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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Second Line of Defense Articel on USMC a

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 10:19
by spazsinbad
From 2008 there is a good historical overview of the issues with no hint of the RAN/RAAF operating F-35Bs from the LHDs. However it is mentioned that the USMC is likely to do so when appropriate. Read on....

A HISTORICAL APPRECIATION OF THE CONTRIBUTION OF NAVAL AIR POWER 2008
by Andrew T. Ross and James M. Sandison
with an introduction by Jack McCaffrie (former TACCO S-2E/Gs, CDRE rtd.)

http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/PIAMA26.pdf

Introduction pages 11-13
"...The second line of criticism of the larger amphibious ships is that they represent part
of a Navy agenda to regain its status as an operator of aircraft carriers.49 The far more
prosaic reality is that the plan to acquire two large amphibious ships is a response to
an Army generated and government approved requirement for the transport, landing
and support ashore of a battalion group and their equipment.

This writer is aware of no Navy agenda to re-introduce an aircraft carrier capability,
yet there are elements of the accusation that merit some reflection. The acquisition of
the amphibious ships recognises the need for an expeditionary capability in the ADF.
To dominate the maritime battlespace and to project power in defence of Australia and
its interests, the ADF must be able to conduct sustained operations at considerable
distances from home bases. Even operations in the waters to the near north of Australia
can be categorised as being at considerable distance from home bases and so the
term ‘expeditionary’ does not apply only to operations in distant parts of the region
and beyond.

Wherever they are deployed, but depending on the potential threat, however, the
amphibious ships would expect to be escorted by Aegis-fitted air warfare destroyers
and other surface combatants to provide protection against submarine, surface or air
threats during transit and in the area of operations. The surface combatants would also
be able to provide air defence and naval gunfire support to ground forces, especially in
the early part of an operation and while they remained relatively close to shore.
Depending on the threat type and level, the air defence capability could also include
support from airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and tactical
fighters – which might also conduct ground support operations. The presence of these
aircraft could depend on the availability of air-to-air refuelling (AAR) and of friendly
airfields near the area of operations. The five AAR aircraft being acquired under
project AIR 5402, depending on the nature and location of operations, could be both
reliant on the availability of friendly airfields and hard-pressed to support intensive
air operations.

Those who see the amphibious ships as an answer to years of suspected silent but
intense Navy prayer might be granted one point. If Australia is to embark on a genuinely
expeditionary approach to the use of military force it must surely be prepared to
consider a tactical air capability in its deployments. RAAF tactical aircraft, such as
the F/A-18 or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in future, will not always be needed,
either because the threat level or type will not demand their presence, or because they
will be provided by another Service – in our case this would most likely be one of the
US Services if we are part of a coalition force.

Nevertheless, in cases where tactical aircraft are needed and will not be provided by
another country’s forces, RAAF aircraft must be a part of the expeditionary force. They
could be needed as part of the air defence shield for the deploying ships and for the
ships and ground forces in the area of operations. They could also be tasked for attack
missions in support of the ground forces. If air support of this kind is needed, the
RAAF would in present circumstances need access to one or more overseas air bases,
depending on the location of the area of operations. This kind of access can be difficult
to arrange and in some cases may not be achievable. It would also depend on a very
significant logistics support effort, which might itself depend on sea transport.
An alternative solution to the provision of tactical aircraft for expeditionary operations
could involve the operation of STOVL JSF aircraft from one or both of the large
amphibious ships. For this to be a viable option, the amphibious ships would need to
be capable of operating the aircraft. The Spanish design meets this requirement and the
ship is fitted with a ski jump. Additionally, the ships would need to be able to embark
and operate the JSFs as well as the helicopters embarked for troop lift. Clearly, only a
limited number of JSFs could be embarked and thus the air defence or attack capability
provided would also be limited. Nevertheless, in conjunction with the AEW&C aircraft
and the air warfare destroyer’s Aegis air defence capacity, the aircraft could provide
a credible capability in many scenarios.

