiter time and weapons capability…as well, it can have a sensor suite with a sensor operator sitting in the back seat. The OV-10 was able to use the old flattops, but, the Air Tractor is probably better suited for it, especially when deck space is at a premium.

          • Secundius

            One problem with the OV-10!/? There are ONLY 19 Operational OV-10’s in the USA. All others “Operational” ones are in Foreign Service and ALL Tooling for the OV-10 have either been destroyed or vanished like a “Fart In A Hurricane” to whereabouts unknown…

          • draeger24

            yep…agreed….that’s why I think the armed “Air Tractor” is the answer….it is deck capable with out cats/wires, can be weapons configured or sensor configured.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, the Air Tractor AT-802U is a Superstol with a ~9000-pound Ordnance Lifting Capability. Approximately 1,000-pounds more that the Douglas A1D “Skyraider” and able to Stay-On Station for up to 9-hours. GOOD CALL…

          • draeger24

            thanks….whereas the SkyRaider, a great CAS and Personnel Recovery “SANDY” escort, needed a CAT shot, the air Tractor doesn’t if it operates as advertised – that said, it would probably need the entire deck for take-off and landing, but, the Marines are good at doing that “dance” of the flight deck. The Harriers routinely did whole deck takeoffs when loaded up.

          • Secundius

            Installation of a 12* or 12.5* “Ski-Jump” would reduce Take-Off” distance by as much as ~47%. “Freeing Up” Flight Deck Space for “Other” Operations…

          • draeger24

            I think they looked into the ski jump, and there are two problems…one, it takes to much deck space for parking aircraft, and two, there is significant loading on the front gear. The Russians and Chinese have had problems with the ski jump and still can’t get their fighters to full combat loads nor fuel because of the weight and the front gear loading. I don’t know the Brit’s rationale for staying with that, but the engineering data on that would be interesting. GOD Bless.

          • El Kabong

            According to what source?

          • Secundius

            VX-23 “Salty Dogs”, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland just behind the Museum. Duty Desk: (301) 342-4200…

          • El Kabong

            BUSTING you was easy…

          • Secundius

            Really?/! How did you bust me…

          • El Kabong

            What does a Spad weigh? What’s it’s payload?

          • Secundius

            About 12,000-pound “Dry”, ~18,000-pounds “Wet” and ~8,000-pounds on 15 Hardpoints…

          • El Kabong

            Compared to a light weight Air Tractor…

          • Secundius

            The Air Tractor is also lighter than the Skyraider, at ~6,500-pounds Dry and ~16,000-pounds Wet. The a Payload Capacity of ~9,000-pounds and is Night Capable, the Skyraider WASN’T. The Skyraider had a 2,700hp Radial Engine, while the Air Tractor (Military Version) is powered by a 1,650shp Gas Turboprop. Also the Skyraider Wasn’t STOL capable, the Air Tractor IS…

          • draeger24

            SPAD was huge compared to the Air Tractor….that big radial engine etc.

          • El Kabong

            Exactly.

            So you can’t compare it to a light weight Air Tractor.

          • draeger24

            um, yep….and it has VSTOL capability….Perfect spotters for the F-35’s

          • El Kabong

            Nope…

            “…and it has VSTOL capability…”?

            An Air Tractor cannot take off vertically.

            How exactly would one of those glorified crop dusted survive in a modern IADS?

            Things like SA-22’s would whack them out of the sky like ducks…

          • draeger24

            The same could be said of F-35’s and attack helos, right? The Air Tractor AT-802U is armored against small arms fire as is the A-10, and at CAS altitudes has the same envelope of speed…that said, it has the loiter time for sensor operations, et alia, as well as immediate CAS. So the threat is the same – my point is the flexibility it offers in the mission requirements of a MEU/SOC – CAS, sensors, and ABCCC (with a back seat operator), SANDY support for TRAP/Persom=nnel Recovery, radio relay at the tactical level, terminal drone control, armed recce for the much faster than COBRA MV-22 – even the COBRA Viper variant can’t keep up with the MV-22. The F-35 is vulnerable to ground fire. So, it is something to ponder –

          • El Kabong

            Sparky, stay on topic.

            LOL!

            “The Air Tractor AT-802U is armored against small arms fire as is the A-10, and at CAS altitudes has the same envelope of speed…”?

            What have you been reading?
            Wrong-i-pedia?

            What’s the payload of those two aircraft?
            Guns?

            Have A-10’s gone into Syria?

            What was used for aircrew recovery in Bosnia and Libya?

            NOT A-10’s…

            What weapons do MV-22’s carry?

            Nice try at deflecting.

          • draeger24

            First, go to that website and look at the armament on the U model, and, the IOMAX variant. Second, don’t confuse availability with what we responded with in Syria and Libya and Bosnia..A-10’s were not available, and we have been using them in IZ……we did Bosnia mostly with cruise missiles – big waste as we targeted outhouses with fake radar dishes because we didn’t do a proper recon – no boots on the ground nor air recce to confirm. The Marines did the O’Grady rescue in an ill-advised manner, and I was there for that.The USAF refused to go in during daylight, but CINCUSNAVEUR wanted him out asap, so the Marines went in with a TRAP configuration and almost got shot down – successful but not wise. The stealth and O’Grady were shot down as they used missiles for shoot-down at altitude. Lastly, MV-22’s only have door guns if they use anything at all…they looked at a pod and a side firing 25mm like what was proposed for the AC-27 – though that was a 30mm pallet configuration, but that never materialized. They also looked at a pod underneath like the old pod used on F-4’s. Not deflection, sonny, just the facts from acquisition.

          • El Kabong

            First, answer the questions…

            Second, yes A-10’s were available.
            Those Russian S-300’s, Pantsirs, etc. made the USAF suck back and reload.

            “…we did Bosnia mostly with cruise missiles – big waste as we targeted outhouses with fake radar dishes because we didn’t do a proper recon…”?

            Yeah, you REALLY need to go read up on the NATO stats on Bosnia.

            Lots of aircraft sorties.

