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Subdeacon Joe

5th Generation VSTOL Makes First Shipboard Landing

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Hope it is more stable than the Harrier.

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Come a long way from the old "POGO".

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Saw some of the initial concepts and workups on it before I retired. It has a really complex vectoring system compared to previous VSTOLs. I really had questions on the durability back then, hope they have made some changes to the design.

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Impressive but what real purpose does it serve and what threat is it designed to counter?

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The F35 has 3 versions (as of now)....Land based (airforce), carrier (navy and the VSTOL (marines). It is supposed to replace current inventory, a one plane air arm...flashback - remember MacNamara's F111 fiasco :o The VSTOL is slated to replace the Harrier as a battlefield ground support a/c able to support frontline troops from unimproved landing areas near the frontlines.

 

Only time will tell if it is successful in ALL the missions it is envisioned to operate. I have my doubts. :o

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Impressive but what real purpose does it serve and what threat is it designed to counter?

 

 

I'm no military afficionado...but would this permit faster recovery and launch times on a carrier? Is that of strategic value? And I assume that you could land and launch from land without large runways, and in more restricted spaces.

 

Besides...they remind me of Flash Gordon....

 

 

LL

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Impressive but what real purpose does it serve and what threat is it designed to counter?

 

The biggest plus for it is that it doesn't need as much deck or runway as conventional aircraft. It's a fast mover so can be to where the trouble is faster than a Warthog or helo. Designed as a multi-role aircraft it can fill ground support, recon, and air defense missions. Maybe not as well as a single purpose aircraft, but if the reality is close to the promise, it should do well in just about any role.

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The biggest plus for it is that it doesn't need as much deck or runway as conventional aircraft. It's a fast mover so can be to where the trouble is faster than a Warthog or helo. Designed as a multi-role aircraft it can fill ground support, recon, and air defense missions. Maybe not as well as a single purpose aircraft, but if the reality is close to the promise, it should do well in just about any role.

 

Not that anybody gives a rat's big behind what I think, but I will reserve judgment until we have

had some hands on real life experiences. I find that one size fits most is not always the best

solution to a problem or even an imagined problem.

 

Not to take anything away from our pilots and their level of training and skill. But I would hate

to send young pilots into the wild blue yonder to do battle with something that will not give them every advantage possible.

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Hope it is more stable than the Harrier.

 

The Harrier technology is almost 45 years old. I saw the first ones at MCAS Beaufort when I was at Parris Island. They were very unstable, not too reliable, and had a payload about like a Schwinn bicycle. I hope we've moved beyond all of those problems.

 

I can see all sorts of uses for the F-35.

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With the type of conflicts we are currently fighting in the problem always remains is some raghead with a shoulder fired missle probably supplied by friends in the CIA shoots down a $158 million airplane and lost of the pilot. (The military plans to purchase 2,443 of the aircraft through 2035 at a total cost of some $385 billion).

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VTOL means quick cycle and rearming times but at the cost of low ordanace load. It takes a LOT of energy to lift vertically. The Brits partially addressed the problem with the "ski jump" bow. IIRC the Soviets did the same thing; not sure if the current Russian Navy has any carrier capability at all.

 

The conventional "big deck" carrier can haul a LOT of airplanes and they can be of different types. There are no VSTOL varients of the E-2, C-2, or EA-6 series that I'm aware of. Each of those aircraft have an important role in the carrier battle group. As noted, there is a lot of complexity in vertical take off machines (helos, Ospreys, Harriers, etc.).

 

Right now we don't face a major adversary at sea. That's a Good Thing. That situation will likely change over time. For the present the big deck carrier gives us the flexibility to counter to any threat with a variety of responses (from UAV or cruise missles to full-blown assault, including deployement of Marines).

 

SQQ

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According to my friends in the Navy the correct term for big deck carrier is Missle Magnet.

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According to my friends in the Navy the correct term for big deck carrier is Missle Magnet.