This suggestion that the RAAF could operate STOVL JSFs from the amphibious ships
is in line with the UK situation in which the Royal Air Force will fly STOVL JSFs from
the Royal Navy’s new attack carriers. In this sense then it is not in any way a return
to the ‘glory days’ for the RAN but simply a way to ensure that air support is always
available for expeditionary operations, through making full use of the capabilities of
the amphibious ships and of two versions of the JSF aircraft. Even if the idea is not
taken up, however, selection of the Spanish amphibious ship design will enable allied
or coalition partner STOVL aircraft to operate from the ships. US Marine Corps STOVL
JSFs would be the most likely partners.


Conclusion
The recent government decision to acquire two large ‘flat-top’ amphibious ships for the
RAN will provide the ADF with an unprecedented capability to project military force
from the sea. Acquisition of any kind of ships for the RAN, but especially large ones,
often generates criticism, informed and otherwise. The acquisition of these amphibious
ships is no exception, with some commentators seeing them as simply ‘too big’ and
others seeing in them some devious Navy plan to reintroduce aircraft carriers.
The attached 1978 Central Studies Paper, supported by some more recent material
in this introduction, aims to meet these criticisms and to provide a rationale for the
acquisition of these ships. The paper itself shows that in the years up to 1976 there
were many instances in which the capability proved to be invaluable in both peacetime
and wartime or warlike operations. This introduction provides more contemporary
examples to reinforce the point. It also shows that several countries either have
already introduced amphibious ships of the LHD type to their navies, or have plans to
do so. Finally, the introduction provides some thoughts as to how the expeditionary
force capabilities of the ADF could be extended with the embarkation of STOVL JSF
aircraft in these ships.
"

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Second Line of Defense Articel on USMC a

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 10:28
by Corsair1963
Well, after the F-35B enters service with the Italian and Spainish Navies. Don't be surpsied if Japan and South Korea follow. (and posssibly Australia too)


IMHO

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Second Line of Defense Articel on USMC a

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 11:35
by spazsinbad
Most would be aware perhaps that another recent thread had thoughts on this topic of 'NO F-35Bs for RAN/RAAF - but they likely will operate from LHDs via USMC or allies F-35Bs' so I'm not trying to rehash that topic here nor there [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-15671-start-60.html] but.... What I'm suggesting is that when the LHDs are in use and USMC F-35Bs - or even Harriers - are jumping off the ski jump then...:

Navy keeps very quiet while it waits for the last laugh August 4, 2007

"WHEN Brendan Nelson announced last month a $3 billion order for two giant amphibious landing ships, it was widely seen as a victory for the "expeditionary force" school of strategy, emphasising overseas punch for the Australian Army.

The Defence Minister himself went on to proclaim the "final nail in the coffin" for the "Defence of Australia" strategy adopted under Bob Hawke's Labor government in the 1980s, which stressed navy and air capability to fight off threats in the country's approaches and resulted in the army contracting to a niche force.

[...]

Woolner expects the subject to come up once the air force starts getting its new F-35 aircraft.

"They'll say how about buying some V/STOL versions, they'll be really cheap because we can get the maintenance and support done out of the RAAF fleet, they wouldn't be like a little orphan fleet, we'd only need a few, and gee, it would add so much to our power projection.


[...]

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/navy-k ... 56129.html

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Second Line of Defense Articel on USMC a

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 11:48
by spazsinbad
Aircraft carrier on navy's secret $4bn wish list
By Ian McPhedran From: The Daily Telegraph March 25, 2008

"THE Royal Australian Navy has produced a secret $4 billion "wish list" that includes an aircraft carrier, an extra air warfare destroyer and long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles for its submarine fleet.

The RAN wants a third 26,000 tonne amphibious ship equipped with vertical take-off jet fighters, a fourth $2 billion air warfare destroyer and cruise missiles that could strike targets thousands of kilometres away.