            So, you agree the V-22’s have SFA for weapons. Finally!

            All deflection attempts you failed at, boy.

          • El Kabong

            First off, go compare the payloads of your glorified crop-duster to that of an A-10.

            Second, what can your putt-putt wagon do in CONTESTED AIRSPACE?

            Third, explain EXACTLY how A-10’s “weren’t available”.
            Where were they?

            Nothing to do with the Russian S-300’s, Pantsirs, etc, you think?

            All deflection attempts, sadly they failed.

          • draeger24

            I’m not comparing the payloads….I am comparing the requirements for what the USMC needs for an ARG and a STOL aircraft that has flexibility – the OV-10 doesn’t have it anymore as the logistics tail is non-existent. USAF needs basing rights – an ARG doesn’t; hence, why we need carriers and ARGs. If you want to have a discussion, great, but, but perhaps you need to back off your rhetoric in tone…..care to discuss your experience otherwise?

          • El Kabong

            You’re squirming.

            The USMC does NOT need a rehashed crop duster.

            It would be USELESS in a contested environment.

            Just keep ignoring my comments about Russian IADS…

            Care to discuss what little you know?

          • draeger24

            ….and your vast experience, which you don’t care to discuss, tells you that? We have had Ground to Air threats which are suppressed – that’s called SEAD – in most conflicts and with respect to missions to which the ARG responds..we had them in Bosnia, if you recall, or don’t?……you are back to thinking about the Cold War. Again, what is your experience?

          • El Kabong

            Ah, the rantings of keyboard commandos…

            Clearly, you’ve never read the NATO reports of how much effort was put into SEAD and how LITTLE it accomplished.

            The Serbian SA-6’s were mostly operational at the end of the conflict.

            Those of us who were in the military know about those things.

            Did an ARG respond in Afghanistan?

            What’s your experience, boy?
            Lead by example.

          • Duane

            And extremely slow (cruising speed of only about 145 knots), and no defensive capability. It would last about 5 minutes in any battlefield today, and its loss would involve loss of a human pilot. The USMC has exactly zero interest in it, or any other so-called “A-10 replacement”. They already have what they want, they just want more of it faster (i.e., more F-35Bs and Cs to replace the old Hornets, Super Hornets, and Harriers).

          • Secundius

            It can “Loiter” (Slow Speed) in the Area for up to 9-Hours. Also NOTE that the Aircraft is also Capable of Night Attacks. Unlike the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War Counterparts…

          • Duane

            What good is long loiter time when survival time on a real battlefield by such a ponderous il-defended aircraft is likely measured in single digit minutes? It’s just like an A-10, except in every important consideration (speed, firepower, redundancy, armor, and defensive countermeasures)..

            Besides, drones can loiter far longer – 12-24 hours or more with current models, and DOD is working on designs that can stay up for days at a time. Drones don’t need life support systems, they don’t need to sleep nor suffer exhaustion, and they can be controlled by the guys on the ground in battle themselves, as well as by drone “motherships” such as the F-35, or by controllers on another continent. None being subjected to enemy fire.

            The decision is already made, so arguing is besides the point. The Marines are not trying to develop a light attack aircraft or a replacement for an aircraft they never bought and never needed and never wanted.

          • Secundius

            Probably True!/? But I don’t SEE any US Services “Actively” Asking or “Actively” Looking for an “Drone Attack/Strike” Aircraft’s…

          • Duane

            Well, actually, there are. The big expensive drones, like the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-25 which is still under development with fairly high unit and development costs are pretty well publicized. The Marines are developing their own smaller drones “under the radar”, on far smaller budgets. And DARPA is developing lots of stuff they don’t talk about at all, or very little, ditto with the LM “Skunk Works”, most of whose work is very hush hush.

            The Marines developed a 135 pound UAV called “Black Jack” that canfly up to 15,000 feet,is cat launched from any small ship (like an LPD), and can carry a variety of payloads, both ISR and weapons. The Marines are also working hard on small drone swarms that can be launched by a Hornet, Super Hornet, or F-35 or even an Osprey. And the Marines also use small ground launched portable drones that can carry sensors on the battlefield and even shoot or drop munitions on the bad guys. Some of this stuff they’ve already tested out in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there’s plenty they’re doing that is not talked about.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, their being used as “Surgical Strike” aircraft in High-Rick Threat Area’s where Living Pilot’s have a Greater chance of being Shot-Down and/or Killed…

          • Secundius

            Hate to Break it to you Chief?/! But according to AW&ST dated 18 July 2017, the US Air Force is Seriously considering “Shelving” the MQ-9 “Reaper” program. And keeping the A-10 Program “Active” for the Foreseeable Future…

          • Duane

            The AF is not shelving the MQ-9, rather they are working on developing its successor. The Reaper has been extremely successful, but its design of 17 years ago is getting long in the tooth. As for the A-10, that’s purely political – the AF has been trying to kill it for the last 5 years but Congress (mainly those who represent domestic airbases that host the A-10) keep frustrating the AF.

            The A-10 is going away soon … if not in 2018, then in 2020. Basically, as soon as Senator McCain retires or kicks the bucket, the A-10 is dead. He’s the life support system for the aircraft.

            But if you want to insist that UAVs are not the way we’re going, by all means, continue to pretend that it’s the 20th century. I’m sure there were horse cavalrymen in the 1930s who thought armor was BS too.

          • Secundius

            Don’t count on it?/! US Congress has Funded the A-10’s Retirement for at least 2020, but More Likely 2028 before a Suitable Replacement is found…

          • Duane

            The Air Force announced this week they have no plans to “replace the A-10”. They are going to solicit proposals for a light attack aircraft, which is not an A-10. They are already using their existing fleet of F-16s to do most of the close air support work now and throughout the last 15 years (A-10s accounted for less than 30% of CAS sorties in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria). The Marines, of course – which is the subject of this entire post and thread – never had or used or wanted the A-10. They have better solutions.