 

They are also referred to as "bird farms." ;)

 

The problem of being a "missle target" has been around since the Soviets deployed lots of cruise missles aboard such ships as the Kresa-class cruisers and Krivak-class frigates and Kynda-class guided missle cruisers. Google them and you will be impressed by their level of armament. They had a single mission: sink the CVA before they got sunk. No nation in the world today (outside of some NATO countries) begins to put such firepower to sea. The Chinese and Indians are the closest but are a mere shadow of what the Soviets were. We still deployed big deck carriers in the face of such opposition. Why would we behave differently now?

 

SQQ

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VTOL means quick cycle and rearming times but at the cost of low ordanace load. It takes a LOT of energy to lift vertically. The Brits partially addressed the problem with the "ski jump" bow. IIRC the Soviets did the same thing; not sure if the current Russian Navy has any carrier capability at all.

 

 

The Russian Navy has the one ship The Admiral Flota Sovetskovo Soyuza Kuznetsov, which is scheduled for an overhaul from 2012 to 2017 but is not the equal of an American carrier. Read more at:

 

http://en.wikipedia....miral_Kuznetsov

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Don't know much about the former Russian carrier's, but the one mentioned in the wikipedia article, Varyag, that was sold to the PRC has been undergoing sea-trials.

 

It is also said that the PRC is reverse engineering this carrier and building their own "new" carrier from the keel up.

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Nothng is going to change as long as the blue water admirals are in charge. Our conflicts are taking place in brown water and no one is going to risk billion dollar weapons systems that close to shore. I believe it makes more economic sense to build smaller carriers which would require smaller crews and escort ships. But then, I believe the Navy made a big mistake doing away with battleships.

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I was aboard the USS Guam (LPH-9) when a Harrier made the very first ever shipboard landing in April of 1971. I was high on the signal bridge when the first Harrier AV-8A came roaring in in normal flight, vectored her turbines to near vertical and seemed to stop on a dime over the flight deck. The pilot then eased off the throttle and the bird settled slowly to the deck.

 

Impressive as all get out, I'll tell you!

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It seems all our Generals and Admirals want is more and more expen$ive weapons systems instead of sticking with simplier tried and true aircraft.

 

Consider the low regard for the Harrier until the Falklands War.

 

The A-10 Warthog was scheduled for removal from service until Gulf War 1.

 

Both aircraft proved their critics wrong.

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It seems all our Generals and Admirals want is more and more expen$ive weapons systems instead of sticking with simplier tried and true aircraft.

 

Consider the low regard for the Harrier until the Falklands War.

 

The A-10 Warthog was scheduled for removal from service until Gulf War 1.

 

Both aircraft proved their critics wrong.

 

Your analysis of the history, here, is wrong.

 

The Harrier was never "low rated." It was well respected for what it did. Because the RN had retired all its conventional carriers the Harrier was modified for a limited Air-to-Air capability (an application of the Necessity is the Mother of Invention concept). It worked because the Argentine Air Force was not really equpipped for a war at sea. Their only maritime patrol capability were some P-2 series aircraft that were not well maintained. They had less than 50 Exocet missles (according to reports) and only one kind of aircraft (their few Super Etenards) could carry them. The rest of their capability were a couple of squadrons of A-4 series aircraft with iron bombs. The Argentines best reflect your philosophy of "simple and cheap." It didn't work out when they met somebody with "more sophisticated and more expensive."

 

The A-10 was designed as a "tank killer." It was an aircraft built around a 30mm Gatling Gun. It was never intended that it operate without fighter cover. In the Gulf War we had already eliminated most of the Iraqi air defense capability (aircraft; command and control; missle batteries; etc.). This meant that they could operate without a lot of fighter cover, but that cover was there anyway. They also had lots of EW (electronic warfare) support from the EA-6 and other EW platforms. Again, it was the Iraqis that were "simple and cheap," not us.

 

Your philosophy is widely held, but has been proven wrong time and time again.

 

SQQ

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I have no experience with Navy warfare and tactics so I am here to learn. You fellows are great teachers. I ask the question, and it is only a question, about the future of the aircraft carrier in

future naval conflicts. I had heard that the cost and application of smart weapons had rendered the carrier somewhat obsolete. It was destined to become the battleship of the future and be moored along side them in peaceful ports.

