Possibility small STOVL carrier USN/USMC

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post03 Jun 2014, 11:05

I know most BIG GUN USN OR US MIL types don't get it. Oz ain't going toe to toe with Chin. No way Jose. What our LHD task force needs is better protection and NOT just from/with the AWD and other RAAF assets. Read what the good prof above has suggested. This is where I'm headed. GET the Bees ashore as soon as on at FOB and get them back onboard when needed as the LHD moves around the target archipelago OR moves with a much larger formation of USN/USMC likely assets along with other local allies. The Oz LHD is in a protected warship category needing extra protection from/with the fleet. The F-35Bs add to that protection in the same way 4 YES FOUR A4Gs provided Fleet Defence as I have described ad nauseam now to the ASW carrier HMAS Melbourne. She was NOT a strike carrier. AFTER we gained more A4Gs that potential was there and tested but primarily her role was ASW along with the defender destroyers ASW assets.

So get that into proper perspective. Oz is not going toe to toe by herself with some big gun opponent. OK? The LHDs are not built to that standard NOR do they have appropriate self protection for that. The AWD (Air Warfare Destroyers and RAAF assets) provide a lot of protection but youse can never have enough when youse need it. Right? Am I right? I can't HEAR YOOOOOO! :devil:

Have a read of the PDF now crunched down in a double page spread attached and here is a quote from it for ya.
"...The ship has been conceived as a “protected unit” in the sense that her defence is charged specifically to other units that may be submarine, surface or airborne and is in all cases a “valuable unit” because of its nature and the cargo she carries on board. For this reason the weapons on board are limited to four 20 mm cannons that provide moderate close-in self defence. She has a reserve of space and weight so that self-defence weapons may be integrated in a later phase: MK-38 assemblies (automatic system with remote control from the CIC) for asymmetric defence and 2 SEA RAM assemblies for anti-missile defence.

On a Command and Control level, the ship should integrate all the domestic and NATO systems in a wide set of classified networks that confer the capability to act as command ship at brigade level in amphibious operations and even as the naval HQ HRF command ship...."

This URL keeps break so here it is in full for copy/paste without the leading 'h':
ttp://www.navantia.es/ckfinder/userfile ... ingles.pdf
Source: http://www.navantia.es/ckfinder/userfil ... ingles.pdf (2.3Mb)
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folleto LHD_marzo_para navantia_inglesPRNpp8.pdf
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Unread post03 Jun 2014, 20:15

spazsinbad wrote:I know most BIG GUN USN OR US MIL types don't get it. Oz ain't going toe to toe with Chin...
Trust me, I get it; but the point remains that buying/operating a dozen F-35Bs, modifying the ships, and modifying naval operations might cost more than you're willing to pay for the benefit of a sea-control-ship.


I know I've been harping on ya about buying a ski-jump ship without STOVL jets, and I've also been one to state that more American allies need to operate naval TACAIR; but now that the idea for LHD-carriers is getting traction, I not so sure.
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Unread post03 Jun 2014, 21:29

Faint hearts never won no fair maiden nor no wars. You are only guessing at any potential cost to 'modify' our LHDs (I'll presume both to makes sense) to occasionally sometimes at odd intervals embark enough F-35Bs to provide cover temporarily in a required situation. We are not talking about an aircraft carrier LHD such as the Spanish will operate from time to time and they have planned for that.

Temporarily embarking a small number of F-35Bs is not going to harm anyone except the noses of those who do not want this. However the precedent has been set. You know what that is. You know why that is. So deal with it.

We know the F-35B is easy to operate in STOVL mode both VL and STO (we can only guess at this point off the sky jump which is approximately the same as CVF - certainly it has the same exit angle). The pilots of said beasts will be comfortable for their required short stay onboard for open ocean transit and any lily pad stops when operating from ashore to LHD and back again as required as mentioned by the good prof above. To bolster this capacity of course there will be training from time to time and again no big deal with the easy to fly F-35B from a flat deck.

Otherwise the BeesKnees need a role away from LHD duties - which will be most of the time. I believe I have mentioned that already. Our RAAF have giant tankers that can refuel the B nonchalantly in the required radius of action of the F-35A. Again no big deal.
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Unread post03 Jun 2014, 22:07

An example of part of the ADF OpArea:
Helicopter dock ships boost defence
22 Feb 2012 MARK DODD

"...the Australian Defence Force's primary operating environment extends from the eastern approaches of the Indian Ocean to the island states of Polynesia and from the equator to the Southern Ocean. "This area encompasses 25,000 islands, 85,000km of navigable waterways....”