          • Secundius

            I’m curious to know WHY you keep stating the Relationship of the A-10’s and the USMC as a Given?/! I’ve known since 1975 that the USMC “NEVER” had a Serious Interest of ANYKIND in the Fairchild Industries A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog)…

          • Duane

            I state it because people writing in this thread stated in numerous comments that the Marines need to adopt the A-10 replacement of their choice (OV-10, air tractor, whatever). And I state the Marines have zero need to replace what they don’t have and never had and never wanted.

            It’s simple logic, actually.

            To borrow an old feminist phrase from the 70s about women’s need for men … the Marines need an A-10 replacement like a fish needs a bicycle.

          • Secundius

            The USMC “ISN’T” looking to replace the A-10?/! Their looking to replace the OV-10!/? Currently there are ~19 “Operational” OV-10’s in the United States and several hundred others in Various FOREIGN Air Forces. Unfortunately THOSE Foreign Air Forces WON’T Give and/or Sell them back to the US Government. If I as a Private Citizen of the United States, had in possession an Operational OV-10?/! Do you Honestly thing I’d be Stupid enough to allow the Federal Government to “Repatriot It”…

          • Duane

            And with a lifespan in today’s battlefield of less than 5 minutes, killing its human pilot.

          • Duane

            The Marines never had, never wanted the A-10. They will not buy the so-called “A-10 replacements” either. They are very happy with their F-35Bs, Harriers, Ospreys (which are being converted to armed ground support attack aircraft), and their choppers, and drones which inevitably will replace most if not all of the manned aircraft on ground support missions down low. Their only beef is that they want more of the stuff they have, faster, from Congress. They want to ditch the old Hornets, and eventually the Super Hornets too, and go strictly with the F-35Bs and Cs.

          • Secundius

            You might want to “Look before you leap”?/! There a Significant Visual Difference between the Rockwell International OV-10 “Bronco” and the Fairchild Industries A-10 “Thunderbolt II”…

          • Duane

            I wrote “so called A-10 replacements”, it does not matter which aircraft, OV-10 or converted Air Tractor or some other that the Air Force is now soliciting proposals for, the Marines don’t want it or them.

            The Marines are extremely happy with their current ground attack assets, including the F-35B, the F-35C, the Harriers (but slated for replacement by the F-35B), their choppers, and their existing and growing fleet of drones.

            Eventually drones will take over virtually all of the close air support role – they’re cheaper and don’t put pilots lives at risk from enemy fire.

          • Secundius

            The OV-10 was Designated a “Observation” with Limited Attack Capabilities. It also had a Secondary Role as a Light Cargo Hauler, Light Parachute Drop Plane and Air Ambulance with STOL Capabilities…

          • Sons of Liberty

            Swiss army knife of light STOL aircraft. Even capable of flying livestock.

          • El Kabong

            OA-10’s were what?

          • Secundius

            The Rockwell International OV-10 Bronco’s were Designated “OV’s”, NOT “OA’s”…

          • El Kabong

            What does the “O” stand for?

            O-1, O-2, OV-10, OV-1….

          • Secundius

            Observation

          • El Kabong

            Exactly.

            OA-10’s did WHAT?

            That 30mm gun was decoration?

          • Secundius

            Aft Fuselage is a Enclosed Cargo Bay capable of carrying ~3,000-pounds of Cargo or Ammunition which can be Fed through a Special Hatch in the Ventral Fuselage for a 360* Firing Arc Rotating Multi-Barrel Cannon. When Installed…

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!

            You’re babbling about WHAT, exactly?

            Perhaps you’re grasping at the YOV-10 NOGS prototype that didn’t see service?

            *snicker*

          • Secundius

            I believe that NASA took possession of the Prototypes…

          • El Kabong

            NASA uses armed aircraft?

          • Secundius

            NO!/? The used a Test Aircraft’s. They also include F-15’s, F-16’s, F-18’s, B-52’s, etc…

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!!

            What EXACTLY would NASA be using a Night Observation GUNSHIP platform for?

            You can admit to being WRONG, anytime…

          • Secundius

            As Flying Test Beds!/? As I recall, One was Modified with an Dorsal Fuselage Mounted Jet Engine Pod…

          • El Kabong

            It’d be way easier if you just admitted you were wrong.

            Is that your way of admitting that a GUNSHIP prototype was NOT used by NASA?

          • Secundius

            Why don’t you just look up NASA OV-10’s yourself?/! I’m fairly certain that everyone else already has, including USNI News…

          • El Kabong

            I don’t have to.

            You’re the one who painted themselves into a corner by posting wrong information.

            YOU are the one saying NASA used gunship testbeds…

          • Rocco

            YF-12’s – both aircraft!!

          • Secundius

            I know! But I didn’t feel like staying up all night listing them all and the various Sub-types…

          • Sons of Liberty

            The OV10 is not an A10 replacement.

          • draeger24

            I never said they did…..I said they want a long loiter time aircraft and there was talk about the OV-10, and, my next door neighbor’s brother was the sensor operator taken POW in IZ in DESERT STORM….I said they may want to look at the Air Tractor. The gun system on the F-35 is weak at best – 150 rds of 20mm. The Air Tractor can provide CAS and/or sensor operations with a significant loiter time. The have dual .50 cal miniguns underneath plus places for HELLFIRES.

          • El Kabong

            “…the F-35 is weak at best – 150 rds of 20mm.”?

            The F-35 uses a 25mm gun.

          • draeger24

            I stand corrected…25mm.

          • Sons of Liberty

            Depends on model. the A has an internal gun the B & C requires and external pod limiting other load out.

            Frankly this talk shound like Congress that has zero clue about a mix air fleet to properly fit plane to mission and is the reason we have flown the wings off high cost fast movers when lower end light attack planes would have saved our hornet, F15 and F16 fleets.

          • El Kabong

            ???

            All three use the same 25mm cannon.

            Most fighters carry around 150 rounds these days.

            The designer of the MiG-29 supposedly said if he knew how accurate the cannon was going to be, he would have cut the ammo capacity in half from it’s 150 rds to 75.

            What use would “lower end light attack planes” be in a peer or near-peer conflict?