 

Will smaller and different types of ships become more effective in dealing with our enemies?

The submarine comes to mind, as well as the missile frigates.

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As long as the United States intends to project power abroad, a carrier (with associated strike group support) will be required.

 

Where the Navy is placing more emphasis now is on littoral combat ships (LCS) and Riverine craft (think brown water Navy from Vietnam, PBR's).

 

The Riverine units operate on the inland waterways, the LCS are designed to operate close to shore while still having some blue-water capability, and then the blue-water ships (CVNs, DDGs, CGs).

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SQQ,

 

As long as we disagree on friendly terms all is well. :)

 

I still say bring back the IOWA class battleships. :FlagAm:

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I still say bring back the IOWA class battleships. :FlagAm:

One of the biggest issues with the Iowa class BB's as compared to newer ships of the fleet - inefficiency.

 

Through Vietnam, these ships were manned by approximately 2,700 men.

 

After they were returned to service in the 80's, they still required ~1,800 men.

 

At a time when the services are trying to make do with less (including people) it wouldn't work.

 

I won't give numbers but I will tell you that we are deploying ships today that are significantly undermanned - all classes.

 

I love to see the old BBs and would love to have one refitted with modern propulsion & electronics, but it's just not in the cards.

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I have no experience with Navy warfare and tactics so I am here to learn. You fellows are great teachers. I ask the question, and it is only a question, about the future of the aircraft carrier in

future naval conflicts. I had heard that the cost and application of smart weapons had rendered the carrier somewhat obsolete. It was destined to become the battleship of the future and be moored along side them in peaceful ports.

 

Will smaller and different types of ships become more effective in dealing with our enemies?

The submarine comes to mind, as well as the missile frigates.

 

Your question regarding "smart" weapons is a fair one. They certainly mean we'll take some hits. If the hit is nuclear then it's "adios, muchachos." If it's conventional then it's a question of how big.

 

Large ships can take more punishment than small ones and still retain operational capability. During WWII we did not lose a single fleet carrier to direct enemy action. In the early days when we lost Lexington, Yorktown, etc. they were scuttled due to our inability to remove them from the combat area and get them to a repair facility or engage in "self repair" at sea. Even later on at Okinawa a number of ships were hit and able to resume flight ops with a few hours. Some, like Franklin and Enterprise, did need yard level repair. They were victime of early "smart weapons" (a/k/a the Kamikaze).

 

Perhaps more to the point are the experiences off Viet Nam when some ships suffered serious, accidental fires. Pretty much without exception they were able to resume flight ops within a reasonable time. Yard repair came later.

 

In WWII we did lose some of the "small, unsophisticated" carriers to air, surface, and sub-surface attack. So did the British. And so did the Japanese. Again, the bigger ships fared better.

 

Subs are very capable and very good at certain tasks. They are not good at other tasks. Ditto for surface war ships. You need a mix so that you cover the broadest possible spectrum of potential threats. That's why carrier battle groups include the "bird farm" along with surface and subsurface escort vessels.

 

The ultimate question, of course, is "what are your foreign policy goals?" The Navy (as well as the other Armed Forces) exist to impliment national policy. Tell me what the policy is and I'll tell you what you need to impliment it. Tell me what I have and I'll tell you what I can do with with it. Carriers (like everything else) are just tools in that national box.

 

SQQ

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Thank you for your informative reply SQQ. My perception is flawed, I am sure, but from what I have seen in the last twenty years, we have not been faced with a nation that is armed with a world class Navy. Most of the navy ops have been directed at land based objectives. I would suppose that the aircraft carrier would be ideal for off shore bases for aerial contact, and smaller ships for clandestine operations as well as troop operations.

 

That said, I am concerned with other nations that might possess a large and dangerous Navy presence in our waters. Russia, China and North Korea come to mind. Of the three, Russia is the

only one that I am aware of, that currently possesses a capability but I understand that China and North Korea both have a potential to become a dominant sea power. What they might bring the party is anybody's guess.

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SQQ,

 

Several US carriers were sunk as a results of enemy action with no scuttling.

