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Thread: CVF Construction

  1. #3121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    Errrr

    Just a quick question. This article notes that the stated price is for just one shipset. That for PoW.

    IF its £450mn per hull plus £400mn for adaptation of the second hull during build then we're already at £1.3bn without the refit cost for hull 1 and with no mention of lifecycle costs. Doesnt this demonstrate that switch to CATOBAR, assuming the absurd decision to mothball QE is reversed, WILL actually be quite a significant amount more than the £1.8bn indicated whole-life?.

    Costly for just a couple of hundred miles on the range and internal carry of 2000lb weapons.
    The point is the naysayers have been quoting £1.8 Billion upwards as the cost of converting one ship, before through life costs are taken into account. Once installed, the through life costs will also likely be a lot less than feared IMHO. Space and weight margins were incorporated in the CVF designs for eventual conversion with Steam Catapults, whereas EMALs takes up less volume and weighs about a quarter of a similar Steam installation (no donkey boilers for a start). Also the article reveals the US have already effectively decided for us that the Carriers are required, for their benefit as well as ours.
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    "Also the article reveals the US have already effectively decided for us that the Carriers are required, for their benefit as well as ours."

    Can they secure the destiny of the second CVF hull and share a bunch of Hawkeyes?
    If they can, i'll love them forever.
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  3. #3123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi Wan Russell View Post
    The point is the naysayers have been quoting £1.8 Billion upwards as the cost of converting one ship, before through life costs are taken into account. Once installed, the through life costs will also likely be a lot less than feared IMHO. Space and weight margins were incorporated in the CVF designs for eventual conversion with Steam Catapults, whereas EMALs takes up less volume and weighs about a quarter of a similar Steam installation (no donkey boilers for a start). Also the article reveals the US have already effectively decided for us that the Carriers are required, for their benefit as well as ours.
    I'm sure the US expressed similar wishes as CVA-01 was cancelled. Through life costs will feature the same recurring costs as any other catobar carrier....additional personnel, training, sparing and logistics and operational costs like throwing used wires over the side after the determined no. of traps. Wholelife even ordinary cat operation costs.

    Looks to me like someone confused the figure to shift to CATOBAR capability with the figure to convert one ship. North of £2bn though seems a lot to pay for payload/range benefits that are scarcely essential. Do we think, for eaxample, we'd be unable to do a Libya with a STOVL carrier flying off 400nm ranged strikers....would we be unable to tackle a recapture of the Falklands if we can only stand off 500nm from the islands putting precision CASOM fire in?.

    As Liger notes....if that £2bn is going to jeopardise Carrier Strike isnt it best to get the ships and the capability first and evaluate requirements as they evolve?.
    Last edited by Jonesy; 24th March 2012 at 14:06.

  4. #3124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    I'm sure the US expressed similar wishes as CVA-01 was cancelled. Through life costs will feature the same recurring costs as any other catobar carrier....additional personnel, training, sparing and logistics and operational costs like throwing used wires over the side after the determined no. of traps. Wholelife even ordinary cat operation costs.

    Looks to me like someone confused the figure to shift to CATOBAR capability with the figure to convert one ship. North of £2bn though seems a lot to pay for payload/range benefits that are scarcely essential. Do we think, for eaxample, we'd be unable to do a Libya with a STOVL carrier flying off 400nm ranged strikers....would we be unable to tackle a recapture of the Falklands if we can only stand off 500nm from the islands putting precision CASOM fire in?.

    As Liger notes....if that £2bn is going to jeopardise Carrier Strike isnt it best to get the ships and the capability first and evaluate requirements as they evolve?.
    I don't believe it will be that expensive and it won't jeopardise the project. STOVL at 65000 tonnes means a one trick pony with a lot of wasted potential. Carriers aren't just about strike aircraft, Just as important are the AEW, ASW, COD, SAR, all of which are much more capable when CATOBAR capable platforms are used instead of STOVL.
    CATOBAR:
    AEW=Hawkeye / UAV
    ASW=Merlin / UAV
    COD=Greyhound
    SAR=Merlin/Lynx