          • Sons of Liberty

            The canard of the near peer arguement. We fight across multiple spectrums and against multiple enemies both peer state, non peer state and non state actors and threats.

            It takes a high/low mixed fleet of airframes to truly address all threats. How does sending a 168M F35C on a 6 hour strike mission againsy a sentry sitting in a window of an iutpost compared to a forward deployed OV10 that can deploy as a unit carring it own maintainers in the back of the plane.

            If we follow your “Peer” logic we should eliminate all rotary aircraft yet we are spending on V22s, new 200M CH53s etc.

            We face the warsaw pact with only 59 day one stealth fighters. Yet niw we need to fight 3rd world irregular forces with a fleet of 2,500 fifth gen aircraft only because of “near peer” threats.

            A sure recipe for disaster and bankruptcy. Even against near peers there is need for forward based light reconnaissance buy against non peer actors there is zero need for 5th gen cost and systems. Might as well just have a bonfire and burn the money as its printed.

          • El Kabong

            Oh, you are special…

            Where does the money come from?
            Great use of manpower….

            AGAIN, you display no logic.
            Your attempt to deflect FAILED.

            What EXACTLY do helicopters have to do with facing modern IADS?

            “We face the warsaw pact with only 59 day one stealth fighters.”?
            LMAO!!!!

            Yeah, ALL those F-111’s, Tornados, Mirage 2000’s, F-15’s, F-16’s, etc didn’t exist in your world, clearly…

            Sure, buy, man and support fleets of aircraft that are utterly USELESS against threats higher than a tribesman using a rifle…
            GREAT use of resources…

            That bonfire you’re dreaming of would be toasty.

          • Rocco

            Negative!! Only the A version has one internally!! A pod is used for the B/C versions a la F-4!!!

          • El Kabong

            INCORRCT!!!!!

            Try re-reading my comment.

            Here, I like to help the less fortunate:

            “All three use the same 25mm cannon.”

            What’s in that pod?

            Good luck improving your reading comprehension.

            Let’s look at your poor knowledge, shall we?

            “A pod is used for the B/C versions a la F-4!!!”

            USN F-4B’s used podded 20mm guns during carrier operations and in combat?
            Let’s see your proof.

            Good luck improving your grasp of the facts.

          • Duane

            Guns are virtually useless for modern strike fighters, an anachronistic vestige of olden days in ground attack. The offensive power in the 21st century comes from either air to ground missiles or air dropped glide bombs, all of which unlike chain guns have self-guided precision projectiles that are vastly more efficient at destroying targets than any un-self-guided gun round could ever be … and perhaps some day from directed energy weapons.

          • Secundius

            As I recall THEY (the Military Establishment) said the Same Thing AFTER the Korean War (1950-1953). And Regional Wars PROVED that Statement to be “Incorrect”…

          • Duane

            The Vietnam War and its technology is to 21st century aerial warfare as the Spanish American War was to World War Two.

            Change continues, except that change also continues to accelerate. Just remember that in the Gulf War, a mere 26 years ago, the internet did not yet exist, GPS did not yet exist,precision guided munitions were just coming into being with laser bombs, but they required ground troops with laser designators (no onboard radar or IR sensors or GPS nav). Insurgents did not have or employ drones to attack forces, IEDs had not yet come into general use. Etc. etc. etc.

            The world of warfare has changed more in the last 15 years than it did in the previous 50 years.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, the Israeli Air Force got THEIR F-4E’s before the US Air Force in Vietnam got THEIR’s…

          • draeger24

            ah yah, that’s what they said in Vietnam, and, it was the reason for TOP GUN. The F-4 had to be refitted with a gun pod. You also forget that a HELLFIRE is 100k per missile….and, it does not have the area suppression needed on the ground. You want to spend 100k on one or two dudes with an RPG? The bursting radius on 30mm give a limited area suppression, but it is needed, especially in this environment.

          • Duane

            Ya think war and warfighting technology hasn’t changed just a wee bit in the last 50 some years? Citing Vietnam as a guide for 21st century warfare is just like citing the Spanish American War as a guide for winning World War Two. Literally.

          • draeger24

            A student of history, you are not. Very little has changed in warfare except delivery and reconnaissance. With the invention of the machine gun, military theorists proclaimed we would never need large infantries again….then came WWII. After WWII, they said we would never do an amphib assault again…then came Dominican, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and DESERT STORM. Let’s cite another fact form VIETNAM – none of the CGN’s in the early 60’s were fitted with ANY guns….just Missiles…..Tonkin Gulf….guess which ships – then considered the most sophisticated warships in history, had to turn and flee small NVA patrol boats because they were getting shot up and had their bacon saved by those “old ships”….with several 5″38 guns????? How many millions have we spent on IED’s in AFG and IZ…..??? Aren’t those just…..mines? Homemade? I think you need a dose of history instead of playing XBOX….

          • Duane

            The entire United States of America military, all of it, begs to differ with you that war has not changed in the last 15 years, let alone the last 50 years. Especially in aviation, but really, in virtually everything..

          • draeger24

            ah no….Joint Vision 2020, for example, was a joke then and now. Please elucidate on how warfare has changed in the last 15 years that warrants further expensive “studies” on a problem for which we already possess a great deal of data? Why has the USMC already stipulated they want a non-well deck flat-top? Are they not the customer? Are you smarter than the entire USMC General Officer Corps? What is your background to make an opposing argument?

          • Duane

            What’s $100K compared to a dead pilot that the military spent a million bucks training, and a multimillion dollar airframe spread across the desert floor?

            That’s the math that our military leaders have already done, and that is why they have left 20th century warfare in their rear view mirrors.

          • draeger24

            Duane, how about stating your background for the record…the context of your arguments is unhistorical…..As well, perhaps you should consider that the Taliban and ISIS is waging 8th century warfare – different projectiles.

          • Duane

            My background is irrelevant. I’m not ashamed of it, but it’s not relevant. Nice try at diverting the argument from the facts to the arguer you oppose though. That’s typical performance of someone who cannot respond to the facts.

