Possibility small STOVL carrier USN/USMC

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post25 Jan 2017, 17:33

The Navy is not "buying" the SH, Congress keeps giving them some on top of their budget allocation.

That's why it's an "unfunded" request.
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steve2267

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Unread post25 Jan 2017, 17:56

SpudmanWP wrote:The Navy is not "buying" the SH, Congress keeps giving them some on top of their budget allocation.

That's why it's an "unfunded" request.

Well, stooopid me. Now it all makes sense.
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Unread post25 Jan 2017, 21:27

One can only download a severely edited 10 page PDF version of the complete article but hey - truncated it is free.
Coastal conquests: USMC and USN look to build amphibious fleet to match threats
04 Jan 2017 Michael Fabey

"Facing increasing enemy threats in the littoral, the US Navy and US Marine Corps are looking to extend their reach, power and punch, relying more on ship-launched aviation operations and studying onboard missile systems to change the scope of traditional amphibious missions.

The US Navy (USN) is looking at ways it can work more closely in the littoral, while the US Marine Corps (USMC) is searching for ways to fight further from the coast to help the navy establish and maintain sea control using aircraft and possibly missiles.

While naval strategists say the navy and marine team must change the way they do business to execute their missions in contested littoral environments, US officers in charge of amphibious programmes say they are studying some operational sea changes and looking to develop unmanned systems, greater command-and-control networks, and more capable ships for the tasks. All of this will require a review of, and changes to, the current shipbuilding plan: something that is happening with the next-generation amphibious ship development programme - especially in the wake of president-elect Donald Trump's promise of a 350-ship fleet and the USN's recent force structure study that calls for 355 ships, including an amphibious warship fleet increase by four to 34.

New aviation
No ship has more fully embraced the new aviation mindset than the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), on which the navy and marines had eliminated the floodable well deck: one of the traditional features of an amphibious ship. Getting rid of that deck made room for the USMC's relatively large MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors and F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) and offered more hangar room than other assault ships for the aircraft, their related personnel, and their equipment, including mechanics and spares. The America class can also carry more fuel.

Delivered in March 2014, about 20 months later than planned, America reached its initial operational capability in 2016 and is homeported in San Diego. The ship has also recently received enhancements for aircraft, including a special heat-resistant, thermally sprayed non-skid deck coating to handle the F-35Bs.

In addition, the USN added intercostal [PLATES of steel] structural members to buttress the 'seven' and 'nine' landing spots, installed new support equipment and sensors, and adjusted shipboard antennas to clear a better flight path for the aircraft....

...With more capable USMC aircraft such as the MV-22 and F-35B entering service, the marines have started to change the way they look at manoeuvring near or along the coast in terms of bridging the gaps between shore and sea as well as gathering and using intelligence in that domain.

The marine-carrying Ospreys can launch from amphibious ships about 400 n miles away, covering that distance rapidly in their fixed-wing mode. The stealthy, sensor-packed JSFs can protect the MV-22s, weaken enemy defences, and thwart enemy sensors with electronic attack while collecting and relaying vital intelligence.

While the USMC is still working on getting F-35Bs out into the fleet, it has already started incorporating MV-22s into amphibious missions and the aircraft has have proven to be game-changers.

Having proved indispensable in performing humanitarian missions following the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, Okinawa-based Ospreys later showed their potential combat mettle in the 'Talisman Sabre' exercise along Australia's Northern Territory coast in July that year....

...Shoring up the fleet
Overall the marines say they need 38 amphibious ships, but the USN can only currently provide 31. HII officials say the company remains on track for delivering the amphibious ships the USN has ordered - and which the marines so urgently need....

...The USN commissioned the CSBA to produce a study meant to shape the service's future force structure. In a report that is part of that study the CSBA states, "The amphibious warfare competition is now entering a new phase because surface-to-air missiles [SAMs] and anti-ship cruise missiles [ASCMs] have achieved ranges and lethality that enable them to threaten ships and supporting aircraft 200 n miles or more away. This could allow a defender to use a relatively small number of defences to protect long areas of coastline and significantly constrain the attacker's options for an amphibious assault."