    STOBAR:
    AEW=Merlin ASaC
    ASW=Merlin
    COD=Merlin
    SAR=Merlin

    LPH capability remains unaffected whichever way you go of course. Also if F-35B gets canned, you are left with a couple of oversized LPHs. If the 'C gets canned, there are alternatives (Rafale, Super Hornet).
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  5. #3125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liger30 View Post
    They might stay with the F35C... but that means getting only ONE carrier, end of the story. And i don't like it. I prefer two with F35B than one with the C.
    No they still have two hulls, one is earmarked for conversion at present under the 2010 SDSR. Come 2015 SDSR when we have withdrawn from Afghanistan and are puuling out of Germany then they may well authorise the funding for the 2nd conversion in the next decade once PoW has entered service.

    If the US are genuine about operating from the UK CVF on a regular basis then they may well encourage getting the 2nd Carrier Converted once the first has entered service.

    "Also the article reveals the US have already effectively decided for us that the Carriers are required, for their benefit as well as ours."

    Can they secure the destiny of the second CVF hull and share a bunch of Hawkeyes?
    If they can, i'll love them forever.
    Its possible it could well be a tailored airgroup which could include Hawkeye and Super Hornets as well as USN F-35C which leads to some interesting questions.

    Anyway if we have the expected PR12 announcement on Monday with conformation of the U-turn then we know its red herring story. If its not then the Dave Cameron will have some hard choices to make after Easter

  6. #3126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi Wan Russell View Post
    I don't believe it will be that expensive and it won't jeopardise the project. STOVL at 65000 tonnes means a one trick pony with a lot of wasted potential. Carriers aren't just about strike aircraft, Just as important are the AEW, ASW, COD, SAR, all of which are much more capable when CATOBAR capable platforms are used instead of STOVL.
    CATOBAR:
    AEW=Hawkeye / UAV
    ASW=Merlin / UAV
    COD=Greyhound
    SAR=Merlin/Lynx

    STOBAR:
    AEW=Merlin ASaC
    ASW=Merlin
    COD=Merlin
    SAR=Merlin

    LPH capability remains unaffected whichever way you go of course. Also if F-35B gets canned, you are left with a couple of oversized LPHs. If the 'C gets canned, there are alternatives (Rafale, Super Hornet).
    Carrier Strike IS about strike aircraft though. EMALS is, literally, an extra £2bn to do something that the requirement doesnt call for. Thats every description of mission creep that there is and that is a time honoured way to kill programmes.

    If F-35B is canned we ask for the £2bn investment we've put in to the aircraft back and use that to put EMALS in to the first hull available at an immediate refit period. EMALS can be put in at any time. There will be refit costs at that point...little different to now...and a time lag, but, we'll need that time to get an initial cadre of deck qualified pilots and RN crews up to speed anyway and it means we are not spending money until we need to.

    It could be that in 20 years the threat situation has changed and we will have a need for the Fleet Carrier you are describing to contest blue water. Even if STOVL has performed well to that point it may be we do suddenly need the extra few hundred miles STOVL denies. So, at that time, perhaps STOVL gives way to EMALS. With a higher threat environment budgets are more likely to be permissive. Until then where is the need?.

    The list you put in is telling. The only real differences are in COD and AEW. COD we are not going to have to worry too much about as our single carrier battle group will be a prime focus for the RFA and we've managed fairly adequately without Greyhound for a long time. Even in the heady days of the Cold War FAA the COD Gannets weren't really on a par and we got by ok.

    As for AEW Hawkeye is a monolithic, legacy, solution. Nice to have perhaps, but, no reason to spend £2bn on catapults then another billion on planes. Spend a fraction on high endurance UAVs and you have not only AEW, but, distributed persistent multi-sensor platforms covering the full range of ISTAR taskings at sea and ashore as we've already covered on the thread. The kind of support that Carrier Strike actually requires....not coverage against Clancy's fantasy Backfires!.