          • draeger24

            your background within the context of this discussion IS relevant. I responded to the facts given my experience as a staff planner and 20 year vet with the historical evidence that we already possess; hence, my stipulations stand against your assertion that we don’t have the evidence….we do, and, it is why the USMC has made the stipulation that the additional room for aircraft and the ability to intermediate level depot maintenance ABOARD the ship DURING a deployment vice ashore stands.

          • Duane

            Yeah, those 8th century warriors were famous for using the internet to organize themselves, and for using GPS and commercial drones to attack their enemies.

          • draeger24

            the internet is a simple messaging system….funny how we had to go back to the 8th century tactic of intercepting a courier with a message to find Bin Laden, huh? While the technology may change, the attack strategies remain. Read Basil Liddell Hart “Strategy”….it is why we send officers to War College.

          • Sons of Liberty

            The Ov-10 is a light attack airframe not a deep strike fighter. Two different missions. I wouldnt expect use a 160-260 Million F35 B or C airframe on unimproved dirt strip forward air base like an OV10. Nor would i look to use an airframe that has operating costs of ovwr 60k and hour when an $8k an hour airframe is better fit for its mission.

          • El Kabong

            What about the use of limited budgets and resources on a low-end weapon system that would be absolutely useless in a high-end conflict?

          • Sons of Liberty

            We dont fight just high end conflicts. And even then we used to have a high low mix of systems. Our Peers do not have infite resources and we have SEAD aircraft that provides a security blanket along with active countermeasure even i our lower end aircraft.

            By your logic we should ground all tankers, AC130 gunships, V22s, blackhawks, contas, CH53, apaches, a10s, F18s, F16, F15, b1, b52 etc.

            Only AE18, F22, F35, & B2 should be in the US inventory. Not sure how we provide refueling and air reconnaissance for them but all other air frames are not “peer” Near-Peer” capable. So guess we should close Bases like Lemonnier in Djibouti and eliminate SOCOM aviation because that too isn’t “Peer Near Peer” capable.

          • El Kabong

            “We dont fight just high end conflicts. And even then we used to have a high low mix of systems.”?

            LOL!

            Yeah, Air Tractors and modified trainers were used in Desert Storm and Bosnia…

            “…and we have SEAD aircraft that provides a security blanket along with active countermeasure even i our lower end aircraft.”?

            Hilarious!!

            How vast is that SEAD fleet?

            They can suppress AAA?
            Show me how that’s done.

            You have no logic.

            Care to discuss the AC-130 that was SHOT DOWN in Desert Storm?

            “contas,”?

            Go read up on S-300’s, S-400’s, Pantsir, SA-18, etc.

            Those weren’t around in Desert Storm.

            “AE18”?
            What’s that?

            Not sure what you’re babbling about, but who said SUPPORT aircraft and STAND OFF missile carriers weren’t useful?

            Guess you should explain where all that money to support assets, that would be USELESS in a modern conflict, would come from.

          • Duane

            An OV-10 is useless when it gets shot down. This isn’t a competition between OV-10s and F-35s. It’s a competition between extremely vulnerable, practically defenseless low and slow manned attack aircraft that get their pilots killed (or worse, captured, then paraded before video cams and then lit on fire for the world to watch on the internet) and either low and slow UAVs, or high and slow or fast UAVs and attack aircraft.

            The hourly cost of a strike fighter is nothing compared with the loss of a pilot and loss of an airframe that gets shot down.

          • El Kabong

            “Guns are virtually useless for modern strike fighters, an anachronistic vestige of olden days in ground attack.”?

            Care to comment on the use of strafing in Afghanistan?

          • Duane

            Yes … strafing is a dangerous business, because the attacking aircraft has to get very low and in close proximity to the targets, which can shoot back. That’s why attack aircraft pilots hate strafing … for example, the largest proportion of our attack aircraft losses for the P-51 Mustang in WWTwo were not from air to air battles, but from strafing runs.

            Unguided kinetic projectiles are a very inefficient means of destroying a target – be it soldiers, trucks, or aircraft on the ground, etc. Far more efficient, and safe for the pilot, is to use precision guided glide bombs. The SDB II, now nearing completion of its development, will enable attacking aircraft of virtually any time, from manned fighters to lightweight drones, to launch from on high and from greater than 40 nm away, and attack ground targets with vastly more destructive power and with total impunity from ground fire. We have other glide bombs that we’ve been using for more than a decade with great effect. A single 206-pound SDB can take out an entire company of fighters with their trucks, or even multiple tanks. The F-35 carries 8 SDBs internally, plus more can be carried externally by the F-35 and virtually any other attack aircraft in our fleet.

            Unguided rounds usually miss. Precision guided munitions rarely miss, almost never, actually, unless the targeting info is wrong to begin with.

            Strafing is a 100 year old fighting technique that has been obsoleted now that our enemies possess SAM systems, not just manpads. We won’t be putting human pilots at risk in 21st century war when low flying unmanned UAVs and high flying fighters and UAVs can do the same job, only far better, with no risk to a human pilot.

          • El Kabong

            “Far more efficient, and safe for the pilot, is to use precision guided glide bombs.”?

            LOL!!!!

            Against a SINGLE enemy insurgent or small groups of them?

            Modern guns are accurate.

            Care to cite the failure rate for PGM’s?

            Strafing is STILL useful, as proven in Afghanistan.

            Not every insurgent group has MANPADS, as proven in Iraq and Afghanistan and Africa.

            UAV’s cannot react to immediate threats like manned aircraft can, nor do that have even remotely close SA.

          • Duane

            Against a single warrior, or a small group, you don’t need air support period. That’s the job of our ground forces. Why waste an airplane when a squad of soldiers can handle it? My god, what are our soldiers for if not engaging the enemy on the ground. You’ve totally lost sight of the forest for the trees.

            Our ground forces are perfectly capable of handling small groups of enemy fighters. That’s what they train for, that’s their job!

