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Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2009, 20:56
by Thumper3181
spazsinbad wrote:Thumper, I'm not suggesting anything with EMALS illustration other than it can be (catapult & arrestor equipment) part of the problem if it does not work. This discussion can go round and round and I welcome your comments on the original premise of this thread about the proposed small carrier.

In the same way IF some on this forum don't like their home country being told what to do etc. then please allow the same sentiment for other countries, and what they do. I'm not going to attempt to speak for the RN and their choice of carrier. Yet with their limited resources they seem to have made a good choice to continue what they know how to do well. I guess the USMC has a strong argument in the same way (to continue to do what they do well). I have not forgotten that a lot of USMC Hornets are aboard USN carriers. I guess this will ensure that those same Hornets will be available for the USMC when they need them.

The RN is working on the AEW problem. What happens on that score will be known but I don't claim to know now what that will be. You seem to have conveniently forgotten that Carrier Aircraft pay a penalty (if compared or designed in tandem with conventional aircraft). Hence the JSF-C is going to have differences due to the nature of NavAv operations. Given all the expensive variables you have mentioned it is not surprising that non-super power countries do do things on the cheap as you say. And I'm certain that your allies will do wonders with all their cheap & nasty non nuclear gear.

In 1973 I was visiting San Diego to be bowled over by the size of the fleet alongside. Just a few piers (there goes that word again) held more assets that anyone could fantasise about. So it is worthwhile to keep things in perspective regarding your own countries capabilities, compared to other allies capabilities. Anyway those few piers held more assets than the entire RAN at that time (not including the USN carriers).

I have no problem with your opinions on the use of US ships. That is what a forum is for. I just happen to think you are wrong about the ski jump. I thought it important to point out that the British have a vested interest in ski jumps not because they are operationally superior but because they are for them politically motivated.

I think you are Australian. If you are congratulations on receiving your first Super Hornet. They where a great choice and they will server your air force well for many years.

Please enjoy the two videos below.

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2009, 22:04
by spazsinbad
Thumper, yes I am from Oz. Could you explain briefly why you think the RN Ski Jump choice was politically motivated. Personally I can see why it is used and I think I have explained that - even if obscurely. Give me a clue about the politics anyway. Thanks.

If you are interested just today a new refreshed 4.4GB PDF about the RAN FAA Skyhawk A4G and all FAA fixed wing aircraft, particularly and other Skyhawks used by other countries (for context) plus 'how to deck land' (even 'how to land a Harrier') has been uploaded to: On the page there is also a smaller "A4G Only" PDF and a video of A4G ops on HMAS Melbourne. Enjoy.

Yes the Super Hornet for Oz (with Growler potential) will be an excellent asset, especially when teamed with JSFs. :-) The Air Force Chief is an ex-RAN FAA A4G pilot (from early 1980s before 'fixed wing folded' for good). Info is in the PDFs online.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 06:25
by Thumper3181
spazsinbad wrote:Thumper, yes I am from Oz. Could you explain briefly why you think the RN Ski Jump choice was politically motivated. Personally I can see why it is used and I think I have explained that - even if obscurely. Give me a clue about the politics anyway. Thanks.

The CVFs if properly outfitted could carry 60-70 aircraft. They are big enough to efficiently operate CATOBAR aircraft. The use of CATOBAR aircraft allow for the use of a proper AEW aircraft as well as much more capable F-35C. Simply put CVF becomes are far more potent force if it has a more potent air wing. Cost is not that great to add steam or EMALS to the ship if the decision is made now to do so. The argument of being able to stop then land being better is just stupid. These are warplanes and naval aviators. Not operating CATOBAR aircraft because it is perceived by some that it is more dangerous it ridiculous. Lastly getting F-35Cs makes for a much more potent and versatile air force for the RAF since they could be used as Tornado replacements and fighters once Typhoon becomes ineffective in the 2025 time frame.