While Russia and China readily deploy complete battle networks of sensors, platforms, and weapons to pose major challenges to US amphibious forces, the CSBA says that below them "are several middle-weight powers who lack the full spectrum of capabilities available to Russia or China, but whose weapons can offset US strengths and create severe operational challenges for the United States. ASCMs are a particular cause of concern for maritime forces because they are comparatively affordable compared to ballistic missiles and less complex to manage and operate than fighter aircraft. Eighty countries currently possess ASCMs and 22 build them".

The navy and marines should "rebalance amphibious assault ship loadouts toward aviation to increase the range and amount of fires they can provide", the CSBA states. "Amphibious ships will need to operate at the edges of contested areas to reduce their vulnerability and enable them to support multiple, distributed amphibious operations in a region."..."

Source: http://more.ihs.com/IHSJanesDefense?ret ... %2Epdf&a=1 (1.4Mb)
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 post26 Jan 2017, 02:45

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/e325bba7-f ... calls.html

John McCain's Plan Calls for More Mini-Aircraft Carriers.

Here's What He's Talking About.
We already have them.

By Kyle Mizokami
Jan 24, 2017
 
In his blueprint for increased defense spending released last week, Senator John McCain, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recommends building what he calls a high/low mix of aircraft carriers. The high end we already have. These are the Nimitz and now Ford-class of supercarriers. But what is the low end of the mix, and what would it look like? It would look like ships we have now. Last week, Senator McCain released "Restoring American Power: Recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2018-2022 Defense Budget". The Senator from Arizona endorsed growing the U.S. Navy to 355 ships, a number that the Chief of Naval Operations, the military head of the Navy, supports. But McCain doesn't want all of the funds to go towards traditional big-deck aircraft carriers like the ones that we have now. McCain says: "The Navy should also pursue a new "high/low mix" in its aircraft carrier fleet. Traditional nuclear-powered supercarriers remain necessary to deter and defeat near-peer competitors, but other day-to-day missions, such as power projection, sea lane control, close air support, or counterterrorism, can be achieved with a smaller, lower cost, conventionally powered aircraft carrier. Over the next five years, the Navy should begin transitioning from large deck amphibious ships into smaller aircraft carriers with the goal of delivering the first such ship in the mid-2030s."

McCain is almost certainly talking about the America-class amphibious assault ship. The America class is 844 feet long and displaces 45,000 tons fully loaded. Designed to carry the better part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit, it has a full-length flight deck, aircraft elevators, and a large hangar to support aircraft. The America class typically carries a mixture of Marine aircraft on cruises, including F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, AH-1Z attack helicopters, UH-1Y utility helicopters, V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transports, and CH-53E Sea Stallion heavy lift transports.

The America looks like a carrier, and for all intents and purposes it is a part-time carrier for the U.S. Marines. The Navy could go one step further and actually make it a real carrier by building them to carry the Marine Corps' version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the vertical takeoff and landing F-35B. The amphibious assault ships could be easily converted to carry up to 23 Navy F-35Bs at a time, or just under half as many fighter planes as a supercarrier.

Building such carriers would be an acknowledgement that the hulking Nimitz and Ford-class supercarriers are not the solution to every crisis. In big war situations that require large amounts of airpower—against Russia or China, for example—supercarriers are indispensable. While the likelihood of a big, conventional war has gone up in recent years, there are still existing conflicts, such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya, that could be serviced by a less capable America-class carrier.