The list comes at a time when the RAN can barely find enough sailors to crew its existing fleet.

It also coincides with a Federal Government push to save $1 billion a year in defence costs as well as a government-ordered White Paper which will set the spending priorities for the next two decades.

According to insiders, the Government was unimpressed by the RAN's push for more firepower at a time when the Government is aiming to slash spending.

"The navy is out of control," one defence source said.

It is understood that the wish list was the final straw in the tense relationship between the Government and Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Russ Shalders - who will be replaced in July by Rear Admiral Russell Crane.

Admiral Shalders last year also pushed hard for an expensive US-designed destroyer, but lost out to the cheaper, Spanish option.

Taxpayers will spend more than $11 billion to provide the RAN with the two 26,000-tonne amphibious ships and three air-warfare destroyers equipped with 48 vertical launch missiles.

The two big ships, known as Landing Helicopter Docks, are designed for amphibious assaults and will be fitted with helicopters and be capable of carrying more than 1000 troops and heavy vehicles such as tanks and trucks.

The RAN wants a third ship to carry vertical take-off fighter jets.

Its last aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne, was decommissioned in 1982 before being sold for scrap.

[...]

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/aircraf ... 1115876869

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 17:39
by Conan
1. The Strategic Projection Ship, which provides the basis for the Canberra Class are designed to carry the Harrier for limited durations. The Amarda intends to use it for training and qualification purposes when the Principe de Asturias is in dock. The SPS is not a replacement nor a substitute for that vessel even in the Armada.

2. The Juan Carlos is designed to support the Harrier. Not the F-35b. Please read the extensive writings available on how the US Navy ships are being modified to handle the F-35b to get some idea of the differences in operating the two aircraft.

3. The Australian Canberra Class is a modified SPS vessel. It does not have the fuel bunkerage or air weapons magazines to support a fixed wing capability that even the Juan Carlos has and which in Juan Carlos form is far below the capability inherent in the Principe de Asturias.

4. There is no material anywhere publicly that confirms that the Canberra Class will even be able to accommodate (ie - the deck) vertical landings of Harriers. They are certainly not capable of accommodating the F-35b's in their current form. The presence of a flat top, does not itself mean that it is capable of supporting F-35 vertical landings, as the modifications to USN ships and the creation of special landing pads at NAS Patuxent River shows.

4. Quoting media organisations that have and continue to call M113 armored personnel carriers - "tanks", ANZAC Class frigates as "battleships" and Canberra Class LHD's as aircraft carriers does little to promote your point of view.

5. What some members of a service want and what they get are two completely separate things. No-one in the Army wanted MRH-90's, yet they got them. No-one in Navy wanted Australianised F-105's for the Air Warfare Destroyer, but they got them too.

Why don't you hunt around and post Plan Blue? It's at least a publicly released future planning document that runs out to 2030? At least you'd be posting some RAN documentation then...

Of course you'd also be posting documents which show the RAN is making no plans whatsoever for "operating" fixed wing aircraft of any kind.

Even better would be Plan Green, but as it's classified it might be a little hard to get your hands on. But it hardly matters. It doesn't have F-35b's in it either...

You might have noticed that out of a wish list of 3 things for the 2010 White Paper, Navy has so far got 1 of the things it wanted, but part of the trade off for getting JASSM for the RAAF and Tactical Tomahawk Block IV or whatever the long range strike missile ends up being (could be a vertical launched JASSM variant down the track) for RAN, was that RAAF had to lose the F-111's. Fortunately we had a huge budget surplus at the time and Government was able to decide to replace the Hornet and SOW capability with Hornet, SOW and Super Hornet, but there is no doubt to get capability ADF has to trade off existing capability in return.

What possible capability could ADF afford to trade off for a multiple-billion fleet of F-35b's and hundreds of millions in modifications for our amphibious ships, plus the enormous on-going cost of maintaining a carrier like capability?