Taken all of the above into account I must conclude that making such a stupid decision to use ski ramps and F-35Bs on these aircraft carriers is so stupid as to border on criminal therefore the decision must be political.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 12:30
by spazsinbad
Thumper, I must admit I got bored with the endless wrangling over the final choice for the RN new carriers. I decided to wait for the finality of it; but due to the global economic meltdown that seems to have hit Britain harder than most, the final choice is being debated again - but not what carrier - the choice seems to be NONE, ONE or TWO. Any other consideration (of a different new carrier) now apart from the JSF-B falling over completely, seems to be out of the question. I guess US citizens usually have the luxury of deciding what and how many. I'm from a country similar to Britain that abandoned conventional fixed wing carrier aviation a generation ago. To my knowledge there would be only one or two serving RAN Reserve officers who have experience in conventional carrier aviation. Generating this 'know how' from scratch is a big ask. However re-invigorating VSTOL ops with new aircraft and carriers is a better choice for the RN, despite what you percieve as the downside. You must keep in mind that CTOL is expensive. Britain does not have the funds. I would not be suprised if a late political decision either delays the building of one or two carriers; or there is outright cancellation. Cancellation makes VSTOL ops look MAGbloodyNIFICENT by comparison. These are hard times for Britain.

I would suggest that if Britain had a tonne of money they would have opted long ago to resurrect conventional fixed wing carrier aviation but ever since its loss the VSTOL component has hung by a thread. Even today it is merged with the RAF. The only reason most likely that RN VSTOL ops have survived so long would be their outstanding performance in the Falklands War, under very trying conditions.

You may not recall that HMS Invincible was going to be sold to the RAN for Harrier Ops however the Falklands War intervened and Britain decided to keep the carrier while Australia was 'happy' to not go ahead with the sale. That was the end of fixed wing carrier ops for the RAN FAA. A dual seat Harrier with A4G pilots 'with a few hours training' (and with an instructor in back seat) landed on HMAS Melbourne when she was visiting Great Britain in 1977. VSTOL on HMS Invincible (for political reasons at the time called 'a through deck cruiser') was the way forward for the RAN Fleet Air Arm (HMAS Melbourne was a rust bucket at this stage being a WW2 cheaply built light fleet carrier). These are the breaks when money is tight. Having two large LHDs (larger than HMAS Melbourne) will be an amazing change for the RAN and Army co-operation when they become available in a few years. That would be the background to perhaps why Britain chose what it chose. I would suggest their carriers were chosen for economic and practical reasons, less to do with 'political' reasons but then all that is debatable I acknowledge.

I don't think I have suggested that CATOBAR ops are dangerous (from suitable carriers etc.). I used to fly A4Gs from HMAS Melbourne (and at night a few times WHOA!). My garbled story about that is at: ... ryA4G.pdf/ (7.5Mb) Trying to explain NavAv to civilians is always difficult in our part of the world; because we don't do it any more. That started me on the road to the 4.4GB PDF and to this forum (due to my interest in the JSF for Oz and the potential for the JSF-B for the RAN - if the money and willingness is there but I must admit probably we would need another LHD at least to be specifically fitted out for this task of JSF-B VSTOL ops).

Agree that if the money was there GB would have most likely gone to conventional carrier ops with JSF-Cs - for various reasons that was not their choice. However there is room in the design of their new carriers for conventional equipment to be fitted in future refits, for future conventional carrier aircraft. Their new carriers will be built to last and be useful with upgrading over a long life.