These smaller, low-end carriers do come with tradeoffs. The small size and the lack of a full-length flight deck and aircraft launching catapults would make it incapable of hauling other aircraft that supercarriers carry, like the E-2C/D Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. The lack of the former would restrict the carrier's ability to detect distant threats and manage the battle in the air and the latter would make suppressing enemy air defenses more difficult. But those situations are more common in big wars, and for that we have the supercarriers. Smaller carriers could also not launch and recover near carrier-borne drones like the MQ-25 Stingray refueling and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle. Cost is another major issue that drives the argument. The first of the Ford-class carriers will cost an estimated $13 billion dollars. USS America, on the other hand, cost $3.4 billion. That's a pretty good number for being able to field half as many aircraft, with the caveats mentioned above. You could buy three America carriers for one Ford. Still, a force of America-class carriers might be more expensive to run on a daily basis just because of manpower costs: Ford has 4,660 crew overall. The three smaller carriers would have a total 3,600 crew members plus their air wing personnel, which would probably be at least another 500 or so each. That's at least another 500 personnel manning the smaller carriers—which, incidentally, could be sent to three different trouble spots around the world.

Just like any other complicated issue, there are arguments both for and against a high/low mix of carriers. America can get by on an all-supercarrier force, and it could also live with a high/low mix. That having been said, unless the costs of supercarriers is brought under control we could be forced into a high/low mix of ships. It wouldn't be a bad place to be.

:)
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 04:48

arian wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Plus, many more that would prevent large Aircraft Carriers from participating as well. So, honestly it's perplexing on how you can't see the need. For more Air Support for USMC Amphibious Forces???


If you're afraid of sending your aircraft carriers supported by dozens of Aegis ships and subs near a combat zone because "China has missiles etc."...then how exactly do you fix that by building what is essentially an aircraft carrier for the Marines and sending that into harms way without those dozens of USN escorts?

I mean, if a 10-1 superiority in ships and planes is supposedly not enough...then just get rid of the conventional forces altogether and just nuke everyone. If you can't do it with that than just give up right now.

Sorry I'm not buying these arguments. If you're sending in Marines in a situation where you're facing the entirety of the Chinese military then I would assume you're sending in the USN as well. What would the USN be doing if not doing just that?

Chinese put up a single SAM site on a coral reef and suddenly our Navy is useless?


You don't risk a Carrier Battle Group just because you can. No more than a Fighter Pilot intentionally fly's close in with another fighter. When he could have attacked him at BVR. Even if he is markedly superior to that opponent!

Also, Carrier Battle Groups are designed to operate in Blue Waters and Strike opposing forces by surprise and from an unexpected direction. (if all possible) So, tying a Carrier Battle Group to a Amphibious Group within the Littorals. Is like waving a sign saying here I am.....(dumb dumb dumb)

Honestly, in this case we are talking about two different types of Carriers and Roles! The CVN are Blue Waters Ships that project power at distance and with surprise. This proposed CVL would provide local Air Superiority and Close Support to Marines going ashore.....
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 04:58

madrat wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Sorry, land based aircraft are often to far away to offer timely support. If, that was the case we wouldn't need aircraft carriers in the first place.


And that is why the big flattops exist. Making them smaller doesn't really help. Go big or don't waste the money.




That is like saying just build Battleships and forget Corvettes, Frigates, Destroyers, and Cruisers.

You don't build Cruisers to perform the role of Destroyers! :doh:
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 05:01

Corsair1963 wrote:You don't risk a Carrier Battle Group just because you can. No more than a Fighter Pilot intentionally fly's close in with another fighter. When he could have attacked him at BVR. Even if he is markedly superior to that opponent!


Seems to me you're equating going to war with "risking" a carrier battle group. Because the arguments put forth here is "the Chinese have missiles so ships can be vulnerable". Well, that applies to anything and that would imply that anything is vulnerable and open to "risk".

Also, how exactly is this "risk' alleviated by a Marines carrier? What does this Marines carrier have that the USN carrier is missing?

Also, Carrier Battle Groups are designed to operate in Blue Waters and Strike opposing forces by surprise and from an unexpected direction. (if all possible) So, tying a Carrier Battle Group to a Amphibious Group within the Littorals. Is like waving a sign saying here I am.....(dumb dumb dumb)


Why would a carrier operate "in the littorals"? Littorals implies something within a few dozen km of coastline. Of course you wouldn't send a carrier in there.

And again why would re-creating a carrier by calling it a Marines carrier change anything here?

