From the IN thread:
Philip wrote:In numerous naval exercises conducted by the US, small diesel boats apart from its N-subs have "sunk" its CVs.
In exercises, aggressor T-38's kill F-22A's, does this mean that a T-38 actually stands a chance in actual war when confronted with a force of F-22As? When you train and wargame with allies you experiment with, and run various scenarios and TTP's to see what works, and to stress the red and blue team crews. The point of the whole exercise is to get out of the box and put your crews in tough positions to extract the most training value. The point is not to spend millions training to see who is superior at killing or protecting a carrier. It is not a jousting contest.
When you fight or deploy in a high intensity conflict zone you err on the side of the caution and pack your force with as much capability as you can muster and as far as the USN and its deployments are concerned this would mean a larger escort count than normal (during actual conflict), a higher submarine count, a tremendous number of ASW assets on the surface, below surface and in the air and support from allies. You also have the ability to stand off with a carrier and move around. One of the deployment models wargamed during the CVN-21 studies was the deployment of 4 carriers with a surface and sub-surface force complement that was 50% larger than routine and was supported by sea power capability from allies.
The equation of a Ballistic Missile to a carrier equally applies to a number of deployed airfields able to sustain high intensity ops. The reason those trades do not work in practice is because the carrier is very well protected with hundreds of VLS at its disposal along with a heck of a lot of offensive capability. To target a deployed carrier and its support wing thousands of miles from land using complex ISR infrastructure at a time when active and passive means are being used to degrade or deny that capability is not something that is very easy. The CAW has plenty of stand-off capability at its disposal. From initial TLAM, and in the near term, hypersonic salvos, to stand off munitions ranging from 100 km to 1000 km launched from its aircraft.
Philip wrote:The US's 12 CVs will be extremely vulnerable in the next great naval clash as gheir carrier aircraft have gor the F-18 around 400km radius of combat anc 700km for the F-35 still not fully operational.
I guess one way to drive home your point is to completely make up numbers in the hope that no one will notice. The F-35C has a mission combat radius (in A2G strike role while carrying 2 x 2000 lb bombs plus missiles) of 600+ nautical miles or 1200 km. In A2A configuration this probably improved by 15% or so. The F/A-18E/F kitted in its normal configuration with EFT's has a radius of about 1000 km which will improve when the now funded CFT's come to the fleet. The E-2D can stay up for around 6-hours and can now take hits from a tanker and add to its time on station.
The USN is now fully invested in a mission tanker in the MQ-25 and it along with the V-22s from the Marines can add much needed stand off range to the tactical fighters when operating in partnership with the massive USAF tanker fleet.
That said, longer ranged combat aircraft is on the drawing board of the USN so expect the NGAD to have a combat radius in the 1000 nautical mile vicinity which would allow it to play an escort to the AF B-21's for example.
Philip wrote:The Chins claim that the Sov. era radar has made stealth passe.
Which would obviously explain why anyone with the resources or the capability is developing LO or VLO fighters, UAV's, bombers and what not
Noticed the J-20, Su-57, KF-X, TF-X, SCAF, Tempest, ShinShin and the AMCA? All must not have gotten the memo from Chins...
Philip wrote:The advent of unmanned carrier strike aircraft will make it possible for current smaller amphib class vessels to possess an expanded air capability.Why there is a body of thought wanting smaller light Essex type CVs
There is no "serious" body of thought only some in the media. The US Navy looked at no fewer than 75 different carrier designs under the CVN-X concept phase, ranging from small "Essex type " all the way to carriers that were 20-25% larger than the current Ford and also looked at both conventional power, nuclear and a hybrid of the two. They looked at conventionally powered smaller carriers, nuclear powered smaller carriers and even stealthy carriers. It was a thorough analysis. The Ford was not the design they shortlisted but a compromise, the original design study led them to something that was more capable and larger. There are models at display at the US naval academy of the top dozen or so designs that were shortlisted as part of the CVN-X study. I've provided pictures of some of those in the past.
The reason why the Essex like carriers don't work for them is very simple to grasp and I have articulated them here earlier. The notion that an ambhib is a carrier is deeply flawed. Yes it looks like a carrier, can carry STOVL aircraft but it does not fight like a carrier nor can it. This is true for USMC LHA class, JC class or anything similar. There are physical limitations in the vessel and wing complement to perform the missions the USN CVN does.
I've provided a more detailed explanation of this earlier but will reference one point here:
CVN-21 (Ford design) magazine is 23 times
larger than that of the LHA-6 (375K ft^3 vs just 16K ft^3
) the next biggest vessel in the US Navy/MC. This translates to a weapons carriage capacity of roughly 3000 tons on the Ford. This in addition to roughly 3 Million gallons of fuel that it carries, nearly 100% of which is available to the air-wing (because the carrier is nuclear powered). All in this translates to a 2-week at sea sustain combat ops (medium intensity deployment).
You can park 18-20 F-35B's on Juan Carlos or a USS Americas but besides providing some air-defense and some low intensity strike support they are not going to be able to support sustained operations without some serious resupply at frequent intervals which then ends up consuming valuable surface based and air resources depending upon how you resupply ships. There is a reason that the USMC's primary use of the F-35B is forward force protection and CAS with support from land and sea deployed assets.
There is good reason why the US Navy after a long and protracted analysis of alternatives stuck to a CVN and stuck to something that largely resembles the Nimitz class in capacity. No one capable of a serious analysis, or actually coming from a familiarity of the various trades and studies is speaking of going back to the Essex style carriers.
In fact, China is looking to be in the same spot if the CVN illustrations from the Diplomat are to be believed. They probably too conducted their analysis and derived to the same conclusion.
For other carrier operators you can start at looking at the capability of the CVN and then scaling back some of the qualitative and quantitative abilities and derive to something smaller based on unique needs. The brits and even the IN seem to have landed on a 65K ton model as optimal, while the French optimized their fairly compact carrier to support a decent sized air-wing with a fairly large (for its size) magazine and fuel capacity thanks to the choice to go to nuclear power.
Part of the appeal (to the USN and decision makers in the US at large) of the 100K CVN is that they can dial up or dial down the carrier air-wing over the 50-60 year life of the ship both in terms of quality and quantity. The carrier design offers that flexibility which something like the CDG just doesn't because of its physical limitations in terms of max carrier air wing size and flexibility. It does work for the French though who are limited by their overall size and don't have the resources to maintain that surge capacity. For example: If more ASW capability is needed because of a certain threat or in a certain region you can deploy more ASW helos without the combat ops or real estate eating into the fighter or AEW footprint. Same with more Electronic Attack aircraft or more AEW aircraft etc. You can consistently dial up one aspect of the offensive/defensive mix without upsetting the numbers on the other...The USN and the policy makers deciding on these things value this and are willing to pay for the added flexibility and to have options down the road. Just as the CAW was dialed down post SU collapse it can be dialed up both in terms of a larger quantity of deployed aircraft but also as far as the qualitative capability is concerned (more unmanned for example, or longer ranged OCA/DCA assets like a modern version of the F-14 mission). You can do that on the existing Nimitz/Ford classes because there is that margin built in. On a smaller carrier you lose that flexibility and as such as times and threats change you may not be able to respond the way you like without resorting to essentially designing a new carrier from scratch. The Ford is big and is packed with technology because it as a design will be in service for well above 100 years. You need the flexibility and room to grow if you are going to be able to pull that off.