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 6277605880

& bases in Oz from: http://resources.news.com.au/files/2012 ... review.pdf
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 03:02

Quite a sensible softly softly approach to figuring out the F-35B on LHD issues - in public anyway. Lord O mercy the RAN have had a third LHD on the table for at least a decade - the CoN at that time made that public. So there is a lot of material in the building for/against such an idea. Perhaps it needs to be updated in the light of the performance of the F-35B these days and known issues that pertain to the LHD etc. But hey ships are modified in refit all the time. So no big deal if some minor mods required. The emphasis is on required - and they may not be for sometime F-35B use.

Tony Abbott issues clear signal to China saying government 'strongly discourages' unilateral actions in the region
04 June 2014 James Massola

"Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia "strongly discourages" unilateral actions in the South China and East China seas, urging no change to the status quo in the region, in a clear signal to China over its recent territorial claims....

...Separately, Mr Abbott said the government would not take a decision on the acquisition of the F-35B. [?]

And he has played down the prospect of an imminent decision on Australia acquiring the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, which is the "jump jet" version of the fighter.

That decision would not be taken for quite some time, Mr Abbott said. "That will be a matter that will be covered in the defence white paper."

The purchase of these jets would allow the Navy's amphibious assault ships to be converted into aircraft carriers. [It does the cause no good to refer to the LHD with F-35Bs as 'aircraft carriers' - hit the bastard with a soft rubber mallet.] :doh:

The defence white paper is due to be handed down in 2015."

Source: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal ... 39hyp.html
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 03:05

Chiefs weighing in to clarify details of what's required for LHD conversions for a dozen Bs.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/ ... 39gl0.html

"One of the big issues with having fixed-wing aeroplanes come back onto a ship is you've actually got to get them back in poor weather, so there would be new radars required on the ship as well as instrument landing systems, so there'd be some extensive modifications around that."

Chief of Navy, Vice-Admiral Ray Griggs, said further modifications to the ship would include making the deck heat resistant, and changes to fuel storage and fuel lines, weapons magazines and classified compartments for storage.

"This has been a fairly superficial examination up until now because there hasn't been a serious consideration of this capability going into the ship."

Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, said it was too early even to say how the F-35B would fit into the Australian Defence Force.

Much work was needed to decide even how useful they would be, how much they would cost and what sacrifices would be needed to buy them.

"I think we're in a situation where a new government has come in, there's a White Paper been evolving for a while ... The Prime Minister has ... a view about a capability he ... thinks might be relevant to the ADF. He's asked us to look at that


Its driven by PM. I agree with lookieloo, this issue will decided by cost and its surprising considering how much flak Abbott got for approving the F-35A whilst signing off on an austerity budget. imo, it may be a strategy to look strong on defence.

Looking at the comments thus far, doesn't seem like its going to be major technical hurdles; cost will be the main obstacle. I can't see how much more ILS or radar is required when the entity are already operating helos. Existing radar (including sea giraffe) should be capable of operating in bad weather. If I'm not wrong, the LHDs are using a Kelvin Hughes system (Sharpeye?) to track the helos. if Sharpeye, that's an air traffic management system that shouldn't be restricted to just helos. The landing speed of the F-35Bs is also low (75 to zero kts on hover) and doesn't differ that much from the flight profile of helos. But then these are generalisations and the arms will still do the necessary due diligence. It might be the chiefs taking opportunity to add some systems or if they are against, this can be a ploy to hike the cost to be cost-prohibitive e.g. they need an AEGIS radar (when its not required). Even if Aegis radar required, they can leverage on the Hobarts with datalinks until it reaches the range of the SRHCR (which they can rename as the S-RACR or S racers for short). Aviation fuel same for helo & jets so its a question of sufficiency but then there's the oilers. Then there's weapons storage but as mentioned, the Canberra's volume is "HUGE" so there should be space.