Honestly, in this case we are talking about two different types of Carriers and Roles! The CVN are Blue Waters Ships that project power at distance and with surprise. This proposed CVL would provide local Air Superiority and Close Support to Marines going ashore....


Yes...but...the limitations you have proposed for carriers are in no way alleviated by simply saying this other carrier has a different role. The limitations you propose (of which I'm not entirely convinced) are technical in nature.
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 05:08

madrat wrote:You mean that S-300 battery atop an artificial reef vulnerable to slipping down on to the continental shelf if it was undermined by torpedoes?


No I mean putting individual S-300 batteries on widely separated tiny little islands is not a particularity impressive opposition. You can't create an integrated AD in such a case (they are too far apart), they are practically fixed targets (no space to move them around the tiny spec of dust), and they can be relatively easily overcome one by one (they can't provide overlapping coverage or 360deg coverage), making them individually relatively vulnerable to stand-off weapons.

Placing airfields on the islands doesn't change this much either. They face the same problems: too small to carry much in numbers, too easy to isolate and "starve out".

Now if China has a massive blue-water Navy, that would be different. But in that case the islands wouldn't matter, and in either case China doesn't have anything sufficient in terms of a Navy to prevent the USN from dismantling these island-outposts if it wanted.

In any case China's island outposts aren't meant to challenge the USN since they can't. They are aimed at challenging competing claims from other neighbors like Vietnam, Philippines or Taiwan.
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 05:14

steve2267 wrote:
[*] Cost per airframe is significantly lower -- more airframes for their dollars.


I would be more concern with price vs capability. I think it's safe to say the exchange rate between the F-35C and Super Hornet very high.....So, let's purchase 100 Super Hornets instead of 75 F-35C. Yet, the exchange between the two is 10-1! (likely higher)
:doh:

[*] Two engines -- a safety argument.


This has been debunked so many times. That I will not waste the members time debating...... :bang:

[*] Tanker support -- the F/A-18E/F can tank future F-35Cs.


Future Tanker Support will come from the MQ-25 Tankers. Clearly, we don't want to take Strike Fighters away from Combat Missions to fly as Tankers!

[*] Keep production line warm - hedging bets on F-35C.[/list]


Better to push for more export sales of the Super Hornet. Then to take resources away for the F-35 Program. Which, is the cornerstone of the US Military for the next 30-40 years. Which, must be protected at all costs!
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 05:35

Corsair1963 wrote:
This has been debunked so many times. That I will not waste the members time debating...... :bang:



FWIW, I wasn't trying to debate these points... It was more like me thinking out loud and listing the only reasons I could think of to keep the SHornet line open.

Then Spudman stated that the US Navy is not requesting these SHornets... they are being "given" them by Congress, more or less, whether they want them or not.
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 05:48

neptune wrote:.John McCain's Plan Calls for More Mini-Aircraft Carriers.
....
These smaller, low-end carriers do come with tradeoffs. .. like the E-2C/D Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. .... The first of the Ford-class carriers will cost an estimated $13 billion dollars. USS America, on the other hand, cost $3.4 billion. ...manpower costs: Ford has 4,660 crew overall. The three smaller carriers would have a total 3,600 crew members plus their air wing personnel, which would probably be at least another 500 or so each. That's at least another 500 personnel manning the smaller carriers—which, incidentally, could be sent to three different trouble spots around the world... :)


LHA-6 Complement: 65 officers, 994 enlisted ....plus 1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge) for deployment..

..some of us believe the MV-22B can evolve into a similar AEW&C a/c..
...the Growler function may be built into the "Bee"...
...America with a complement of F-35B, MV-22B, MH-53K, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, MH-60S/R will be a deterrent regardless of where they are assigned, it will travel with LPDs, LXRs, DDGs and maybe even a CG NIFC-CA,... oh yeah and being diesel powered, a tanker or two.... that "up gunned thingee"...
...I'm quite confident the Corp is devising the correct numbers of each a/c type to overwhelm the ISRed tasks required!
... the Corp will come ashore but maybe the beach will be secured before the vehicles and support are to enjoy a pleasant LCAC boat ride to the fight (I hope!)...
:)
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 06:04

arian wrote:

Seems to me you're equating going to war with "risking" a carrier battle group. Because the arguments put forth here is "the Chinese have missiles so ships can be vulnerable". Well, that applies to anything and that would imply that anything is vulnerable and open to "risk".


