France's Charles de Gaulle carrier and the F-35C? Why not?

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hurricaneditka

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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 04:51

(I'm new here, so be gentle)

AFAIK, France is the only country besides America to have built a modern CATOBAR carrier. Have they ever given any consideration to equipping the Charles de Gaulle with F-35Cs? If not, why not?
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 05:04

Because they've got Rafale Ms.
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 05:23

France usually only buys French made aircraft.

Made in France is very important to them when it comes to military hardware.
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 05:35

Either on 'the very long thread' but also on the 'UK MOD In a muddle' thread there will likely be info about 'WHY no F-35Cs on CdeG'. Why? Because there was talk of enabling cross decking of the touted at the time UK F-35Cs to CdeG ifNwhen the CVF(s) were converted to CATOBAR to take 'em. However (notwithstanding that 'cats n flaps' for UK never happened) it was determined that firstly the max. carrier landing weight of an F-35C on CdeG was going to be difficult along with max. take off weight from catapult. I have long forgotten these details because they are no longer relevant - the story is out there though. Probably searching this forum using 'Gaulle' will get a start? And here is a hit: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969&p=227211&hilit=Gaulle#p227211
U.K. Muddies Waters With Its Carrier Decision
02 July 2012 Francis Tusa | Aviation Week & Space Technology

"...in May, a senior ministry officer said that, “there are some issues about the physical cross-decking [of the F-35C] with France,” and went on to explain that the F-35C is too heavy to operate from the carrier Charles de Gaulle. This in itself is not surprising —the F-35C's empty weight is almost 60% more than that of France's Rafale M. What is surprising is that nobody saw the problem in 2010...."

Source: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 34.xml&p=1

And anotherie: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=15969&p=221583&hilit=Gaulle#p221583
EXCLUSIVE: Cameron in humiliating u-turn on future of Britain's aircraft carriers with return of the jump jet
16 Apr 2012 Tim Shipman & Ian Drury

"...The F-35C warplanes are also too heavy to land on the deck of France’s Charles de Gaulle carrier...."

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... riers.html

'popcorn' found some interesting info about lack of oomph perhaps in CdeG catapult (could be other reasons such as airframe strength - dunno) but anyway it is about the RAFALE so ignore it todally: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=16331&p=207401&hilit=Gaulle#p207401
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 post03 Mar 2015, 07:27

The Hawkeye has an empty weight of something like 40,000 lbs and max of ~57,000 lbs compared to 35,000/70,000 lbs for the F-35C. So, what is the problem??? Clearly, the F-35C could take off and land with reasonable load within that of the Hawkeye. :doh:
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 08:19

IF ONLY NavAv was so simple. The links to info in the forum above will likely have info in those threads to explain further.

Arrestor gear has a limit of not only weight but wheelspeed/groundspeed at arrest (add on WOD to have approach airspeed which will always be the Optimum Angle of Attack for that aircraft weight). So at any given weight under the maximum allowed landing weight to engage the arrestor gear (without breaking either it or the aircraft) is one limit that is crucial. For example the F-35C has a KPP max. landing weight (for max. bring back) with an upper limit on approach airspeed KIAS which is 145 knots. This has been explained quite a few times now.

So we have CdeG with some kind of arresting equipment which will have limits not only for maximum airspeed/engage weight but also runout distance on the angle deck. This distance limit will be when the last wire is engaged at max. weight / max. KIAS - what that might be for the RAFALE or an F-35C I have no idea (nor do I care). However using the weight of a prop aircraft approaching at Opt AoA is not the same as the KIAS is likely to be much lower compared to the JET aircraft. You can tell me what the Opt AoA / Weight is for the Prop.