Unread postPosted: 01 Jul 2011, 22:47
by spazsinbad
All very interesting Conan, however I have read news reports about the 'Juan Carlos' LHD class that it was specifically designed to opoerate the F-35B (how those specifications were known at time of design/building). Once again I'll stress that yes I agree that there are no current plans to operate RAN/RAAF F-35Bs on our two new LHDs. However I'll stress that USMC will want to use the flat decks to see what the issues are. Makes sense to me if not to you. The first quotation at top of this page (on my computer) "A HISTORICAL APPRECIATION OF THE CONTRIBUTION OF NAVAL AIR POWER 2008" indicates same from a NAVY source. In NAVY circles this will be unremarkable exercise so to speak. I'll look forward to the day for the video and news reports.

There is a lot of hoohaa as indicated earlier on in this thread about concrete landing pads and heat stress on flat decks for F-35B use. The truth will be known in our spring (US fall) soon enough. Unsurprisingly older USN LHAs will need to be modified because they were laid down well before F-35B details were known (WASP launched 1987 - Juan Carlos launched 2008 with construction starting 2-3 years earlier respectively).

Old Australian newspaper reports were cited to show that having F-35Bs or a third RAN LHD are not new ideas, albeit not taken up as we both now stress again. Yet people will jump on this thread and ask 'how about it'. Sigh.

No surprise to me that the ADF do not get the equipment they would like - some of the time. I believe the RAAF are very happy to be getting the F-35As in due course though. So some things do work out.

Yeah newspaper reports can be crap but you'll agree reporters get their ideas from ADF sources. Some are better than others. I did not bother to post a Canberra Times report from around 2007-8 (I think) that gleefully claimed the new RAN LHDs would have not only a ski jump but catapults.

There are other reports/ideas about how a bunch of RAAF F-35Bs could be operated from RAN LHDs in a co-operative fashion using the flat deck as a 'bare base'. But as the RAAF (for the moment) are not buying any F-35Bs and the RAN certainly are not I'll just point to one such reference to that idea here:

http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cg ... additional

(I was searching for this notion that Australia bought an aircraft carrier for Thailand) 1.3Mb PDF 'Sea control & maritime power projection for Australia: maritime air power and air warfare' by Richard T. Menhinick - University of Wollongong 2003. 'The Aircraft Carrier Debate' section on pp.109-122 has an overview of non-replacement for HMAS Melbourne back in the early 1980s.

pp. 137 to 142 express the idea of LHDs as 'mobile bare bases'. On page 141:

"As stated aircraft carriers for Australia could be viewed more properly in the context of mobile bare bases. They would build on the positive attributes of Australia's current fixed bare bases, but overcome the limitations of these bases, by being able to bring air power to the area of operations, should the strategic and tactical situation require it. Evolving aircraft technology permits the possibility of Australia being able to operate an air dominance aircraft from a maritime platform. Noting the seameless force statement of 'Force 2020', the RAAF could operate an air dominance and air strike combat air group from the mobile bare base exactly as it does today from land bases. The RAN does not need to re-create a fixed wing fleet air arm. The operation of air dominance aircraft in what the RAAF does already. Australia should just move the base to sea as necessary. The RAN would operate the ship, steam it to where it is required and maintain it. The RAAF could be responsible for the fixed-wing air group, including maintenance and training.

This approach builds on the UK use of RAF GR7 Harrier aircraft from the 'Invincible' class aircraft carriers off Yugoslavia. In fact between 2002 and 2006 the RN's Sea Harriers will be removed from service. This will result in the three 'Invincible' class aircraft carriers deploying solely with RAF fixed wing aircraft. As already stated the British are moving to provide a two carrier fixed wing air dominance and strike capability to permit expeditionary warfare from 2012. Australia seems not to have studied this aspect of operations. It is time to investigate this option with a view to operating either a common aircraft variant from land and mobile sea bases or even a different variant should that be the preferred and logical outcome.