Other than that, the flight deck thermal management based on FBO past data appears to be less than $12.5m (intended to last lifetime and likely significantly less as contract above $5m are normally announced ) so it doesn't seem like it would be massively cost-prohibitive. The biggest cost will be the planes but if one is going to buy F-35As anyway, then the cost will represent only the difference in price between A&B ($30m each). The As & Bs will have munitions compatibility including JASSM, SDBs (likely RAAF will procure), JDAM (-ERs) etc so that's not real extra cost.
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 03:27

more or less same quote 2nd from bottom of previous page but whatever. Probably one item being missed in the list (and I agree that if helos are operating then whatever equipment is there will be fine for the F-35B occasional use) MUST include JPALS. That should not cost too much. I'll imagine the RAAF will buy JPALS eventually but I have seen no evidence of that so far - must admit I have not been looking though. Another item might be a more suitable VL indicator system for the F-35B and the Helos (rather than one there now for just helos). The existing system may be OK or not. I have no idea on that.

From my perspective a lot of B/S is going to be thrown before during and after the 2015 white paper. However it will be good to see all the details of arguments for / against which at the moment are very obscure (to civvies anyway).
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 03:45

spazsinbad wrote:more or less same quote 2nd from bottom of previous page but whatever. Probably one item being missed in the list (and I agree that if helos are operating then whatever equipment is there will be fine for the F-35B occasional use) MUST include JPALS. That should not cost too much. I'll imagine the RAAF will buy JPALS eventually but I have seen no evidence of that so far - must admit I have not been looking though. Another item might be a more suitable VL indicator system for the F-35B and the Helos (rather than one there now for just helos). The existing system may be OK or not. I have no idea on that.

From my perspective a lot of B/S is going to be thrown before during and after the 2015 white paper. However it will be good to see all the details of arguments for / against which at the moment are very obscure (to civvies anyway).


Sorry about as it took me a long while to type. The system did prompt that your post came after but didn't change the link as your quote didn't mentioned the 2nd half.

There's an additional lesser role that's not been considered. The Canberras could be considered for use as aircraft tenders, something that's only applicable with the Bs and not As. The role was what HMS illustrious fulfilled in WW2 with Malta. The land route to Malta was closed after Vichy took over North Africa and the RAF had to ship planes by sea (CVs being the only option). The aircraft were launched at safe range near Gibralter (away from Sardinia/Sicily) to fly/deploy to Malta. Basically, if the As do not have capability to self deploy (even with Tankers) to remote airfields e.g. A Taiwan/SCS scenario, then the Canberras can be used to transport the Bs to those locations. This tender role can also aid in combined Allied operations e.g. shipping F-35Bs of other nations e.g. UK or Singapore F-35Bs under FPDA auspices or USMC F-35Bs that happen to locate in Australia.

The option may not be well-received by the RAAF as this can prompt a switch from existing As to Bs but it will expand the expeditionary options for the RAAF/RAN. Might be not necessary today due to the long range of the As (plus tanker) but it does expand the number of airfields that the RAAF can deploy to. In such cases, it might actually render the aircraft more survivable (a la Harrier+Reforger scenario) but again, that requires detailed analyses. On the other hand, It might appeal to RAAF pilots who could have the opportunity to cross deck fly with UK CVF, US CVNs/LHDs with the F-35Bs again making it easier to attract pilots to join the forces.

Operating merely as a tender could require significantly less modifications (no need weapons storage/fuel/flight operations etc) i.e. cheaper if modification cost becomes prohibitive. The vessels are afterall transport vessels so in this case, they transport aircraft rather than troops.
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 04:00

Hmmm in effect the 'aircraft tender' idea is covered firstly by the good prof in a previous article posted here (probably over on the last page before this one) and the idea I have expressed. However it must be kept in mind just what an LHD is - a PROTECTED high value asset - the LHDs are not going barging in somewhere they are not wanted close to shore. The LHDs need protecting during open ocean transits where RAAF air cover might be problematic due the situation. Having your air cover on board temporarily is a good idea (proven as described earlier in an earlier age) whilst offloading the F-35Bs ashore once that task complete relieves the stress on the system. The F-35Bs may help secure the airfield on their way in along with any other assets but it ain't going to be a frontal assault situation. I say again - extra fleet defence for transit and then the Bees go ashore to be supported by the RAAF again.
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 04:12

spazsinbad wrote:Hmmm in effect the 'aircraft tender' idea is covered firstly by the good prof in a previous article posted here (probably over on the last page before this one) and the idea I have expressed. However it must be kept in mind just what an LHD is - a PROTECTED high value asset - the LHDs are not going barging in somewhere they are not wanted close to shore. The LHDs need protecting during open ocean transits where RAAF air cover might be problematic due the situation. Having your air cover on board temporarily is a good idea (proven as described earlier in an earlier age) whilst offloading the F-35Bs ashore once that task complete relieves the stress on the system. The F-35Bs may help secure the airfield on their way in along with any other assets but it ain't going to be a frontal assault situation. I say again - extra fleet defence for transit and then the Bees go ashore to be supported by the RAAF again.