Then there is the catapult. One of the URLs above points to the type of catapult. That catapult will have a maximum ability to shift a given weight to flying speed in the length of the catapult stroke. What that is again I do not give a damn. IF THE F-35C cannot land on the CdeG no point in finding out if it can be catapulted - correctez vu? Probably other websites will have info on the capacity of the arrestor equipment. Several times on this forum a graphic showing the capacity of USN current or recent arrestor gear has been attached.
Charles De Gaulle http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/gaulle/

'...The main deck consists of a main runway angled at 8.5° to the ship's axis and an aircraft launch area forward of the island. These are each equipped with a USN Type C13 catapult, capable of launching one aircraft a minute. The runway is 195m long and the whole deck measures 260m x 64m.
&
Propulsion and power plant
The Charles De Gaulle is equipped with two nuclear pressure water reactors, PWR Type K15, which provide a speed of 27kt...."

I have no reason to doubt this claim - so - IF the other newspaper/online claims above are true it looks to me as though the runout distance for the F-35C aircraft after engaging the arrestor gear is not sufficient (or the arrestor gear has been modified to decrease capacity?). Next to find is the landing area details.... OR the actual deck strength is not good enough in the landing area to take the KIAS/weight at arrest of the F-35C....
“European Security and the Revolution in Military Affairs”
20 Jun 2002 Carl C. Hodge

"...France’s new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, is designed to be compatible with U.S. Navy F/A 18s and has the same catapult and arresting gear as American Nimitz-class carriers...."

Source: http://www.nato.int/acad/fellow/99-01/hodge.pdf (240Kb)

This USN LSO info is a bit dated at 2010 but useful for ball park figures. For sure the KPP at MCLW Max. Carrier Landing Weight (defined in the KPP) is 145 knots MAXIMUM.
“The max trap weight will be around 46k lbs, with an empty weight of about 35k lbs. It will fly an on-speed AOA of 12.3° at 135-140 KCAS [Optimum AofA or Donut].”

Source: http://www.hrana.org/documents/PaddlesM ... er2010.pdf (no longer available)

After searching for a while WickedPedia looks appealing so here goes:
French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91)

"The ship [CdeG] carries a complement of Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard, Dassault Rafale M and E‑2C Hawkeye aircraft, EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar helicopter for combat search and rescue, as well as modern electronics and Aster missiles. It is a CATOBAR-type carrier that uses two 75 m C13‑3 steam catapults of a shorter version of the catapult system installed on the U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, one catapult at the bow and one across the front of the landing area.[4] ([4] Charles de Gaulle". GlobalSecurity.org. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2014.)"

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_air ... aulle_(R91)

Charles de Gaulle

"...Trials and technical problems
Charles de Gaulle entered sea trials in 1999. These identified the need to extend the flight deck to safely operate the E-2C Hawkeye. This operation sparked negative publicity, however, as the same tests had been conducted on both Foch and Clemenceau when the F‑8E(FN) Crusader fighter had been introduced. The 5 million francs for the extension was 0.025% of the total budget for the Charles de Gaulle project.

...Two catapults accelerate aircraft (Rafales, Hawkeyes, and modernized Super Étendards) to over 300 km/h in just 75 meters...."

Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... pe/cdg.htm


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_f_TiAqdkqU4/S ... e+Deck.jpg & from erehwon on the internet a CTOL carrier ROUGH comparison size deck wize.
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Charles De Gaulle Deck.jpg
CTOLcarriersComparoROUGH.gif
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 post03 Mar 2015, 10:22

Defence chiefs rethink carrier plan
16 April 2012 (UKPA)

“...The review also found the programme [F-35Cs] would not be compatible with France's aircraft carrier....”

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpres ... 542135494A

From an LSO Reference Manual 1999:
LANDING SIGNAL OFFICER REFERENCE MANUAL (REV. B) 1999

"E-2C Max trap weight - 45,500 pounds
AOA/SPEED Approximate max trap speed - 104 knots"