  7. #3127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    If F-35B is canned we ask for the £2bn investment we've put in to the aircraft back
    that £2bn didn't buy us F-35B development, it bought us a share of every F-35 built, whether A, B, or C - though a bigger share of B. Demand it back & the USA & other partners can legitimately shift all their contracts for British-built parts to other suppliers.
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  8. #3128
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    Yes fat chance getting that kind of money back!

    If we go back to STOVL and F35B has the plugged pulled new money would have to be stumped up for a further conversion.

    As I said earlier and others have cottoned on to this is purely about the treasury wanting to avoid upfront expenditure! Nothing more nothing less! Capability or arguments between STOVL or CATOBAR don't even feature in the argument.

    Decision to change to CATOBAR is made in 2010 as the F35B was under HIGH risk of cancellation and the treasury was spooked over the spiralling costs for that variant! Now the treasury is spooked over some of the upfront expenditure for CATOBAR conversion of the carrier(carriers) based on figures that are not set in stone! In the meantime the risk associated with the F35B has gone down to agree and the treasury locks onto the idea like a Terrier biting a Rabbit as a switch back avoids some of the upfront costs the Carrier Alliance are starting to demand as part of the conversion process!

    Considering the figures for conversion seem to be dropping out of thin air I am wondering if this further spinning from anti carrier types in the MOD! That the USN have stepped in now shows the farcical nature of the whole exercise. The USN are HIGHLY keen on the UK going CATOBAR as it means there is an extra deck that all types in the USN inventory would be able to operate off in an emergency. Ironically the USN begged the UK to keep a CATOBAR capable carrier when the old Ark Royal was retired as it was an extra deck albeit not as compatible with USN types as CVF would be post conversion. The USN does carry the significant cost burden when it comes to the riskier aspects of the EMALS and AAG program. The UK treasury is certainly not having to stump up for R&D on the systems, the major cost is the ship sets and the redesign work.

    Now I am with Liger30 in wanting to see both carriers see service but I smell a dark green rat when it comes to all the panicked leaking of information to the press around figures that have not been clarified! That the treasury is the major villain in all of this with its pathological desire to avoid upfront spending on the books even if it means less capability in the future and costs driven through the roof for the duration of a project needs to be shouted from the roofs!
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  9. #3129
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    Read Obi's comment to say that F-35 was off the table. If there is going to be no workshare or a very significantly reduced one its entirely proper for us to recover that money.

    If thats not what was being said fair play. It still leaves us pushing back the investment in CATOBAR until a point when they are required. That is not now...UNLESS F-35B folds owing to service frailty. That is service frailty extra and over that experienced by types like F-14A etc.

  10. #3130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liger30 View Post
    I prefer two with F35B than one with the C.
    Who says that's the choice? Maybe the F-35B will be cancelled or the price will continue to spiral.
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  11. #3131
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    Can you just clarify your point Jonesy as I am struggling to understand it.

    As for getting our money back if we pull out of JSF program...not a chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    Read Obi's comment to say that F-35 was off the table. If there is going to be no workshare or a very significantly reduced one its entirely proper for us to recover that money.
    We get a workshare regardless of whether F-35B is cancelled, & regardless of how many we buy. We have a far bigger share of every F-35A than our contribution to development costs, so we should, overall, get a lot more income from F-35 than our contribution, even if F-35B is cancelled.

    But we can kiss goodbye to that, as quickly as contracts can be re-let, if we demand our money back. It's like selling shares: you stop getting the dividends.

    Note that a lot of the money we've put up (maybe all of it) has been spent in the UK, on development contracts for BAe, Rolls-Royce, & other firms.

    BTW, I want them to stick to the decision. Every change costs more money spent on not getting anything. Order, counter-order, disorder. I was not happy that we switched from B to C, because I feared we'd not get two fully operational carriers, but now we've switched, I have a dreadful fear that switching back will kill the entire carrier project. We're in danger of getting into a MRAV/TRACER/FRES scenario, where all the money goes on trials & administration, & we never get any complete, operational, hardware. The MoD has done it before: it could do it again.
    Last edited by swerve; 24th March 2012 at 18:10.
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  13. #3133
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    I was not happy that we switched from C to B,
    I think you got that the wrong way round on the heat of typing Swerve
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    Can you just clarify your point Jonesy as I am struggling to understand it.