There would of course be significant challenges. It is some 20 years since the RAN operated fixed wing aviation at sea. It would be a period of 30 to 35 years (2012/17) by the time Project Air 6000 platforms could be commissioned into service. To be effective at sea aircrew would need to be educated in maritime operations. This includes a basic understanding of how ships work, both at sea and in harbour. This includes issues such as standing watches, conducting damage control training, ship safety training and survival at sea. Issues such as obtaining experienced Carrier Air Group Commanders to command the air element would be taxing. The development of the 'shipside' such as the ship's Commander Air, its head of the Air Department, and the team responsible for the shipboard side of training and operations would also be demanding. The RAN and RAAF would need to build this up over the next few years, by exchange postings to overseas forces operating aircraft at sea. Given the 'Force 2020' proposals and vision this should be possible. Noting Project Air 6000's impact on Australian strategy and its very significant budget, this proposal should be investigated in a meaningful and open fashion.

The benefits that could flow from such an approach are more diverse than just the direct strategic options such a capability provides. Less obvious effects perhaps could be an increase in the retention of aircrew, with them being given better opportunities to serve in operational environments away from Australian bases than occurs at present. Other effects may include... operations free from considerations of diplomatic issues of third nation land based air operations...." [Remember this was written in 2003.]

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2011, 03:55
by popcorn
We've learned that LMA has been contratced to study the feasibility of operating the F-35B on Spanish aviation ships. No doubt this will address the technical issues raised by Conan and identify the retrofit efforts to allow the ships to deploy the STOVL jet. If the report is positive then I expect more support for the concept as the jet will bring significant capabilities. Long-range strategic plans can always be rewritten and updated to incorporate new realities.

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2011, 04:19
by Conan
popcorn wrote:We've learned that LMA has been contratced to study the feasibility of operating the F-35B on Spanish aviation ships. No doubt this will address the technical issues raised by Conan and identify the retrofit efforts to allow the ships to deploy the STOVL jet. If the report is positive then I expect more support for the concept as the jet will bring significant capabilities. Long-range strategic plans can always be rewritten and updated to incorporate new realities.


They can I have never denied that. All I have stated is that there isn't any plan in ADF to do any such thing, nor is there any apparent will in other side of Government.

So all that has to happen for this to occur is:

1. We get the ships.

2. Government changes it's mind on a carrier capability.

3. ADF doctrinally shifts to re-include a major fleet asset like a carrier.

4. Planning gets underway to introduce such a capability.

5. The ships are modified to be able to handle the role.

6. Other plans are devised to cover the detriment to our amphibious capability.

7. Training activities commence years in advance as happened with the Wedgetail AeW&C when we introduced a new capability and ADf needs to develop it's corporate understanding of such a capability.

8. Procurement activities begin and sustainment provisions are put in place.

9. Project deliverables commence and initial release to service commences.

10. Training activity ramps up and the aircraft go to sea...

As I said earlier, obviously the presence of flat tops s all that is needed...

:roll:

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2011, 04:48
by spazsinbad
popcorn, the Spanish Harriers have only recently started testing 'Juan Carlos' 04 May2011 as per: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-435.html [this thread page 30 on my computer]. A Spanish Harrier on ski jump pic has gone missing I'll make one available here soon.

Image

Image

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2011, 05:27
by popcorn
spazsinbad wrote:popcorn, the Spanish Harriers have only recently started testing 'Juan Carlos' 04 May2011 as per: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-435.html [this thread page 30 on my computer]. A Spanish Harrier on ski jump pic has gone missing I'll make one available here soon.

Image

Image


Noted Spaz. Any F-35B possibility for Spain will be down the road but contracting a feasibility study is an indication of their probable long-term intentions. Those Harriers won't last forever.