There is a difference (and the focus of the article if you're talking about the navyleague one is on CAS). A LHD will eventually need to land troops and hence the final leg will need protection. A tender doesn't require the last leg if the plane flies off. This is safer than normal ship transport which will need to dock in the port to offload. Protection is enhanced by extending the ship to shore range. Tenders are essentially aircraft transport vessel with incidental onboard aircraft operation capability. Ironically, re-classifying the Canberras as LHD cum tenders might sell in diplomatic-speak (same as how Japan classifies their flat-tops as destroyers).
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 06:13

No - I could have been clearer but I was not referring to the Navy League CAS article. That would be justification for a proper aircraft carrier or two. Perhaps of the STOVL SkyJump variety - another discussion altogether.

Prof Mal Davis top of page here (Pts1&2): viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12631&start=855

Firstly our LHDs already have two missions. They should firstly perfect those missions. Sure if other missions such as your 'tender' proposal are formulated then well and good. However I'll say again. The LHDs are high value assets and will not be storming any nearby beaches that have not been well neutralised beforehand. Otherwise (depending on situation) they will remain well offshore out of harms way - waiting for the tide - to turn.

One thing perhaps overlooked is the fairly recent purchase of ROMEO ASW (& other stuff) helos. Here you have the old mix of ASW/fixed wing NOW on a different type of flat deck with the ARMY. Believe me IF I was ARMY I would be wanting all the fleet protection possible - if only temporarily until I get ashore. Then other assets take over that role.

I'll still insist with this new possibility (F-35Bs on LHDs) seemingly an idea which time has come (if only for the next year or so until more details are made available in the interim) that the new LHDs need to perfect their current two roles and anything inbetween, looking to the horizon as always for the new opportunities we have been describing. Freck the situation up top may deteriorate such that an aircraft carrier becomes a real possibility. But that is a stretch at present.

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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 07:37

And I cannot disagree because the fleet protection role is something that I've been stating could be beneficial for 1/2 sqn sized LHDs since as early as July 2010.

http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy- ... n-10410-3/

I don't ASW helo + fixed wing joint ops will be a big issue. On the simplest case, it could just mean segregating roles e.g. Hobarts takeover handling the ASW helos when the Canberras operate the fixed wings. Its more complicated but not something that would be impossible. USMC would also provide valuable experience on how they operate fixed wing+helo on the same vessel.
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 08:07

This thread started with my input - surprising from ELP - go to the top of page 1 this thread and watch me battle the forces of EVIL. ChickenMan - he's everywhere - he's everywhere - BacBakBacBAAAAAA!!!!!!

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12631

So I used to be part of the A4G Fleet Defence VF-805 1971-72. It is good that people discuss these issues however I'm certain we do not know enough. Be patient - I'm certain more will be revealed for and against the idea we discuss at moment. I'm not privy to any inside information just what is in public domain. I still say a lot needs to happen to just get the LHDs on mission and squared away whilst they also host F-35Bs most likely from USMC and take it from there.

In the end as the radio prof commentator says (earlier in this thread?). The Federal Politicians take advice from the ADF then the Pollies make their minds up, with other considerations in mind (obviously political) which may ignore all or part of the excellent advice given by the ADF team. I'll say again til I'm blue in the face. Plans change all the time as situations change. Only a few years ago the soon to be CDF AM Binskin was saying as CAF that only a full 100 F-35As would suffice [with a most adamant - NO F-35Bs]. Then 2 doz Supers came along then one doz Growler. What next? :devil:
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Unread post04 Jun 2014, 19:09

Anyone a subscriber?

Air Force looking at F-35B/LHD combination
04 Jun 2014 Nigel Pittaway | Canberra

"The RAAF is looking at the feasibility of operating the STOVL F-35B variant of the JSF off the decks of Navy's two LHD amphibious warfare ships, according to Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown...."

Source: http://www.australiandefence.com.au/new ... ombination
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Unread post05 Jun 2014, 18:55

Excerpt from transcript from Oz Senate Committee re argybargy about 'Oz F-35Bs on LHDs' possibility 8 PDF attached from:

THIS PDF HAS NOW BEEN AMENDED SLIGHTLY due to error in not formatting the first answer correctly - only a minor thing though - error corrected in new PDF attached.

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/sea ... %2F0000%22
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