F-35B (Non-US) Pocket Carriers

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1st503rdsgt

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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 13:59

I've stated in previous posts that one of the F-35B's good points is the capability it offers to US allies who've been shut out of front-line naval TACAIR for decades by the high costs of CATOBAR ships and operations.


While discussing this recent article on LHA-6 AMERICA over on Spaz's long thread, http://defense.aol.com/2012/10/03/navys ... ous-ships/ I started thinking:

-How many of the non-US flat-decks already out there could actually be adapted to the F-35B? (perhaps not that many)

-Would any countries without carriers consider investing in such assets if the F-35B proves workable?

-What would be the minimum size for a useful Bee carrier?

-How would a dozen or so non-US Bee carriers change the international security picture?
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spazsinbad

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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 14:28

Britain, Spain & Italy have 'designed for F-35B' ski jump carriers of varying sizes with the Brit CVF being the largest. The F-35B is large and heavy - decks, lifts, hangars must be able to accommodate it so some smaller flat decks are likely not to be suitable. However this does not rule out occasional cross decking in emergency situations; but not otherwise for sustained ops. For example on these cross decking excursions it is likely a low fuel F-35B will VL for some appropriate small amount of fuel to STO for recovery back to 'mother' (home flat deck) and on with the show.

A useful size for an F-35B flat deck operator would be one that accommodates the KPPs (with or without ski jump).
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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neptune

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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 15:14

1st503rdsgt wrote:...recent article on LHA-6 AMERICA ....


The Spanish LHD Juan Carlos; has a flight deck of 202 metres (663 ft), with a "ski-jump" ramp. The ship's flight deck has eight landing spots for Harrier, F-35B JSF .. The ship can carry up to 30 aircraft in aircraft carrier mode, using the light vehicles bay as an additional storage zone.

Australia has contracted the Aussie LHDs Canberra and Adelaide based on the design of the Juan Carlos and at nearly 28K tons, the LHDs are the largest Aussie ships.

Australia is purchasing two F-35A from LRIP6 to be delivered in 2015.
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 15:17

spazsinbad wrote:Britain, Spain & Italy have 'designed for F-35B' ski jump carriers of varying sizes with the Brit CVF being the largest. The F-35B is large and heavy - decks, lifts, hangars must be able to accommodate it so some smaller flat decks are likely not to be suitable. However this does not rule out occasional cross decking in emergency situations; but not otherwise for sustained ops. For example on these cross decking excursions it is likely a low fuel F-35B will VL for some appropriate small amount of fuel to STO for recovery back to 'mother' (home flat deck) and on with the show.

A useful size for an F-35B flat deck operator would be one that accommodates the KPPs (with or without ski jump).


So it's like madrat said, around 20K tons, but there is this old blurb about the new Korean LPHs, which are somewhat smaller. http://theasiandefence.blogspot.com/200 ... t-for.html

Of course, I'm not sure if the support structures you mentioned are present (or even possible) on these ships.

The same goes for Japan's Hyuga-class http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... /ddh-x.htm and upcoming 22DDH-class, http://www.defencetalk.com/details-of-n ... yer-27119/ for which the links respectivly speculate on F-35B use.
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 15:22

neptune wrote:The Spanish LHD Juan Carlos; has a flight deck of 202 metres (663 ft), with a "ski-jump" ramp. The ship's flight deck has eight landing spots for Harrier, F-35B JSF .. The ship can carry up to 30 aircraft in aircraft carrier mode, using the light vehicles bay as an additional storage zone.

Australia has contracted the Aussie LHDs Canberra and Adelaide based on the design of the Juan Carlos and at nearly 28K tons, the LHDs are the largest Aussie ships.

Australia is purchasing two F-35A from LRIP6 to be delivered in 2015.


Shhhhh, no one in Oz is even supposed to think what you're implying! :wink:
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 20:03

Oz LHD is 27,000 tons to be kind. NOT 20,000. Now that tonnage would appear to be a good start point don't you think? And there is no 'nod nod, wink wink' about operating F-35Bs from Oz LHDs because they will only cross deck as explained. What MAY happen in future is a third/fourth LHD specifically outfitted for operating F-35Bs but both 'this special LHD and F-35Bs' not planned.

Forget about a sub 20,000 ton flat deck. Probably starting from 27,000 is more reasonable. This flat deck must be designed to operate F-35Bs or similar from the get go.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 20:27

Japan is building 22DDH, we'll see if they purchase any Bee variant.
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 20:38

It will be interesting to see what kinds of modifications will be necessary to operate and support F-35 class aircraft on legacy platforms. The LHA America class and the CVN Ford class have been designed with the F-35 in mind. Older LHAs and CVNs will require changes to flight decks, hanger spaces and mx shops to accommodate the F-35 and its F135 engine and composite skins.
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 20:47

AFAIK the modifications to legacy USN flat decks are minimal. Already there has been some mention of the changes with costs (on this forum?). For existing CVNs I don't believe there are specifics yet. Any new aircraft onboard requires some modifications/changes however the aircraft has been designed from the beginning to fit aboard legacy flat decks. There may well be specifics - I'll gargle it NOT.