    As for getting our money back if we pull out of JSF program...not a chance.
    The point is Fed that, according to this information from the Yanks, we've now got an approximate cost for the shift from STOVL to CATOBAR which is going to be north of £2bn whole-life for both ships...should both be so fitted....which as we all know they will have to be to get more than, what, about 200 operational days a year.

    So its £2bn extra, on top of all the other government-deposited non-design costs, for capability not identified in the Carrier Strike Key User Requirements. It really is classic mission-creep leading to unsupportable cost hikes.

    Carrier Strike specs a vessel capable of generating high sortie rate precision strike effects ashore with secondary LPH/assault roles. Nothing that requires 700nm of reach etc, which is no shocker because we cant organically target at that depth and getting there with a strike-loaded manned fighter still means a 70 minute lag in the target to shoot cycle. If we have fixed target sets, at that range, we hit with TLAM anyway because we dont want our manned fighters on a 3hr round trip well beyond our coverage when airframe numbers are limited!.

    Its the old disease of gold-plate over good enough and thats a mistake that we really should not still be making by this point.
    Last edited by Jonesy; 24th March 2012 at 18:06.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    I think you got that the wrong way round on the heat of typing Swerve
    Whoops!

    Fixed.
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    I'm certainly feeling a little more confident after reading that Telegraph article. Of course even if common sense breaks out in both the Treasury and MoD and they stick to 'cats and traps' there still leaves the question as to the fate of HMS Queen Elizabeth. If one of the reasons for sticking with CATOBAR is to please the Americans and French providing them with extra decks for their planes then both carriers will have to be converted to maximise potential availability. Otherwise we run the risk of having another HMS Leviathan on our hands. For those who don't know the Leviathan was a Colossus/Majestic class light fleet carrier that was left incomplete and swinging at anchor for two decades before being towed away to the breakers yard in the late 1960s. Or do you think the plan is to have both CVFs but the QE will be an LPH whilst PoW will be a CV?

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    Or do you think the plan is to have both CVFs but the QE will be an LPH whilst PoW will be a CV?
    It is a possible outcome, but i'm hoping to avoid that. The idea is to use the CVF as a Landing Helicopter Aviation ship, with both able to carry a fixed wing complement, along with Marines and helicopters.
    One carrier/LHA and one LPH won't work too well, as there will be ample periods of time in which the task group goes out without fixed wing aviation. It could happen, but it would be stupidity at its best, and i hope to have both carriers aviation capable.
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    I'm still holding out for both to be fitted out as cat and trap, even if not straight away as the current plan points. Remember the fourth Ark Royal (R09) was our only carrier capable of Phantoms ops, but she certaiinly couldn't operate them during her first fifteen years of service. That doesn't mean there was no point commissioning her in the first place. If QE has to spend her first commission as an LPH, so be it. That is still a very useful asset to have in service, and one which can be upgraded to full CV later.

    The 'extra range' of the F-35C is not about deeper strike range IMHO, it is about longer endurance on CAP missions first and foremost. In the Falklands, Sea Harriers on CAP could only stay on station for as little as ten minutes due to the Carriers having to remain as far to the east of the islands as possible to stay out of SuE/Exocet range. Gaps in CAP coverage were exploited by the Argentines (who were tracking SHARs on radar) added to the lack of RN AEW cover, meant ships and lives were lost unnecessarily. The Lightning may or may not be a great dogfighter, but it will be an excellent BVR interceptor providing outer zone coverage for the fleet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    The point is Fed that, according to this information from the Yanks, we've now got an approximate cost for the shift from STOVL to CATOBAR which is going to be north of £2bn whole-life for both ships...should both be so fitted....which as we all know they will have to be to get more than, what, about 200 operational days a year.

    So its £2bn extra, on top of all the other government-deposited non-design costs, for capability not identified in the Carrier Strike Key User Requirements. It really is classic mission-creep leading to unsupportable cost hikes.
    Well then I stick my hand up jumping up and down shouting "HANG ON"!