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2011, 07:33
by spazsinbad
Their Harriers are being upgraded.... [Spanish Navy had 16 EAV-8B+ & 1 TAV-8B aircraft in use as of December 2010]

CASSIDIAN completes prototype test flights in Harrier modernisation programme 07 February 2011

http://www.eads.com/eads/int/en/news/pr ... 9791b.html

• The Spanish Navy’s Harrier AV8B aircraft went through a test flight programme at Cassidian Spain’s facilities in San Pablo (Seville)

• Handover to the Spanish Navy will take place on completion of the modification certification process

• CASSIDIAN is the new name of EADS Defence & Security

The prototype aircraft in the Harrier Upgrade programme for the Spanish Navy has completed its test flight programme and is now at the Rota Naval Base facilities.

The programme to upgrade the configuration of the Navy’s Harrier AV8B aircraft includes, among other modifications, the installation of the 408A engine and the implementation of improvements to the structure and avionics systems, as well as the incorporation of various Technical Directives and SDLM/AGE third level maintenance...."

Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2011, 14:55
by spazsinbad
An earlier page on this thread mentioned 'NITKA' and Chinese making a purloined copy of it as per this quote from that page (http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... tka#190587). Just happened on some info about 'NITKA' seen below:

Russian sold secrets for China’s first carrier - Ukraine sends him to prison
By Reuben F. Johnson - The Washington Times - Monday, February 14, 2011

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... t-carrier/

"...China‘s intelligence service directed Yermakov to steal classified information about Ukraine‘s Land-based Naval Aviation Testing and Training Complex, or NITKA, its Russian acronym, according to reports.

The facility is in the Crimea near the city of Saki and was built when Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union. It remains the only training complex of its kind in the world...."
&
"...The Chinese are building a massive carrier pilot training base at Xingcheng, in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Other facilities for training of carrier personnel and engineering support specialists have been built in Xian, Shanxi province. The Xingcheng facility has features that duplicate the design of NITKA in Ukraine."

Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2011, 15:10
by spazsinbad
Another photo of NITKA is in this recent article:

Russia plans to rent naval pilot training facilities in Ukraine | Nitka Naval Pilot Training Center in Ukraine July 07, 2011

http://nosint.blogspot.com/2011/07/russ ... pilot.html

"Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov formally asked on Wednesday his Ukrainian counterpart Mykhailo Yezhel to rent facilities on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula for naval pilot training.

In line with a 1997 bilateral agreement, Russia occasionally uses the Nitka Naval Pilot Training Center in Ukraine as the only training facility for its naval pilots.

"I have signed a request to the Ukrainian defense minister to allow us the [permanent] use of the Nitka facility for naval pilot training in the form of a rental or some other agreement," Serdyukov said a meeting of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi."
&
Nitka Naval Pilot Training Center in Ukraine

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110706/165061686.html

http://en.rian.ru/images/16506/17/165061789.jpg

Image

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2011, 22:28
by spazsinbad
Wasp prepares for Joint Strike Fighter By Petty Officer 1st Class Justin K. Thomas | USS Wasp

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/74178/wasp ... irWVWFe1g8

"ATLANTIC OCEAN - The crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) is preparing the ship to become the first at-sea test platform for the U.S. Navy’s test variant of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Recently, four members of Wasp’s Air Department traveled to one of the Navy’s premier test facilities at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., to help give them a good idea of what WASP can expect when testing begins. The group consisted of Cmdr. Stephen McKone, Wasp’s Air Boss; Lt. Michael Curcio, Wasp’s Aircraft Handling Officer and F-35B Ship Integration Project Officer; Ens. Maguel Brooks, Wasp’s Air Bos’n; and Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handler) Richard McCray.

“The F-35B is a really unique aircraft,” said Lt. Curcio. “It possesses characteristics on par with our legacy fighter/attack aircraft; it is the first Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft to possess both stealth and supersonic capability. This aircraft alone has the potential to completely revitalize the utility of large-deck amphibious platforms by adding significant strike capability to their resumes.”