Source: http://www.volunteers-midway.org/assets/files/3403.pdf (5.6Mb)

and from somewhere on the intertubes CVN diagram with angle deck length (from LSO Ref Above) but also with how far apart are dem wires fings. So if no.4 wire caught then the max. pullout distance available is 786 feet MINUS approx. 300 feet to give 486 feet. NOW what is the pullout distance available on CdeG? Dunno but I'll wager this is an issue for HEAVY JETS arresting at HIGH KIAS etc.... CONSIDERING as indicated above at the Wicky that the E-2C prolly just makes it (considering deck had to be lengthened) at a much SLOWER approach speed and Equivalent Max Weight. Then factor in that the OPT AoA means that as weight decreases so does the KIAS. Noice - so the Max is a good benchmark. No?
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USNcarrierDimensionalLaunchRecoveryDataLSOreferenceManual1999.gif
USNcarrierDeckSchematicPRNrot.gif
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 post03 Mar 2015, 16:19

I found a link that worked claiming the F-35C was too heavy for the CdeG:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... riers.html

However I also found 2 articles on the Super Bug cross decking with the CdeG:

http://www.stripes.com/news/us-and-fren ... s-1.265315
http://www.avionslegendaires.net/2014/0 ... de-gaulle/

The weights of the F/A-18 E/F and the F-35C of these is not that different, about 2K lbs empty (less than 1000kg). The F-35 and F/A-18 Super Hornet may be restricted on the fuel and weapons load used for launching, both greatly exceed the Rafales 54k lbs and Hawkeys 57.5 K lbs. If the Super Hornet is not too heavy I cannot see how the F-35C is, they may have a bring back restrictions, like the launch limits.

That is no different than the Essex class (last retired 1991) vs Midway Class (1992) vs Super Carriers issues that Navy dealt with for decades. Both of those WW 2 ship classes made it to the 90's, they could not support the F-14s, or S-3s. These older vessels did operate the F-4, almost F/A-18 Super Hornet weight with original Hornet thrust....
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 21:02

The F-35C could be lighter than the Rafale M, and it still would not matter. The ultimate reason that the France will never operate anything other than Rafale M from their carrier has to do with their desire to maintain an indigenous military industrial base for fighter aircraft.
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Unread post03 Mar 2015, 22:36

'h-bomb' thanks for finding those articles. Good to know. No mention of what the restrictions on weight might be for cat/arrest. In any event the politicians in UK say it is not possible to operate the F-35Cs from CdeG - which may be for security reasons. For example it is known that secure facilities must be provided for brief/debrief (amongst other things) on an F-35 enabled flat deck. Perhaps security concerns are part of the problem? Vaguely I'm aware that may be an issue - or not - on our Oz LHDs. We will find out more about Oz/F-35Bs/LHDs by mid-year. Meanwhile here is GoogieTranslate:
Two Super Hornet on the Charles de Gaulle
14 Jan 2014 Avionslegendaires.Net

This is a first promising enough. Indeed, for the first time two US Super Hornet fighter-bombers have apponté and off the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Boeing F / A-18E belong to the VFA-105 squadron of the US Navy and is ordinarily engaged (as in the above view photo) on the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman CVN-75 alias.

It is in the Gulf of Oman region that these tests took place. Both drivers began with a series of touch-and-go on the deck of French building, before finally put their aircraft and cut reactors. VF-105 is currently engaged with hunters in the Task Force 473, which comes within the framework of international operation against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. An operation that also involved Charles de Gaulle and his naval group.

This mini event is important because we now know that in absolute terms, if necessary, an American pilot Super Hornet could come to rest on the Charles de Gaulle bridge, especially in the event that it is unable to reach its home building. We know that reciprocity between the Rafale M and US aircraft carrier is also possible.

It is also a small feat for American pilots used to working on a ship of 333 meters long that put their jets on the deck of a ship "only" 261 meters long. Emphasize this fact, as both drivers completed a feat.

Photo: Caption: "Super Hornet VFA-105 before the castle of the French aircraft carrier." Marine Nationale http://www.avionslegendaires.net/wp-con ... 00x399.jpg

Source: https://translate.google.com.au/transla ... edit-text=
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CdeG+SuperHornetJan2014.jpg
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 Mar 2015, 00:27

h-bomb wrote:I found a link that worked claiming the F-35C was too heavy for the CdeG:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... riers.html

However I also found 2 articles on the Super Bug cross decking with the CdeG:

http://www.stripes.com/news/us-and-fren ... s-1.265315
http://www.avionslegendaires.net/2014/0 ... de-gaulle/

The weights of the F/A-18 E/F and the F-35C of these is not that different, about 2K lbs empty (less than 1000kg). The F-35 and F/A-18 Super Hornet may be restricted on the fuel and weapons load used for launching, both greatly exceed the Rafales 54k lbs and Hawkeys 57.5 K lbs. If the Super Hornet is not too heavy I cannot see how the F-35C is, they may have a bring back restrictions, like the launch limits.