BTW probably the FINAL 4.4GB PDF about these and other matters (RAN FAA Fixed Wing) includes F-35 material and flat decks is available at SkyDrive:

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=CBCD63D6 ... 0707E6!296

Probably in a few days a new "how to deck land" excerpts PDF will be uploaded (made from this 4.4GB PDF with perhaps additions). A specific F-35 PDF may follow but who knows. Already older versions are available on SpazSinbad SkyDrive web page:

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=cbcd63d6 ... =822839791
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post04 Oct 2012, 22:51

South Korea: Asia’s Other Rising Naval Power By Dr. Robert Farley, October 2, 2012

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog ... val-power/

"...Similary, the Dokdo class amphibious warships suggest a maritime focus extending well beyond the Korean Peninsula. Like many amphibious warships, the 18,000 ton Dokdo strongly resembles a small aircraft carrier. As British and French operations in Libya last year demonstrated, amphibious warships can become strike vessels through the addition of attack helicopters. Although South Korea does not currently participate in the F-35B project, the prospect of flying the STOVL fifth generation fighter from Dokdo (or potentially from Dokdo’s successors) undoubtedly appeals to some South Korean defense planners. However, even if the tremendous expense of acquiring and operating such fighters proves daunting, the light carriers could someday employ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) optimized for strike and reconnaissance roles. In any case, the Dokdos give South Korea a plausible expeditionary capability.

South Korea’s robust shipbuilding industry (the world’s largest) helps support and underwrite the ROKN’s expansion and modernization. Four Dokdos and six KD-IIIs are planned, although actual construction may not match these numbers. If it does, however, this would represent one of the most potent naval warfare squadrons in the world, potentially capable of conducting many different missions in the region...."

I'll put my money on a successor to DOKDO (even if similar) operating F-35Bs in South Korean waters one day. Maybe Oz can buy one or two DOKDO successors on the cheap? :D
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post05 Oct 2012, 00:02

spazsinbad wrote:..the modifications to legacy USN flat decks are minimal. ...


With the Spanish LHD Juan Carlos designed to support the F-35B, what would be required to modify the Australian LHD Canberra and Adelaide to support the operations of the F-35B? :?:

The stealthy, ISR fast jet flying off the LHD would greatly increase the range of enhanced intelligence across Australia's area of influence, This would be as an alternative to the slightly slower and less stealthy ISR platform, Wedgetail. And of course, the commonality with their F-35A fleet.

The LHDs are of similar design and their hulls, ski-jumps and main decks are manufactured by the Navantia Shipyards in Ferrol, Galicia, Spain.
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Unread post05 Oct 2012, 01:20

'neptune' your sentiments re Oz LHDs and F-35Bs are appreciated by me but as discussed quite a bit on the 'very long thread' about such issues it seems that apparent from no 'obvious' changes there are many internal changes (compared to original Spanish design) in the Oz LHD that mitigate against having F-35Bs on Oz LHDs. The internal changes for Oz LHDs are to maximise use of current intended aircraft and support structures for Oz mission. Nothing will stop cross decking as described. My hope is that the 'penny will drop' in the same way 'the other shoe drops' so that it is realised how beneficial a dedicated flat deck for F-35B ops for Oz will be. Does not have to be another LHD and may well be an improved DOKDO class designed for such use. Whatever. This development would be some years away however.

The USMC F-35Bs will jump at the chance to go de jump de ski on our LHDs off Darwin or WA or even Sydney Harbour when they visit. They will make a big splash but not in the literal sense. :D I was hoping that the Brits would continue with one CVF for F-35Cs selling the other CVF to Oz to pay for it. Sadly this eventually was denied us but it will be beneficial to see/learn from not only the USMC but now the Brits jump jump jumping for joy.
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Unread post05 Oct 2012, 07:21

spazsinbad wrote:I'll put my money on a successor to DOKDO (even if similar) operating F-35Bs in South Korean waters one day. Maybe Oz can buy one or two DOKDO successors on the cheap? :D


Wait... what? Why would that be better than the ships you're about to get?
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Unread post05 Oct 2012, 07:30

Oz LHDs or Spanish LHDs are just that. A properly built (by experienced South Korean shipbuilders) 'modified DOKDO flat deck suitable for F-35B use' is what I'm talking about. I guess it would be the BIG version with mods for F-35B use - whatever they may be and praise the lord and pass the ammunition a bleedin' ski jump! If a properly modified for F-35B LHD built by Spanish is better then by all means - buy it.
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Unread post05 Oct 2012, 08:14

spazsinbad wrote:Oz LHDs or Spanish LHDs are just that. A properly built (by experienced South Korean shipbuilders) 'modified DOKDO flat deck suitable for F-35B use' is what I'm talking about. I guess it would be the BIG version with mods for F-35B use - whatever they may be and praise the lord and pass the ammunition a bleedin' ski jump! If a properly modified for F-35B LHD built by Spanish is better then by all means - buy it.


Besides looks perhaps, I'm not really seeing the difference between an enlarged Dokdo and the Juan Carlos ships. They're both well-deck assault ships, difference being that the Spanish design is ready to go with or without F-35s.

That's not to say the Koreans couldn't build a more purposeful carrier design if they wanted to, but I wouldn't consider it a Dokdo successor (about which I haven't heard any plans).

Perhaps you're referring to Japan's Hyuga-class successor, which doesn't have a well-deck and is a good-deal faster to boot. I also noticed that this design includes a rather large deck-edge elevator. Here's a CGI comparison with the Hyuga: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... h-pics.htm
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