            Why are you arguing anyway? The Marine have exactly what they need today in the types of warfighting technology, in terms of aircraft, both manned and unmanned, and bombs and other weapons .. the Marines’ only beef today is the number that Congress is funding.

          • El Kabong

            Hilarious!

            Says the armchair expert…

            Clearly, you’re not going to be the grunt facing danger.

            What’s safer?
            Sending ground troops into a fire fight or dropping a bomb on the enemy?

          • Duane

            VSTOL is all that we need, we don’t need VTOL in fixed wing, the choppers and Ospreys handle that just fine. The America class is the future of Marine strike aviation, along with ops on short/unimproved runways on the dirt.

          • draeger24

            you just contradicted yourself.

          • Duane

            You’re not thinking straight. We cannot evaluate the effectiveness of the aviation-centric, non-well-deck America sub-class until we have the operational experience behind us, which we’ve only just started to collect. If we cannot evaluate the America class at all, then ipso facto, we cannot evaluate the relative, comparative effectiveness of the two types against each other in the fleet.

            That is what is at least 5 years in the future, perhaps much more.

            And we are dealing with a forever shifting threat environment and geopolitical status .. whereby the enemy gets a vote. If the threats shift to, say, central Asia, or to northern Africa, then the kind of ARGs we need will necessarily shift too.

          • draeger24

            Duane, with all due respect, I don’t think you read my post…we have 30+ years of that experience when the old LPHs were the flattops, such as the GUADALCANAL which I did a Med deployment on as well as the TF RANGER post ops in 94. They had no well-decks. We have what we need with the new and old LSDs and LPD’s. 4 LCAC’s or three plus 1 LCU is plenty of landing capacity per ARG. Even 3 LCACs is a mighty load.

          • Duane

            You’re being purposefully obtuse draeger .. the Navy cannot decide how many of this vs how many of that unless we know “that”‘s capabilities and limitations, which are today virtually unknown, in order to compare it to “this”‘s capabilities, which as you keep repeating ad nauseum, are well known.

          • draeger24

            and again, you are being obtuse…..we have the historical data from over 30 years of operations. It’s simple and a matter of historical record.

          • Duane

            Can you even read English? Try again.

          • draeger24

            can you think? WE ALREADY KNOW the answers…..how old are you and what is your background?

          • Duane

            Apparently many years older than you, mentally speaking.

            Why are you so dense? The whole point of the post here that we are commenting on is that the Navy does NOT yet know how to use and utilize the non-well-deck America class LHA.

            Really, dude, go back and read the article again before continuing to embarrass yourself as an ignorant commenter who does not even bother to read the post that he’s commenting on, and ignorantly arguing about with someone who actually DID read the post.

          • draeger24

            “dude”…what is your military background. We have EVIDENCE of how a non-well deck flat-top amphib operates…..and that is the point. Again, what is your background for making the stipulations that you do?

          • Sons of Liberty

            No we dont the aircraft used on those ships were severely limited. A harrier has nonlegs and limited utlity as a strike platform.

            So no we dont the America with F35 are a whole new animal.

          • El Kabong

            “A harrier has nonlegs and limited utlity as a strike platform.”?

            Falklands.
            Bosnia.
            Desert Storm.
            Afghanistan.

            Not a bad record for a “useless” aircraft.

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately the Through-Deck Carrier HMS Invincible was on Station at the Falklands Islands in 1982. The “Harrier’s” is incapable of making a 6,000-mile Flight, EVEN with Underwing Fuel Stores…

          • El Kabong

            ???

            NO carrier was “on station” in the Falklands at the time of the invasion.
            That carrier, HMS Hermes, was dispatched there, also, but you fail to mention that…

            “The “Harrier’s” is incapable of making a 6,000-mile Flight, EVEN with Underwing Fuel Stores…”?

            What fighter or bomber can do that?

            What point were you trying to make?

          • Secundius

            As I recall Invincible was Pressed into service early, for the Falklands Campaign…

          • El Kabong

            No, she was commissioned in 1980.

            It was in 1982 that the UK government was looking to sell her to the Aussies.

          • Secundius

            Invincible was STILL in the Falklands through May 1982. So I still don’t see what your Dilemma is…

          • El Kabong

            I see your dilemma is in not knowing where the ‘Vince was…

            Hint, it wasn’t in the Falklands.

          • Secundius

            Argentina tried to SINK the HMS Invincible in 30 May 1982 using Exocet Missiles…

          • El Kabong

            And FAILED…

            AFTER the task force was assembled and sent to the Falklands.

          • Secundius

            I believe the word used was TRIED?/!. If I meant to Say SUNK, I would Said Sunk. You made the Claim that the HMS Invincible WASN’T Present at the Falklands Island Campaign. I just Prove you WRONG…

          • El Kabong

            TRY all you like, but you’re STILL squiring.

            YOU made the claim that HMS Invincible was in the Falklands FROM THE START.

            It wasn’t.

            I proved you WRONG.

            Here, since you’re incapable of remembering your own comments or able to scroll up:

            “Unfortunately the Through-Deck Carrier HMS Invincible was on Station at the Falklands Islands in 1982.”

            BUSTING you was easy.

            BTW, here’s some free SCHOOLING for you.

            You FAILED to mention HMS Hermes…

          • Secundius

            Why did I have to mention the HMS Hermes?/! You already did that. But then a again you DIDN’T Mention the Makeover Aircraft Carrier SS. Atlantic Conveyor, which was also Present and was Badly Damaged to the point where she have to be Purposely Sunk several days later. So much for your History Lessons “El K”…

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!!

            “But then a again you DIDN’T Mention the Makeover Aircraft Carrier SS. Atlantic Conveyor,…”?

            You’re amusing!

            The Atlantic Conveyor was NOT a carrier, silly boy.

            Go ahead, tell us how many sorties were flown from it?