I just cannot accept that the decision to go with VSTOL and ski jumps was stupid or criminal. The RN FAA invented VSTOL and they know how to get the best out of it, and it suits their requirements (even if it does not suit you). I'm sure the USMC will be very glad to cross deck with the RN FAA with their new carriers (if it all works out as planned) & even cross deck with the 'through deck cruisers' of today.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 13:32
by underhill
Thumper - The RN STOVL decision is in part industrial/political, in part historic and in part real. The industrial/political bit is that UK STOVL technology bought them a large share of the program, which will be valuable if they do sell 6000 jets (hardeharhar) and probably US-type stealth levels. The historic bit is that UK involvement started with STOVL and the Navy, and until the very late 1990s it was still premised on an all-Navy force operating off 40,000 ton ships. The real bit is that the STOVL jet is expected to be very easy to land, making a joint RN/RAF force operationally practical.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 14:04
by spazsinbad
underhill, you make good points. Talk from former RN (ex-RAN) Harrier pilots suggests that RAF Harrier pilots not liking to operate off ships - so the easier it is made for them the better - if this 'JOINT' arrangement continues. However I reckon the RN FAA pilots will fly the JSF-Bs but allow exchange with RAF pilots as has happened in the past. I hope people understand that flying from any ship is a skill not easily learnt on dry land. However once mastered landing ashore is no problem. :-)

Flying from a ship one understands that everyone onboard is involved in the success of the mission. Perhaps this can be said of an air force - I can't recall. Funnily enough I spent 15 months learning to fly with the RAAF before going back to the RAN to fly from NAS Nowra etc. This was and continues to be the usual arrangement for RAN pilots (exceptions were with a mass training effort in the USA in USN for 'startup pilots' when the RAN FAA was revived for fixed wing in the middle 1960s). Exchanges (of aircrew) between various air arms of the commonwealth is common where appropriate.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 14:10
by underhill
The problem is that cat-trap carrier pilots have a training/ops cycle that is full. You can't do a training/sea-ops/land-ops cycle because the "ops" bit gets too old. S you end up with a train/CV/train/land cycle but then you really haven't saved anything and you need four crews for every one deployed on the carrier.

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2009, 20:22
by spazsinbad
underhill, I guess you refer now above to conventional carrier ops? My remarks were about RN/RAF Harrier ops today extrapolated (most likely if joint ops continue) to JSF-B. However I don't really see why the RAF should be involved in JSF-B ops. Sure there will be exchanges of jet pilots (RN / RAF) but nothing major. However I don't know what that JSF-B arrangement will be. My informants tell me that 'once mastered' Harrier flying from a carrier is easy enough and yes this skill needs to be practiced like any other. In the past this 'practice' was seen to be a problem in the USMC Harrier world where the pilots often did not get enough practice to remain current. I believe this is not the case today. Cutting back on flying hours to less than minimum required for safe flying is always a problem.

Rereading your para above, my comment would be that any aircraft probably requires two pilots/aircrew when deployed, whilst ashore in a different squadron one would have even more for the training cycle and or ops ashore cycle. I'm not sure what you are getting at frankly.

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 02:38
by Thumper3181
spazsinbad wrote:
I just cannot accept that the decision to go with VSTOL and ski jumps was stupid or criminal. The RN FAA invented VSTOL and they know how to get the best out of it, and it suits their requirements (even if it does not suit you). I'm sure the USMC will be very glad to cross deck with the RN FAA with their new carriers (if it all works out as planned) & even cross deck with the 'through deck cruisers' of today.

I agree the UK is broke. They do not have the luxury of being able to print money like the US. This probably goes far beyond CVF and VTOL. The problem with the UK (and I know this is going to rub some wrong) is that they still have delusions of grandeur. I am not talking about military or strategic delusions but industrial delusions. They keep insisting on developing things that they could get themselves that they could get for less elsewhere.

Eurofighter and Astute come to mind. Why are they buying so many Eurofighter? Just think where they would be now if they had bough Super Hornets like the RAAF instead. The Supers are cheaper to buy, and cheaper to operate. They already come with an AESA. They can do everything the Typhoon can do and a few more things as well. They would have saved literally billions of pounds and had a more useful plane with a known development spiral.

The same goes for Astute. They could have license built the Virginias or better yet Collins and then collaborated with the RAAN on the Collins replacement. Again literally billions of pounds would be saved.

