FY2018 Budget Details

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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marauder2048

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Unread post14 Jul 2017, 03:47

Navy sponsored naval aviation studies from the mid-to-late 90's have to be treated with
a great deal of caution and scepticism. Coming off naval aviation's poor performance
in Gulf War I and the various Super Bug development travails, this was a pretty
bleak period for naval aviation even within Navy circles; DOD-wide it was worse.

So to rebut criticisms, the Navy staged a bunch of exercises which resulted in a bunch of studies.
Many of these exercises were contrived and unrealistic e.g. Surge '97.

Even so there was a major takeaway that's consistent with observations from actual wartime experience:
(from CNA '98 referenced in the JHUAPL study):

"the number of pilots is typically the limiting factor in sortie generation during high-intensity flight operations"

in other words, you bump into personnel limits before exhausting ordnance or fuel.
So naturally, the Navy should do one or more of the following:

a. The carrier deploys with a substantially augmented aircrew in peacetime
b. The carrier is substantially augmented with aircrew while in-transit/in-theatre by COD aircraft
c. The carrier has a large contingent of unmanned strike aircraft

But very little of that is happening even at the exercise level.

And the only guidance the Navy has given has been towards smaller carrier air wings which is
why they are recurring theme in all of the future fleet studies which look at the 30 year shipbuilding
plan.

So that's why you get the recurring theme of smaller, cheaper carriers embarking smaller carrier air wings.
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arian

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Unread post14 Jul 2017, 05:06

marauder2048 wrote:Navy sponsored naval aviation studies from the mid-to-late 90's have to be treated with
a great deal of caution and scepticism. Coming off naval aviation's poor performance
in Gulf War I and the various Super Bug development travails, this was a pretty
bleak period for naval aviation even within Navy circles; DOD-wide it was worse.

So to rebut criticisms, the Navy staged a bunch of exercises which resulted in a bunch of studies.
Many of these exercises were contrived and unrealistic e.g. Surge '97.

Even so there was a major takeaway that's consistent with observations from actual wartime experience:
(from CNA '98 referenced in the JHUAPL study):

"the number of pilots is typically the limiting factor in sortie generation during high-intensity flight operations"

in other words, you bump into personnel limits before exhausting ordnance or fuel.
So naturally, the Navy should do one or more of the following:

a. The carrier deploys with a substantially augmented aircrew in peacetime
b. The carrier is substantially augmented with aircrew while in-transit/in-theatre by COD aircraft
c. The carrier has a large contingent of unmanned strike aircraft

But very little of that is happening even at the exercise level.

And the only guidance the Navy has given has been towards smaller carrier air wings which is
why they are recurring theme in all of the future fleet studies which look at the 30 year shipbuilding
plan.

So that's why you get the recurring theme of smaller, cheaper carriers embarking smaller carrier air wings.


That CNA study was done based on results from Surge 97. And those results would likely be the ones used to compare CVN vs CVM/CVL in the previous page.

Image

Image

These are the tables of interest in that CNA study (which the JHUAPL "study" just references but then assumes it resolves the issue entirely).

So pilot availability is usually the major constraint. However, that can change depending on the type of weapons used or the assumptions on the availability of air crews. Turnaround time can become a major constraint otherwise.

In any case, this is based on a CVN's capabilities. It does not mean that in a CVM or CVL, the turnaround time won't be the major constraint given smaller deck space, smaller crew, less space for equipment etc.

So it's not fuel and ammo availability per se. It's ability and space of ground crew to service airplanes. Availability of fuel and ammo is really only in issue in the time it takes to transfer those things to the carrier, and the impact that has on flights.

So that's the problem with the JHUAPL thing: it cites a source which says that "crew" is the limiting factor, and assumes that this implies no difference between the different carrier designs in this respect. That's not what the USN says, however (you may say Navy studies are flawed, but they are all using the same Navy source in any case)

PS: And in any case the CNA study uses a pilot utilization rate of 1.3 (1.3 sorties per day), but that's below the 3 maximum allowed. So we can assume (well we don't have to assume, that's last rows of Table 7) that in situations of temporary surges, the pilots will almost never be the constraints since the turnaround constraint won't allow for 3 sorties per day per Table 4 above, and depending on weapons, it can be far below that. And that's in a CVN. In a smaller carrier, it would be a lot worst.
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marauder2048

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Unread post14 Jul 2017, 23:43

Turnaround time only emerged as a constraint in Surge '97 because:

1. 68% of strike sorties has a distance to target of 0 -100 nautical miles
2. 22% of strike sorties had a distance to target of 100 - 200 nautical miles

Those are highly unrealistic distances which resulted in unrealistically low
mission times and thus exerted greater pressure on turnaround.