            So much for your display of knowledge…

          • Secundius

            At WHAT POINT in my comment DID I SAY that SS. Atlantic Conveyor WAS. I Said “MAKE OVER” Carrier…

          • El Kabong

            ANSWER the question…

          • Secundius

            As far as Actual Combat Sorties NONE. But SHE did Pick-Up Six “Wessex” Helicopters, Five “Chinook” Helicopters, Six RAF “Harriers” and 8 FAA “Sea Harriers” on Ascension Island in 25 May 1982. And received a FAA “Lynx” Helicopter for the HMS Hermes at a Later Date…

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!

            Proving you wrong is amusing.

            ZERO sorties.

            NONE.

            NADA.

            ZIP.

            “But SHE did Pick-Up…”

            The Atlantic Conveyor was an AIRCRAFT TRANSPORT, silly boy.

            Did it have an ops room? Control room? Weapons storage? Fuel storage?

          • Secundius

            If you look at my Posted Comment more Carefully?/! I stated that SS Atlantic Conveyor DIDN’T fly ANY “Combat Sorties”!/? Not that IT DIDN’T Fly Sorties…

          • El Kabong

            Just ADMIT you were wrong, boy…

            It was NOT an operational aircraft carrier.

            Never was.

            Never was planned to be.

          • Secundius

            AGAIN?/! Where did I make the CLAIM it was a “Operational” Aircraft Carrier?/! IT “Carried”, “Launched” and “Recovered” Planes. EVEN the “Liberty/Victory” class Cargo Ships WERE capable of that Feat…

          • El Kabong

            LOL!

            Go re-read your comments.

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!

            “IT “Carried”, “Launched” and “Recovered” Planes.”?

            Keep squirming…

            The more I BUST you, the worse your English is getting!

          • Secundius

            Air Crews STILL had to Train?/! Even if the Training was between OTHER Air Crews (Hermes/Invincible)…

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!

            NOW, you’re saying the Atlantic Conveyor was used for training?

            Cite your sources.

          • El Kabong

            What EXACTLY is a “”MAKE OVER” Carrier.”?

          • Secundius

            A Ship Made-Up to perform a Duty it was Never Designed to do. When was YOU’RE “Make-Over” performed…

          • El Kabong

            LOL!

            So, thanks for proving you’re WRONG.

            AGAIN, tell us how many sorties were flown from it?

          • Secundius

            B-52H!/?

          • El Kabong

            Wow… All you have is a long range strategic bomber…

            NO other aircraft?

            What about AAR?

          • Secundius

            Aardvark (if that’s what the AAR is in reference to) has a Ferrying Range of only 3,700mi w/o weapons…

          • El Kabong

            LOL!

            AAR = Air-to-Air Refuelling

            Anyone who knows anything about air warfare knows that…

          • Secundius

            It also means “After Action Report”!/? One British “Vulcan” Bomber was sent to the Falklands, it did very little damage. And no further attempts were made…

          • El Kabong

            Not in this context…

            Wrong.
            There were a few Black Buck missions.
            Might want to go read up on the ARM-45 Shrikes they carried on some missions.

            Not to mention the RAF Harrier GR.3’s.

            How many missions did they fly?
            Shot down how many Argie a/c?
            Dropped how many bombs?

          • Secundius

            As I recall I mentioned “Harriers”?/! I wasn’t Specific of Services Used, aka RAF and/or RAA!/? Please be free to Locate the None Generic Remark

          • El Kabong

            You FAILED to mention the GROUND ATTACK sorties the HARRIERS made.

            Please feel free to upgrade your grasp of history.

          • Secundius

            Again?/! Why would I need to!/? That’s why they were sent in the First Place…

          • El Kabong

            Clearly, you’re delusional.

            I can’t reason with your brand of crazy…

          • Sons of Liberty

            First it doesnt meet your “near Peer” standard and second it is not a deep strike platform.

            Its fine as part of a sea lane control Light carrier but even against a 3rd world force in the Fallands of 28 Sea Harriers 2 were shot down by ground fire.

            Desert storm and Bosnia the provided support in a mix fleet. No Harriers went downtown into bagdad. That mission was handled bu the F117 and frankly proves my point of a high low mix of airframes. A 13M harrier forward deployed to dirextly support ground forces under cover of AS and deep strike aircraft.

            Harriers cost around 13M F22 for 195 aircraft cost 342M per unit (155m flyaway) f35s depended on variant 133-253m. But hey by all means lets field a fleet on only 5th gen because thats all that will survive Near Peer warfare. Might only be a small expensive fleet but sure is impresive to send a B2 from Whitman airbase on a 30 hour mission to level mud huts and tunnels in some 3rd world nation.

          • El Kabong

            First, try reading up on the conflicts I listed where the Harrier took part.

            Who said it was a ‘deep strike’ platform?

            What EXACTLY is that?

            “…but even against a 3rd world force in the Fallands of 28 Sea Harriers 2 were shot down by ground fire.”?

            Fallands?

            What’s the air-to-air kill record for the Harriers?
            How many A-10’s have been lost to ground fire?

            Remind me.

            What’s the air-to-air kill record for the Hornet?
            Wasn’t that an ancient MiG-25 and obsolete AA-6 that shot one down?

            “No Harriers went downtown into bagdad. That mission was handled bu the F117 and frankly proves my point of a high low mix of airframes.”?

            What the “F” are you cherry picking for?
            Why don’t you mention the F-111’s, Tornados, etc.?

            An F-117 WAS shot down over the Balkans… You forgot that point.
            Did the F-117’s shoot down anything?

            You have no point.

            100% nonsense costs.
            Try citing some credible sources.

            But hey, keep flailing and trying to deflect…

            Those glorified trainers and crop dusters would be REALLY useless in a conflict against China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc…

            Great use of resources…

  • Kenneth Millstein

    I have just one complaint regarding the USS America. It seems to me that the ships name AMERICA which is on the stern should be displayed in a much larger font then it currently is. A ship with the name AMERICA should have it displayed on the stern much more visibly and proudly. I could barely make the name out in the first photo of it in the article. I served on board the USS Mullinnix DD-944 which was a Sherman Class Destroyer and the ships name virtually covered the entire width and breadth of the stern. Maybe the Navy has changed the rules regarding the size of the ship’s name as it appears on the stern. If someone knows, please let me know. Thank you.