I never made any such argument! My point was just to make a case for a dedicated Aircraft Carrier to Support USN/USMC Amphibious Forces. Which, is exactly what I did.....

Also, how exactly is this "risk' alleviated by a Marines carrier? What does this Marines carrier have that the USN carrier is missing?


Again I never made such a argument. I just stated we wouldn't want to risk a 8-10 Billion Dollar Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier within reach of the Littorals. This is hardly my view alone....


Why would a carrier operate "in the littorals"? Littorals implies something within a few dozen km of coastline. Of course you wouldn't send a carrier in there.


Simple the Amphibious Forces are tied to the objective. So, the Carrier Battle Group would have to operate within a sphere of ~ 500 miles (likely less) to provide air support. This considerably narrows the area it which the Carrier could operate. Making it a far easier target to acquire and attack....

And again why would re-creating a carrier by calling it a Marines carrier change anything here?


Because as I have said over and over. They operate in different roles and have different requirements. One (CVN) projects power at distance in Blue Waters. While the other (CVL) provides close in area defense and supports Marines going ashore!


Yes...but...the limitations you have proposed for carriers are in no way alleviated by simply saying this other carrier has a different role. The limitations you propose (of which I'm not entirely convinced) are technical in nature.


Honestly, the USN isn't going to build 10 New Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carriers to support 10 Amphibious Battle Groups. First, that is unaffordable. Second, it's overkill.....the USMC needs a platform to support ~40 F-35B's and a dozen Ospreys and/or Helicopters. It doesn't "need" a 100,000 ton Nuclear Powered Super Carriers with a crew of 5500. That cost 8-10 Billion Dollars to do that....

If, you can't understand that. Then you're on the wrong forum.....
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 06:09

neptune wrote:
neptune wrote:.John McCain's Plan Calls for More Mini-Aircraft Carriers.
....
These smaller, low-end carriers do come with tradeoffs. .. like the E-2C/D Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. .... The first of the Ford-class carriers will cost an estimated $13 billion dollars. USS America, on the other hand, cost $3.4 billion. ...manpower costs: Ford has 4,660 crew overall. The three smaller carriers would have a total 3,600 crew members plus their air wing personnel, which would probably be at least another 500 or so each. That's at least another 500 personnel manning the smaller carriers—which, incidentally, could be sent to three different trouble spots around the world... :)


LHA-6 Complement: 65 officers, 994 enlisted ....plus 1,687 Marines (plus 184 surge) for deployment..

..some of us believe the MV-22B can evolve into a similar AEW&C a/c..
...the Growler function may be built into the "Bee"...
...America with a complement of F-35B, MV-22B, MH-53K, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, MH-60S/R will be a deterrent regardless of where they are assigned, it will travel with LPDs, LXRs, DDGs and maybe even a CG NIFC-CA,... oh yeah and being diesel powered, a tanker or two.... that "up gunned thingee"...
...I'm quite confident the Corp is devising the correct numbers of each a/c type to overwhelm the ISRed tasks required!
... the Corp will come ashore but maybe the beach will be secured before the vehicles and support are to enjoy a pleasant LCAC boat ride to the fight (I hope!)...
:)


Problem with LHA's like the USS America. Is it is still mainly an Amphibious Assault Ship. Which, can only operate a small Air Wing and is extremely expensive to boot!

Which, is the case a New Purpose Built CVL. Which, would be far cheaper and could operate a far larger Air Wing.
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 15:18

Corsair1963 wrote:Problem with LHA's like the USS America. Is it is still mainly an Amphibious Assault Ship. Which, can only operate a small Air Wing and is extremely expensive to boot!