    SSDR 2010 stated "One carrier converted"..."one into reserve unconverted"! I don't like that personally but that was what the SSDR set out as the way forward!

    If an unsubstantiated figure of £2billion is being touted for conversion of BOTH carriers and that is being used as a reason to go back to F35B I very much call "SHENANIGANS"!!! If people are leaking a figure that relates to a scenario that doesn't fit within SSDR 2010 then someone certainly is messing about! To leak a figure pertaining to scenario that wasn't put forward in SSDR 2010 is highly underhanded for whoever is doing it! No wonder the USN are intervening, if people are going around giving figures for the conversion of both ships the figure of £2billion utter balderdash when only one ship is being converted! If that figure is also a "through life" cost as you say then some serious underhand work is going on! Conversion for one ship is going to come in much less then a vague through life cost for both ships...

    What you are suggesting is highly dodgy situation...somebody leaks a figure which is based on pure guess work for the conversion of two carriers knowing full well this would spook the treasury and politicians who will think its the value of conversion for one ship! USN goes "?!?!"
    Last edited by Fedaykin; 24th March 2012 at 19:51.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi Wan Russell View Post
    The 'extra range' of the F-35C is not about deeper strike range IMHO, it is about longer endurance on CAP missions first and foremost. In the Falklands, Sea Harriers on CAP could only stay on station for as little as ten minutes due to the Carriers having to remain as far to the east of the islands as possible to stay out of SuE/Exocet range. Gaps in CAP coverage were exploited by the Argentines (who were tracking SHARs on radar) added to the lack of RN AEW cover, meant ships and lives were lost unnecessarily. The Lightning may or may not be a great dogfighter, but it will be an excellent BVR interceptor providing outer zone coverage for the fleet.
    There is one issue with this though Obi - F-35B is no SHAR. It has the range performance of Hornet C and CASOM carry to extend that for strike. Taking the popular theme of a recapture of the Falklands the CASOM strike range of F-35B means the carrier has near 400,000 sq nautical miles of sea room to launch strikes from if we only consider the hemisphere east of the islands!. The circumstances of Sea Harriers leading hostile forces back to mother are hardly fitting to F-35B!.

    Establish a 'picket line' of passive MALE UAV's below the radar horizon from shore air search sets (remember, from a 60ft high shore antenna, 200nm downrange the radar horizon is over 20,000ft!) to catch and localise anything coming out sweeping a surface search set or beaconing on a TDL and, with high sortie and deck launch rates, you have a hell of a capability to prosecute whilst denying signature to the opponent...which is the name of the game. If you have a persistent, passive, sensor screen up and a DLI pair spotted isnt the dependence on CAP diminished regardless?.

    Then there is that final point about endurance that the CATOBAR bird must always leave enough juice in the tanks for the bolter or three. If air-air only F-35B is light loaded and wont even need to SRL. Hard to bolter when you can stop before you land!. Doesnt offset the F-35C's additional tankage etc, but, it does make a bit more fuel useable if pushed for that extra few minutes on station.

    Fed,

    SSDR 2010 stated "One carrier converted"..."one into reserve unconverted"! I don't like that personally but that was what the SSDR set out as the way forward!
    Very true, but, I think there is a quiet groundswell of opinion forming that its another 'Typhoons gun' situation. An obviously imbecilic concept that will quietly be rectified as and when the appropriate funding is found to allow it to be shown for the imbecilic concept everyone always knew it was but couldnt do anything about at the time!.
    Last edited by Jonesy; 25th March 2012 at 08:28. Reason: lost the ability to differentiate between west and east!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
    SSDR 2010 stated "One carrier converted"..."one into reserve unconverted"! I don't like that personally but that was what the SSDR set out as the way forward!
    Nope. It didn't quite say that. It said that only one carrier would be operated, but was a little vague about whether one or both carriers would be converted. It was implied (e.g. "the converted carrier"), but the language was sufficiently imprecise (e.g. "We will fit a catapult", which nobody believed) to make it less than certain what exactly was meant.