 

Yorktown CV-5 sank due to damage sustained from the torpedoes fired by I168. Following torpedo hits and dive bomber hits. No scuttling torpedoes.

WASP CV7 was hit with 3 scuttling torpedoes yet failed to sink immediately, she did sink at 2100 no time given for the torpedo firing.

I list wasp only because she sank as culmination of all damage and not as a result of the scuttling torpedoes.

Hornet CV8 was damaged in combat, attempts to scuttle failed US forces backed off and 4 torpedoes fired by two Japanese destroyers finally sank the Hornet.

 

The Hornet was the last USN carrier sank by enemy action.

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McNamara's idea (if it was his) was a reasonable idea; One aircraft for all 3 flying services. Yet the problem was that the service chiefs (navy and air force) could not agree on a single set of requirements hence a plane that was really multiple planes; a form of version expansion or creep. The F111 was a flawed design as a fighter. Fighter designs are supposed to be high performance, low drag, small frontal cross section etc. I have yet to see side by side seating in a successful fighter plane if any.

 

Remember how well the F4 served the USN, USMC and USAF. While it was several versions they were somewhat more like evolutionary steps vs versions required for F111 service. Not that the F4 was a great plane..... yes a brick can be made to fly if enough power is used.

 

It would appear that the AF could use a Navy plane but not necesarily the other way around.

But as a normal matter of US military "toy" acquisition most services want to develop their own toys at great expense creating the "most expensive toy in the toy box".

As a taxpayer, I would rather see this form of one up manship cease and have them work together to create what they REALLY need, not the most expensive item.

I don't think anyone believes that the F16, F18 or F35 will ever be the tank buster that the A10 at a fraction of the cost is.

 

Crank up the A-10 line and keep em flying. Risking a $100 million aircraft to drop a few bombs on a mud hut does not make any sense to me.

Although we could also go with those remotely piloted aircraft. And they are cheaper still.

 

On the F-35 project there is not one plane but several planes. Same version expansion/creep problem as the F111.

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One of the biggest issues with the Iowa class BB's as compared to newer ships of the fleet - inefficiency.

 

Through Vietnam, these ships were manned by approximately 2,700 men.

 

After they were returned to service in the 80's, they still required ~1,800 men.

 

At a time when the services are trying to make do with less (including people) it wouldn't work.

 

I won't give numbers but I will tell you that we are deploying ships today that are significantly undermanned - all classes.

 

I love to see the old BBs and would love to have one refitted with modern propulsion & electronics, but it's just not in the cards.

 

I feel the battleship has a role in today's Navy for brown water action. Consider that during Gulf War I battleships used their 16-inch/50 caliber guns to provide naval gunfire support to troops ashore. Each gun (there are nine) can fire one, 2,700lbs armor-piercing shell more than 20 miles every 30 seconds. During Desert Storm, 1,102 16-inch rounds in 83 different missions were fired.

 

In addition to the 16-inch guns, the Iowa class ships were used as launching platforms for Tomahawk cruise missiles. Overall, 282 Tomahawks were launched from 16 surface ships and two submarines. 64% of these strikes were in the first 48 hours of the war.

 

The power plant in BB's could be upgraded to nuclear at a fraction of the cost of building a new major new warship.

 

The armament of BB could be changed. Remove a 16" gun turret or two and add guided missles lanchers such as the proposed USS Kentucky.

 

BB's are built to take lots and lots of punishment. Consider what it took to finally sink the Bismark and how little it took to disable the USS Cole. With over a 12" armor belt of real steel I would like to see what a Exocet missle would do. Although in fairness to the crew of the USS Stark you have to have a competent Captain.

 

But I am in agreement with you about the fate of our battleships. With three of them now in museums their time is past.

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There are large problems with the LCS program too

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCS-1

and

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/plenty-of-blame-to-go-around-for-disappearing-warship/

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/06/shipbuilder-blames-navy-as-brand-new-warship-disintegrates

 

And for an over view of the whole LCS program mess (and bear in mind that the VSTOL F35 was intended to provide the air support for these LCS vessels as the big bird farms do not like to get close to shallow water or coastlines)

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/tag/lcs/

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