The F-35B will replace the Department of Navy’s current Vertical and /or Short Take Off/Landing (VSTOL) aircraft, the AV-8B Harrier. The Harrier has been in the U.S. arsenal since 1984 and has been extensively used during both Persian Gulf Wars. It is also assigned to Marine Air Groups (MAGs) and Marine Expeditionary Units to support Marines on the ground and to facilitate amphibious assault operations around the globe.

During Wasp’s four-month maintenance availability conducted earlier this year, major modifications were completed to various elements of the ship including the flight deck and combat systems equipment. These modifications included moving the flight deck’s “Tram Line,” or yellow line, which is used by pilots to guide them when performing short landings [this may be true also for vertical landings but I think this phrase is about 'short takeoffs'], closer to the port side of the ship. Also, the aft NATO Sea sparrow missile launcher mount was removed and replaced with a “dummy” launcher.

“The ship has had a few physical changes made to it,” said Curcio. “Some of these are necessary to accommodate the physical differences between the Harrier and the F-35B, while others will help the engineers to collect data on both the ship's effect on the aircraft and the aircraft's effect on the ship. For example, the flight deck tramline was shifted slightly to port to accommodate the F-35B's larger wingspan, while the operational aft NATO Sea Sparrow launcher was replaced with an a test launcher laced with sensors to measure heat, vibrations, overpressure, and sound levels.”

Many places aboard Wasp will be tested for a wide range of reasons in support of the F-35B. Some of these spaces will be tested for heat stress and other hazards.

“The Engineering Log Room will be looked at closely by the flight test engineers,” said Curcio. “The area above the log room is one of the primary landing spots for the aircraft and will be subjected to the most stress. We want to know exactly how much heat and sound is transmitted through the flight deck and into that space to see if there will be any issues for those crew members who regularly work in there.”

In addition to the ship itself being prepared for this momentous occasion, Wasp Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (AB) from Air Department will also attend training at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

“We will take a contingent of AB’s to Pax River with us to work with the real-life jets that will be flying out,” said Curcio. “So they can practice every evolution that could possibly happen on the flight deck, both planned and contingency, during flight test operations.

According to Curcio, only five F-35B test aircraft have been delivered to flight test operations at Pax River from the factory. These prototypes are the product of millions of man hours of work and represent the full ingenuity and industrial strength of the United States.

“Though they cost a lot, one cannot really put a price tag on the capability they will bring to the fleet,” said Curcio. “They are truly priceless and the goal is to have absolutely no surprises when it comes to operating them at sea. The Wasp Air Department team will be prepared to address any situation, routine or emergency.”

As Wasp and her crew prepare to help test one of the worlds most technologically advanced jet fighters, Curico realizes that this will be a tremendous team effort.

“With any new piece of equipment being tested, there will some road blocks,” said Curico. “Since the crew will be working together on this, Wasp will be writing the book on how to operate the Joint Strike Fighter at sea.”

Unread postPosted: 10 Sep 2011, 04:27
by spazsinbad
I'll keep 'an eye out' for more WASP F-35B testing news - meantime here is something 'axiomatic' for some of us:

America's Third Air Force: Future of the Marines By David Axe : June 17, 2011

http://defense.aol.com/2011/06/17/ameri ... e-marines/

"...When she arrived off the North African coast, Kearsarge functioned as an aircraft carrier, albeit a much smaller one than the Nimitz- and Enterprise-class supercarriers. Her four Harriers -- carrying camera pods, precision-guided bombs and air-to-air missiles -- flew some of the first aerial missions of the now two-month-old intervention. They comprised, in essence, a self-sufficient, miniature naval air force. Those capabilities might pale when compared to a super carrier's 50 fixed-wing warplanes, but they were there when they needed to be and they worked.

Kearsarge had departed her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, as an amphibious assault ship; she returned in May as a de facto light aircraft carrier -- and a vision of the U.S. Marine Corps of the future."