    Because of that, a few days after the publication of the SDSR I asked the MoD about whether one or both would get cats & traps. The spokeswoman who answered the phone said that according to her briefing the intention was to convert both, but there was no timescale set. IIRC I reported that here.

    The decision to complete QE without cat & trap came later - or at least, wasn't made public until later.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    ... I think there is a quiet groundswell of opinion forming that its another 'Typhoons gun' situation. An obviously imbecilic concept that will quietly be rectified as and when the appropriate funding is found to allow it to be shown for the imbecilic concept everyone always knew it was but couldnt do anything about at the time!.
    Fingers crossed. Has to be both or neither. Converting only one is the worst of both worlds.
    Last edited by swerve; 24th March 2012 at 22:08.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    Establish a 'picket line' of passive MALE UAV's below the radar horizon from shore air search sets (remember, from a 60ft high shore antenna, 200nm downrange the radar horizon is over 20,000ft!) to catch and localise anything coming out sweeping a surface search set or beaconing on a TDL and, with high sortie and deck launch rates, you have a hell of a capability to prosecute whilst denying signature to the opponent...which is the name of the game. If you have a persistent, passive, sensor screen up and a DLI pair spotted isnt the dependence on CAP diminished regardless?.
    Of course the elephant in the room with this is that there is no requirement for this at present, it would require hundreds of millions to create these UAVs, tens of millions to see the launch method reach production standard, and still require conversion of CVF as well, probably a couple of hundred more millions just to turn them into a hybrid STOBAR/STOVL carrier with one launch method for fighters and another for UAVs.

    Any potential foreign sales of these UAVs also require other customers, if they can be found, to convert their own carriers into hybrids as well.

    In addition I'm not seeing how these UAVs are reinforcing a position for STOVL either.
    Last edited by kev 99; 25th March 2012 at 10:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev 99 View Post
    Of course the elephant in the room with this is that there is no requirement for this at present, it would require hundreds of millions to create these UAVs, tens of millions to see the launch method reach production standard, and still require conversion of CVF as well, probably a couple of hundred more millions just to turn them into a hybrid STOBAR/STOVL carrier with one launch method for fighters and another for UAVs.

    Any potential foreign sales of these UAVs also require other customers, if they can be found, to convert their own carriers into hybrids as well.
    Not strictly true Kev MASC is, last time I checked, still on the books and SOLOMON/SCAVENGER covers the old brief from DABINETT to advance UK ISTAR. MALE UAV's of the type outlined definitely falls under those requirements. You could even say that a single type, such as Mantis/Telemos, covering an array of roles for land or sea based ISTAR represents the most efficient approach possible over the long term. The alternate of a Hawkeye/MALE UAV or rotary/MALE UAV for MASC/SOLOMON would seem a touch absurd.

    As shown by the US Guardian adaptation from MQ9/Mariner once you have the airframe you can make it fit all sorts of requirements. We certainly face question marks over the future of maritime patrol around home waters...how useful could it be to deploy the same MALE UAV for that tasking that we use to find insurgents in Afghan, that we use to support Carrier Strike afloat etc.

    Seeing that a rotary solution to replace the baggies Sea Kings would require development money, that Hawkeye would cost billions to deliver as a solution and that both of those options offer nothing close to the MALE UAV flexibility, to me, this becomes a real no-brainer. That the launch method for this class of UAV is developed, de-risked, and all but ready for deployment just adds to that.

    I'm not sure that the inclusion of a light, short run, catapult such as EMKIT would need a re-classification of the carrier as a hybrid exactly either. This isnt like adding a pair of full size 90m cats at the waist as per the Ul'Yanovsk design or anything akin to it. If you look at the T26 concept work there is mention of a UAV launching system in that. This would be more analagous to that sort of set up. Again with UAV endurances of 20hrs upwards the flying programme isnt going to be heavy on catapult operation.

    Edit: Does this sort of UAV support STOVL?. Absolutely as it shows you dont need the full cat/trap setup to deploy ISTAR capability as it used to be when the only options were rotary or Hawkeye. Now you can put in a light catapult on a STOVL or STOBAR deck and get persistent theatre-level ISTAR without having to make the step up to full CATOBAR ops.
    Last edited by Jonesy; 25th March 2012 at 10:51.