Against a near-peer, distances to targets will be far greater, mission planning/briefing/debriefing
of aircrew will be longer and there's greater strain from longer mission times which will
likely result in pilot utilization rates falling to unity or below.

So again, aircrew augmentation/heavier reliance on unmanned strike becomes imperative.

But again, the Navy isn't doing that and is guiding towards smaller air wings.

The Navy did implement some of the suggestions in the study like following Air Force
practices by permitting naval aviators to use stimulants (Provigil) and sedatives (Sonata)
which might improve utilization rates.

The other big issue that goes unmentioned is that CVNs were intended to operate with
nuclear escorts which now no longer exist (but should). And the major reasons
for nuclear escorts were their ability to match the CVNs steaming abilities/endurance at all times and
the (less remarked upon but still vital) ability to tow the CVN in the event she becomes disabled.
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arian

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Unread post15 Jul 2017, 00:05

marauder2048 wrote:Turnaround time only emerged as a constraint in Surge '97 because:

1. 68% of strike sorties has a distance to target of 0 -100 nautical miles
2. 22% of strike sorties had a distance to target of 100 - 200 nautical miles

Those are highly unrealistic distances which resulted in unrealistically low
mission times and thus exerted greater pressure on turnaround.

Against a near-peer, distances to targets will be far greater, mission planning/briefing/debriefing
of aircrew will be longer and there's greater strain from longer mission times which will
likely result in pilot utilization rates falling to unity or below.

So again, aircrew augmentation/heavier reliance on unmanned strike becomes imperative.


I don't disagree, but we are in agreement that what becomes the bottleneck depends on operational circumstances.

However...you don't design a carrier or procure a carrier for only one scenario of "near-peer adversary". You design it to handle as many scenarios as possible. A CVN allows for greater flexibility in that sense. And secondly, when speaking of near-peer adversary there will also be times when "surge" conditions will be needed, a situation where turnaround time becomes the bottleneck.

At the end, what I'm pointing out that those "studies" which simply brush aside this issue by simply saying "it's all the same limiting factor regardless of carrier", are flawed from the get-go.
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neptune

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Unread post15 Jul 2017, 21:58

arian wrote:... there will also be times when "surge" conditions will be needed, .....


.....with the F-35C, on-station......the surge a/c must be a stealth AQ-2x "missile mule"; not more 4th gen "targets" but acutal contributors, (25-30 missile mix) with; autonomous launch, "Wingman" and RTB for "reload/ refuel" and "rinse and redo"......

....the AQ-2x (F-35D) should include an ISR component (F-35 EOTS (no development)) and a remote F-35 AN/APG-81 AESA Radar for the F-35C (passive radar modes).....2nd gen F-135.....2X fuel capacity, range/ persistence.....</= 100Klbs.
:)
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arian

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Unread post16 Jul 2017, 00:18

neptune wrote:
arian wrote:... there will also be times when "surge" conditions will be needed, .....


.....with the F-35C, on-station......the surge a/c must be a stealth AQ-2x "missile mule"; not more 4th gen "targets" but acutal contributors, (25-30 missile mix) with; autonomous launch, "Wingman" and RTB for "reload/ refuel" and "rinse and redo"......

....the AQ-2x (F-35D) should include an ISR component (F-35 EOTS (no development)) and a remote F-35 AN/APG-81 AESA Radar for the F-35C (passive radar modes).....2nd gen F-135.....2X fuel capacity, range/ persistence.....</= 100Klbs.
:)


Ehh, Ok I can't follow with all those punctuation marks. But in any case, that's an issue of the airwing. What you put on a carrier, over its 50-60+ year lifespan, will obviously vary over time.

The arguments for or against a particular carrier design seem to revolve around some pretty strong assumptions:

1) We're going to be striking 1,000 miles away, and at that point pilot and airframe becomes the limiting factor, so we don't need a carrier with a lot of extra margin.

Well, first of all, the limiting factor in such a scenario is likley to be tankers, rather than pilots or airframes. You can fit more tankers in a bigger ship to support the same airwing (if you're assuming organic tanking). Which is why the USN is interested in UAV tankers. Second of all, over the lifespan of a carrier, in the past or in the future, probably no more than 1% of combat sorties would be of such duration. It would be a pretty bad idea to limit yourself to one extreme scenario, and offer a platform that even in that scenario probably has many shortcomings compared to a CVN.