The list goes on and on. Everything from Merlins to A400s, to Meteor. There have been less expensive and in many cases more capable alternatives. The problem with the UK is that it is "punching above its weight" when it comes to weapons development and the drain on the treasury is starting to show.

That is why the UK is building 900 foot, 60,000 ton VTOL carriers. They don't have enough money to build a proper conventional carrier and they don't have enough sense to build an improved Invincible class if they are going to continue with STOVL. The CVFs are overkill for STOVL and yet another example foolishly spending money that could be spent better elsewhere but because of their delusions of grandeur they insist on building glorified LPAs rather than either a true carrier or a true STOVL carrier. Why not go to the Italians, Spanish or Japanese. They have some fine STOVL designs.

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 03:05
by spazsinbad
thumper, OK, you have your view and 'delusions of grandeur' theory has some validity; but this would be the case if the USA was winding down also. You may know that GB has obligations to its former empire that may not be so strong however they remain. Also GB has to get along (unlike the US) with her allies in Europe. The Common Market/NATO drive a lot of unpleasant decisions for GB. The USA will have to swallow some unpleasant medicine - most likely - to get along with allies in future but none of these decisions are for my own country (OZ) to make. I just point out some of the real politik here. I think you want to gloss over that the new RN carriers will have a long life, with upgrade potential to future aircraft (after JSF-B) either more STOVL or Navy arrest & cat.

The RN & RN FAA infighting with RAF and ARMY has been phenomenal in tight times. A big decision to spend big on big carriers that should last a long time seems very smart to me - if it works out. I'll not predict too much. With a smaller analogy I'll claim that leaving a ski jump on RAN LHDs was a smart move even if it proves over time to be just a big lump of metal on the flight deck - the RAN equivalent to 'delusional grandeur'. :-)

Delusions of grandeur bring us all down in the end. :-)

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 03:11
by solomon
Just a thought but the real answer to the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navies aircraft carriers needs are to scrap their current plans and piggy back off the US LHA(R) program. The LHD-8 is due to be officially commissioned in Oct so why not take the F-35 program one step further???? And for the last time forget those damn ramps.

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 04:56
by spazsinbad
soloman, Hmmm, are you going to be giving any away? :-) Thanks for the thought though. Then again there is the no small matter of crewing large ships. The RAN refused offers of obsolete USN carriers back in the day because at that time it would have taken most of the RAN to crew such a carrier.

One thought that perhaps has been overlooked; because after all the new RN Carriers have not been built, nor have the JSF-Bs, for them to demonstrate the 'rolling landing'. As the 'rolling takeoff' improved VTOL to STOVL; and the 'ski jump' improved that 'rolling takeoff' so will the 'rolling landing' improve the VL part of JSF-B ops. Brit insight at work.

This 'rolling landing' won't be as heart stopping as ELP has imagined (in one of his posts on another blog): ... ng+landing
(please read the comments about this issue)

Hence the larger deck that so annoys thumper. This large deck will allow safe rolling landings - yay! :-) One could imagine that the larger deck allows a bunch of other simultaneous takeoffs (from the front part - with jet blast deflector in use) and landings of some forwardness at the RAMP back end OR just have quick and nasty vertical landings all at the same time. Go the Brits. :-)

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 13:55
by underhill
Rolling landings were adopted due to the emerging issue of marginal bring-back performance with the F-35B. (At least that's what UKG documents say, but what do they know compared with the experts here?) Good discussions can be found over at Pprune: most concerns stem from the fact that you're moving on the deck - and well above taxi speeds - with the engine spooled down, prohibiting a bolter, and relying on wheel brakes to stop and the nosewheel to steer.

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 14:05
by spazsinbad
Flying off a carrier and back onto it is dangerous - it is NOT always as dangerous as it is made out to be. Real experts in the RN FAA will work it out for sure. I guess we will see when the JSF-B is flying from the new RN Carriers - rolling landings or not. I like to speculate in a good way - while some want to be negative. So be it. I guess Pprune is inhabited by experts. (Sarcasm)

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2009, 14:34
by underhill