  24. #3144
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    MASC became Crowsnest in 2010. As of now, if there are no changes, the path chosen is to modify the Merlin HM2 to be able to embark the Searchwater 2000 bag or two Lockheed Martin Vigilance radar pods for AEW role, depending on which proposal wins.

    As to Scavenger/SOLOMON/TELEMOS, there is no indication so far that it will be carrier capable at all. I hope it will be, but i do not put much confidence in carrier compatibility appearing on the list of requirements, even though the RN is said to be participating in the development of the requirements list.

    Your idea is fashinating, but pretty much based on thin air, for now at least.
    "It is upon the navy under the providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend." - King Charles II

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    Not strictly true Kev MASC is, last time I checked, still on the books and SOLOMON/SCAVENGER covers the old brief from DABINETT to advance UK ISTAR. MALE UAV's of the type outlined definitely falls under those requirements. You could even say that a single type, such as Mantis/Telemos, covering an array of roles for land or sea based ISTAR represents the most efficient approach possible over the long term. The alternate of a Hawkeye/MALE UAV or rotary/MALE UAV for MASC/SOLOMON would seem a touch absurd.

    As shown by the US Guardian adaptation from MQ9/Mariner once you have the airframe you can make it fit all sorts of requirements. We certainly face question marks over the future of maritime patrol around home waters...how useful could it be to deploy the same MALE UAV for that tasking that we use to find insurgents in Afghan, that we use to support Carrier Strike afloat etc.

    Seeing that a rotary solution to replace the baggies Sea Kings would require development money, that Hawkeye would cost billions to deliver as a solution and that both of those options offer nothing close to the MALE UAV flexibility, to me, this becomes a real no-brainer. That the launch method for this class of UAV is developed, de-risked, and all but ready for deployment just adds to that.
    While I agree that a UAV able to operate from carriers is desirable it still isn't funded in any way shape or form, and the requirements from MASC is still unresolved as well, and I've read at least one MOD source to have recently stated still unfunded.

    We might see common sense prevail and any future UAVs developed as a result of the recent agreements with France be carrier capable, but I wouldn't bet on it, the RAF will do everything it can to prevent it from happening arguing on cost grounds.

    But regardless of this I still see carrier capable UAVs as more likely with a CATOBAR carrier rather than developing some STOVL/STOBAR hybrid solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    I'm not sure that the inclusion of a light, short run, catapult such as EMKIT would need a re-classification of the carrier as a hybrid exactly either. This isnt like adding a pair of full size 90m cats at the waist as per the Ul'Yanovsk design or anything akin to it. If you look at the T26 concept work there is mention of a UAV launching system in that. This would be more analagous to that sort of set up. Again with UAV endurances of 20hrs upwards the flying programme isnt going to be heavy on catapult operation.
    Sorry but I definitely do see it as having a significant impact on the rest of the flightdeck, it would at the very least require the installation of arrestor gear. Have you seen the T26 concept video? It shows what appears to be a Scan Eagle or something very similar; a small UAV operated off a tiny capauilt with a pretty low footprint, nothing like what you're suggesting.
    Last edited by kev 99; 25th March 2012 at 10:55.

  26. #3146
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev 99 View Post
    While I agree that a UAV able to operate from carriers is desirable it still isn't funded in any way shape or form, and the requirements from MASC is still unresolved as well, and I've read at least one MOD source to have recently stated still unfunded.
    Agreed, but, there are at least multiple requirements that could arrive at a very similar air vehicle as a solution. While there is equally no funding for a rotary or E-2 based MASC solution I'd be optimistic that the UAV approach will at least get a fair appraisal. I have heard rumours linking SCAVENGER to an afloat capability as well.