That is no different than the Essex class (last retired 1991) vs Midway Class (1992) vs Super Carriers issues that Navy dealt with for decades. Both of those WW 2 ship classes made it to the 90's, they could not support the F-14s, or S-3s. These older vessels did operate the F-4, almost F/A-18 Super Hornet weight with original Hornet thrust....

Well, you also have to factor in landing speed. Ultimately, the limiting factor is probably relative kinetic energy, both for launch and arrestment.
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Unread post04 Mar 2015, 01:10

Hornet and Super Hornet NATOPS - with engines specified - have these charts for 145 knot approach speed / weight at Optimum Angle of Attack. Links to NATOPS will be in this forum but anyway: https://publicintelligence.net/u-s-navy ... t-manuals/
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Super&HornetLandingApproachSpeedGraphNATOPS.gif
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 Mar 2015, 01:31

Best Bits start from the 3 minute mark of this SLOw MOtion video of French Aircraft on CdeG: http://theaviationist.com/2013/12/02/ch ... lowmotion/

Photo of Super Hornet Touch and Go approach CdeG: http://theaviationist.com/2014/01/20/ho ... h-carrier/

Image credit: DoD photo by Chief Petty Officer Bruno Gaudry, French Navy
http://theaviationist.com/wp-content/up ... et-CGG.jpg

GOOD VIDEO OF RECENT Catapults and Arrests:

Attachments
SuperHornetHookUpCdeGapproach.jpg
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 Mar 2015, 10:48

h-bomb wrote:I found a link that worked claiming the F-35C was too heavy for the CdeG:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... riers.html

However I also found 2 articles on the Super Bug cross decking with the CdeG:

http://www.stripes.com/news/us-and-fren ... s-1.265315
http://www.avionslegendaires.net/2014/0 ... de-gaulle/

The weights of the F/A-18 E/F and the F-35C of these is not that different, about 2K lbs empty (less than 1000kg). The F-35 and F/A-18 Super Hornet may be restricted on the fuel and weapons load used for launching, both greatly exceed the Rafales 54k lbs and Hawkeys 57.5 K lbs. If the Super Hornet is not too heavy I cannot see how the F-35C is, they may have a bring back restrictions, like the launch limits.

That is no different than the Essex class (last retired 1991) vs Midway Class (1992) vs Super Carriers issues that Navy dealt with for decades. Both of those WW 2 ship classes made it to the 90's, they could not support the F-14s, or S-3s. These older vessels did operate the F-4, almost F/A-18 Super Hornet weight with original Hornet thrust....

One minor detail is that the F/A-18E was flying with wingtip rails (no missiles) and center tank only. Combat bring-back load would obviously be heavier, and perhaps beyond the CdG arresting gear limits. Having to jettison the bombs and missiles before landing gets expensive.

Also, my understanding is that the F-4 traps put a lot more strain on the airframe in order to stop within the deck limits of a smaller carrier. F-14s also had larger bring-back compared to the F-4 as well.
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Unread post04 Mar 2015, 11:20

Yes agree 'neurotech' - without having all details (about Hornet/Super Hornet max. weights for arresting on CdeG) we can only guess - having a minimal arrestor gear pullout distance on CdeG is part of the worry. Not only for NOT breaking the gear to arrest the 'H/SH in available distance at that weight/groundspeed' BUT ALSO not to break the aircraft in doing so. Part of the complexity of NavAv that has been hinted at - however as I hope viewers can see - without details then we can only guess (with available information).

Good to know that the Hornet/Supers figured out how to arrest without breaking stuff on CdeG.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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