And in any case, this "1,000 mile" scenario involves two things. The first is the "area denial" scenario. I personally don't buy it and I think its major hype and the USN loves the hype to justify more investment. The threat is fantasy, imho. But that doesn't matter. Whatever the threat is, this "area denial" issue is a temporary one. That is, in an actual war, the idea is to dismantle the enemy's ability to keep you off-shore so that you can eventually get closer and begin higher strike rates. You...penetrate...over time. In a war the idea is not sit 1,000 miles off China's coast and conduct a 6-month war from there. It is to remove the enemy's ability to deny you movement, so you can begin the actual war-winning tasks. So even in that case, the carrier will need to do both deep projection and high sortie rates. The second "1,000 mile" scenario is for penetrating deep into enemy territory (over land). That's a fair scenario to consider, but in any case the vast majority of any nation's targets are located a lot closer to shore, so even in that scenario, a very small % of strikes would be that far.

Of course each conflict will be idiosyncratic, and we can have situations like Afghanistan where we need to strike 1,000 miles inland because of lack of friendly airports. But because each will be idiosyncratic and you can't really predict what you'll face over the next 60 years, you want to have the carrier design that gives you the most flexibility.

2) UAVs are the future

Yes, and that probably aids the case for CVN even more. Once you remove pilots from the equation, having more space and greater turnaround ability seems like a good idea. For whatever foe, and in whatever scenario.

3) They cost a lot less so we can have more

Well, they apparently only cost about 8% less over their lifetime then a CVN. Marginal.

4) We can have more, so they can be in more places at once

Well, that contradicts the "China" scenario. In such a scenario, you want concentrated mass of carriers, not having individual carrier groups spread out. Adding carriers together does not lead to an additive increase in capability but a "synergistic" one. So in any case, the USN isn't going to be operating carriers in that fashion.
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sferrin

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Unread post26 Jul 2017, 00:10

arian wrote:This is a good talk by the guy who ran the Ford-class project. He tackles a lot of these issues of costs and capabilities of various carrier designs. Definitely worth a watch.



Another one:

"There I was. . ."
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 18:45

The Senate just passed it's FY2018 NDAA

The bill allots $10.6 billion for 94 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which is two dozen more than Trump requested. The bill also provides $25 billion to pay for 13 ships, which is $5 billion and five ships more than the president sought.


https://nypost.com/2017/09/19/senate-ap ... ense-bill/
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 19:30

SpudmanWP wrote:The Senate just passed it's FY2018 NDAA

The bill allots $10.6 billion for 94 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, which is two dozen more than Trump requested. The bill also provides $25 billion to pay for 13 ships, which is $5 billion and five ships more than the president sought.


https://nypost.com/2017/09/19/senate-ap ... ense-bill/


Until Congress can eliminate sequestration, DoD will never see that amount.
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 19:35

If the POTUS signs it they will.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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afjag

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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 19:42

SpudmanWP wrote:If the POTUS signs it they will.


What passed was the NDAA (National Defense Authorizations Act). Until sequestration is lifted, Congress is limited to appropriating an amnount that is about 2/3 of what is authorized.
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 19:59

The NDAA has passed both the House and Senate and both versions have more F-35s than what the DoD requested. Once it's reconciled it goes to POTUS for signature. Given that both had more F-35s that were requested the likelihood of the final version that goes to POTUS "not" having more is zero.
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 20:07

SpudmanWP wrote:The NDAA has passed both the House and Senate and both versions have more F-35s than what the DoD requested. Once it's reconciled it goes to POTUS for signature. Given that both had more F-35s that were requested the likelihood of the final version that goes to POTUS "not" having more is zero.


The NDAA does not give DoD the authority to actually procure anything in the absence of an appropriations bill. In these wacky political times, our budgetary process is limited by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_Co ... ct_of_2011

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_Co ... ct_of_2011

https://www.csis.org/analysis/what-has- ... nt-defense
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Unread post19 Sep 2017, 20:16

If what passes and is signed by the POTUS has the extra F-35s, that is all that is required for the DoD to buy the allotted amount.

The NDAA "IS" the appropriations bill.

From your own link:

Another important reason the effects of the BCA have not been as severe as originally predicted is that the defense budget has not actually been cut to the level originally prescribed in the BCA. The three budget deals enacted since 2011 have raised the budget caps for FY 2013 to FY 2017. Moreover, Congress and DoD have used the OCO funding loophole to supplement the base budget at a level of roughly $25–$30 billion annually according to my analysis. These last minute deals and budget maneuvers have largely protected defense from the full effects of the BCA.
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Unread post20 Sep 2017, 19:48

SpudmanWP wrote:
The NDAA "IS" the appropriations bill.



No, it's an authorization bill, more of a policy document, and an intermediate step in the budget process. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 is what the actually funds the budget.
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