  • Donald Carey

    When I warned that the U.S.S. America could be a back door to CVL’s, I was pooh – pooh’d. I told you so!

  • Bo

    Wow! A couple of memos about requirements … all of that?

  • Secundius

    If you’re going to Build a Light and/or Medium Aircraft Carrier!/? Than build a Purpose Built Light/Medium Aircraft Carrier Outright, instead trying to Modify and existing Hull Design to perform the Duties it was NEVER designed for. The US Navy has Thousand of Carrier Designs that were Propose, but NEVER Built. Just “Dust One Off” and Modernized its Hull and Superstructure to meet the Existing Standards of Today (the 21st century)…

  • publius_maximus_III

    From a civilian layman’s perspective, it seems the America no-well-deck variation would be best for initial assults further inland, leap frogging shore defenses by air. For more traditional D-Day type shoreline assaults, the well deck version seems best for loading men and supplies into landing craft even in rough seas, by bringing along your own virtual harbor. A shoreline assault seems more sustainable for a prolonged stay. The inland assault seems best for a “get in and get out” sort of operation. Another option would be coordinated inland and shoreline attacks from both type ships, with the two fronts putting the shore defenses into a crossfire, if there’s a way to prevent the two groups of Marines from accidentally shooting each other. Maybe each group attacking the same flank on a 45 degree diagonal, then working their way down the beach.

    • Rocco

      Kudos!!!

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Stupid. It is just stupid to even spend money to consider an asinine idea like putting catapults and arresting gear on a STRAIGHT decked flat top, no matter how big or wide or new it is! This article clearly states that as an ‘option’. There are more logical approaches to try to provide capabilities like early warning, and some ‘stop-gap’ measures might be ‘doable’ until those other approaches flesh out. The Brits have ‘early warning’ helicopters. Tethered ‘aerostats’ have been employed over water, as have airships/blimps. Maybe start THERE!?

    Are any of those perfect? No, but the key term here is ‘stop gap’, as in providing SOMETHING that can provide some benefits, while allowing for metrics and lessons learned to be accumulated and applied. An Osprey variant that performs the AEW mission is attractive, but it doesn’t appear to be able to employ a rotating radar dome like the present Hawkeye does. If the Navy is intent on marrying Hawkeyes to ‘light carriers’, especially if those ‘light carriers’ are LHAs/LHDs, they better design them with angled decks, otherwise, design and build or convert an existing vertical platform to do the job.

    Also, one other aspect to all this. If the Navy is interested in ‘light carriers’ and possibly making some LHAs INTO light carriers so they can operate AEW aircraft like Hawkeyes, what other missions might be included? I think it’s logical for Growlers to be part of that mix. Which makes it all the MORE stupid to put catapults and arresting gear on STRAIGHT flight decks!

  • b2

    The CVN is a real capital ship aircraft carrier the US must have. A single USMC colonel’s attempts to poach real Naval Aviation from the deck of this light carrier operated by the US Navy CAPT is abominable to me. All he offers are jury rigs for the real thing. Plain and simple. Stay in your lane.

    These type articles are mind bending in this periodical and remind me of why I left it after a career of membership. The Marine Corps Institute (MCI) more like it.

  • El Kabong

    You know SUCKundus, I’m smarter than you.

    Just admit it.

  • El Kabong

    SURE you were…

    All you have is uninformed, amateur blather.

    Know what a PONTI is?

  • El Kabong

    English.

    Learn it.

  • El Kabong

    Your ARG provided air support?
    Assault troops?

    It was a glorified helo park in that instance.

    Again, ladies first.

    You’re the one thumping their chest about having experience…Typical chairborne commando.

    Put up or shut up.

  • Secundius

    How Big was the Aerodrome (Helicopter Park), do you by remember off-hand…

    • Secundius

      @ draeger24.

      You don’t to answer the question!/? I already found it looking at what was available at the time, thanks anyway…

  • El Kabong

    You first, darling.

    You’re the one thumping their chest about supposedly having served…

  • El Kabong

    Know what English lessons are?

    Take some.

    Amateur.

  • El Kabong

    Ladies first.

    YOU started thumping your chest about having so-called ‘experience’.

    Put up, or shut up, numpty.

    Clearly, you have none with English.

  • El Kabong

    Where’s yours, darling?

    Probably the same place your comments are disappearing to… LOL!

    Ladies first.
    Impress us with your resume.

    Don’t forget to include your personal information…

  • El Kabong

    LMAO!!!

    You posted delusions of grandeur.

    Where, oh where are your comments disappearing to?

    The same place your so called ‘experience’ is, clearly.

  • El Kabong

    Says the chairborne commando… *snicker*

  • El Kabong

    “we”?

    LMAO!

    YOU are still a poser…………………………………….

  • El Kabong

    Well, it’s obvious from your posts you aren’t.

    What posts?

    LOL!!!

    “This comment is awaiting moderation.”

    You haven’t shown any sign of knowledge.

  • El Kabong

    Answer the question.

    Grow up.

  • CaZ

    Modify the F-35B to use the nose gear / structure of the F-35C. Add the EMALS Cat(s) to the ship and you have a plane that can launch at much higher weight with full fuel and weapons, yet still land vertically or slow rolling like the UK wants, so no need for angle deck or arresting gear. I’d say add the F-35C big wing for more range, but that’s a design modification bridge too far I think…

    • Secundius

      F/A-35B was designed for a Dual Wheel Nose Gear!/? Extra Nose Wheel would Throw of the Aircraft’s Center-of Gravity. That’s why that Handling Characteristics of the “B” model and “C” model as so different. Also “Enlarged” Wing Area of “C” model Wing would make it Impossible for “B” model to Land Vertically. But SRVL (Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing) is a Great Idea, it would allow as much a 5,000-pounds of Unexpended Stores to be Retained with Each Returning Aircraft. Depending on “Ambient” Air Temperature, Approach Landing Speeds of between 40kts to 65kts can be made Safely…