    We might see common sense prevail and any future UAVs developed as a result of the recent agreements with France be carrier capable, but I wouldn't bet on it, the RAF will do everything it can to prevent it from happening arguing on cost grounds.
    This is where I absolutely disagree Kev. If anything Mantis/Telemos and F-35B deals the light blue back into the game. Who's out at Creech playing with the Reapers now?. ISTAR is going to be a real 'purple' game and all three services will bring something to the table to maximise effect. The F35B lets us use RAF facilities and, at a pinch, pilots and gives them a wider rapid deployment capability than they would have with GR4/Typhoon...everyones a winner. Best way to stop interservice opposition here is to make the others stakeholders in Carrier Strike and let them realise what it can do for them. We stay on the course of F-35C and Hawkeye and we cant surprised if the Army turns round and says 'cute....but what does it do for my guys'!.

    But regardless of this I still see carrier capable UAVs as more likely with a CATOBAR carrier rather than developing some STOVL/STOBAR hybrid solution.
    A wider range of UAV's and UCAVs in the future yes....again I agree. That is a bit nebulous though when we are looking at what the carriers will do from 'day 1' as it were. Right now we need to meet the Carrier Strike requirement and provide the best ISTAR possible for the smallest amount of money using the hulls being built. Thats not a description for CATOBAR.

    Sorry but I definitely do see it as having a significant impact on the rest of the flightdeck, it would at the very least require the installation of arrestor gear. Have you seen the T26 concept video? It shows what appears to be a Scan Eagle or something very similar; a small UAV operated off a tiny capauilt with a pretty low footprint, nothing like what you're suggesting.
    I dont mean exactly like the T26 Kev!. I'm not suggesting the T26 will sport a 30m EMKIT !. What I'm saying is that tacking on a 30m EMKIT to launch the only 4 UAV's in that days flying programme is not going to be anywhere analagous to putting in a full-size high-power catapult for regular CATOBAR ops through the programme. My meaning was that, on a deck the size of CVF's, such an EMKIT installation would be analagous to the T26 setup....a small UAV launcher!.

  27. #3147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    This is where I absolutely disagree Kev. If anything Mantis/Telemos and F-35B deals the light blue back into the game. Who's out at Creech playing with the Reapers now?. ISTAR is going to be a real 'purple' game and all three services will bring something to the table to maximise effect. The F35B lets us use RAF facilities and, at a pinch, pilots and gives them a wider rapid deployment capability than they would have with GR4/Typhoon...everyones a winner. Best way to stop interservice opposition here is to make the others stakeholders in Carrier Strike and let them realise what it can do for them. We stay on the course of F-35C and Hawkeye and we cant surprised if the Army turns round and says 'cute....but what does it do for my guys'!.
    Dunno about that all I've seen from the RAF for the past decade is something along the lines of: "Don't want carrier, don't want to be involved in carrier, they're taking our funding". You've also stated yourself in the past that RAF personnel have been very opposed to deploying on carriers, I just can't see them really getting involved with any enthusiasm and I'm sure they will argue that Reapers could be continued to be operateed from Creech because it will be lower cost, even if it can't be deployed from Sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesy View Post
    I dont mean exactly like the T26 Kev!. I'm not suggesting the T26 will sport a 30m EMKIT !. What I'm saying is that tacking on a 30m EMKIT to launch the only 4 UAV's in that days flying programme is not going to be anywhere analagous to putting in a full-size high-power catapult for regular CATOBAR ops through the programme. My meaning was that, on a deck the size of CVF's, such an EMKIT installation would be analagous to the T26 setup....a small UAV launcher!.
    I still think you're over-egging the size difference of EMKIT to EMALS, it still looks like taking up a fairly big chunk of the deck for me.

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    Whether its the C or the B that we go for, the carriers are going to have UAV systems operating off of the deck. The lack of planning for this (in the public domain) allows the RAF sole operation of long range UAVs in the coming years.

    It's that direction we have to look at rather than turboprops from the 1950s!

    Sorry if that's too strong.

  29. #3149
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    Turboprops from the 50s???

  30. #3150
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    Quote Originally Posted by 19K11 View Post
    Turboprops from the 50s???
    He's thinking the Hawkeye was 50s design rather than 60's unless he mean the Gannet AEW3 !.

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