Which, is the case a New Purpose Built CVL. Which, would be far cheaper and could operate a far larger Air Wing.


When you say the USS America is extremely expensive, my response was "then a purpose-built CVL that carries twice the number of aircraft as her will NOT be cheap!"

In his Skunk Works book, Ben Rich remarked that the Air Force bought planes by the pound. I would not be surprised, then, that the Navy buys ships by the ton. The USS America weighs in around 45,000 tons, and appears to be able to only carry 24 F-35Bs (max) in a Lightning Carrier mode. How much will a ship weigh that can host 40 - 48 Lightnings? 90,000 tons?

But then I rememberd the HMS Ark Royal (Invincible class), which I thought weighed in around 10,000 tons. I was wrong, she weighed 22,000 tons, but she could carry 18 Harriers and 4 helos in an all aviation strike mode. So I will allow that a purpose-built medium carrier in the 40-50,000 ton range should be able to carry a couple squadrons of F-35Bs and several H-60s and probably a few V-22s. Doing this "cheaply", well, that might be the trick. I'm not convinced it would be "cheap".

That being said, I'm unsure this makes sense to operate as a local air superiority base for littoral operations as you are just putting another fat, juicy target in the middle of the hornet's nest that is shore based IADS and ASCMs. Isn't the USMC operational doctrine now to launch attacks from over the horizon? Isn't that from outside the littorals?

I dunno, it seems like the argument comes down to
  1. operate inside the littorals -- expensive due to amount of defensive firepower dedicated to ASCM defenses
  2. operate outside the littorals -- either ignore/evade IADS and find, fix, and destroy ASCM launchers
The problem with operating outside the littorals is that you get pushed further away as the range of ASCMs / anti-ship ballistic missiles increases. The problem seems to come down to range of your tactical air assets. And inflight refueling (IFR) seems to become more important.

An AGC within a few hundred miles of the target, and a CVG within a few hundred miles to extend an air-protection bubble around the AGC would seem to work. The longer legged the TACAIR elements, the larger the bubbles, the more ocean the enema has to search.

The question then becomes how many F-35Bs are needed to prosecute IADS / ASCMs launchers, support assault elements.

I'm thinking a minimum of twelve. Twenty-four would be better. Forty-forty-eight would be ideal.

That being said, an America-class LHA with a dozen F-35Bs plus MV-22s and MH-53Ks probably works for the assault element if the CVG can provide air support. And I don't see the SHornet being able to do that in the face of modern IADS. Going forward it would seem that F-35Cs with something akin to a stealthy X-47B providing tanking support (I hope that is what the MQ-25 turns out to be) and possibly missile truck duties, would be the ticket.

Maybe the Navy has it just about right.

TACAIR always wants more missiles. We bemoan the fact that the F-35 can only carry four AIM-120s... "if only it could carry SIX AIM-120s!" and someone else pipes up, "and a couple AIM-9Xs internally as well!"

With the Navy, it would seem to be "if only we could carry another squadron of planes"!
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Unread post26 Jan 2017, 15:21

Corsair1963 wrote:In addition 6-20 F-35B's based on LHA's/LHD's. Are not enough to support those Marines going ashore. Especially, against a large and well equipped opponent......


A MEU is not going to be tasked with facing a large and well equipped opponent alone.

Corsair1963 wrote:Problem with LHA's like the USS America. Is it is still mainly an Amphibious Assault Ship. Which, can only operate a small Air Wing and is extremely expensive to boot!


That is a feature, not a bug. The entire purpose of Marine air is to support the GCE.

Which, is the case a New Purpose Built CVL. Which, would be far cheaper and could operate a far larger Air Wing.


What leads you to think that a 45K+ ton conventional carrier is going to be cheaper than an LHA? The de Gaulle sure as hell wasn't cheaper, and that's not accounting for inflation.

You really want to greatly increase the support for amphibious operations? Push the Navy to actually fulfill their naval gunfire requirement.
Last edited by pmi on 27 Jan 2017, 08:27, edited 1 time in total.
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