INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

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Lalmohan
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 05 Dec 2013 12:51

you mean, they are taking a r-i-i-ide to the danger zone, danger zone?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Dec 2013 13:50

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refueling_and_Overhaul
In the United States Navy, Refueling and Overhaul (ROH) refers to a lengthy process or procedure performed on nuclear-powered Naval ships, which involves replacement of expended nuclear fuel with new fuel and a general maintenance fix-up, renovation, and often modernization of the entire ship. In theory, such a process could simply involve only refueling or only an overhaul, but nuclear refueling is usually combined with an overhaul. An ROH usually takes one to two years for submarines and up to almost three years for an aircraft carrier, to perform at a Naval shipyard. Time periods between ROHs on a ship have varied historically from about 5–20 years (for submarines) to up to 25 years (for Nimitz-class aircraft carriers). For modern submarines and aircraft carriers, ROHs are typically carried out about midway through their operating lifespan. There are also shorter maintenance fix-ups called availabilities for ships periodically at shipyards. A particularly lengthy refueling, maintenance, and modernization process for a nuclear aircraft carrier can last up to almost three years and be referred to as a Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

..........
Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) is a process for refueling and upgrading nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US Navy. The nuclear reactors that power some aircraft carriers typically use up their nuclear fuel about halfway through their desired 50-year life spans. Because carriers can last so long before being retired, they are refueled and refurbished with an RCOH to extend their usable lifetime. At the same time a ship is refueled, it is given a complex overhaul in which broken or worn parts are repaired or replaced and systems are modernized. The modernization typically includes an upgrade of ship’s combat systems and warfighting capabilities, its internal distribution systems are upgraded, and allowance is made for future upgrades over the ship’s remaining operational service life. Given the size of an aircraft carrier and the number of systems and subsystems it has, an RCOH is extremely complex, costly (several billion dollars), and time-consuming. Each RCOH is planned to take almost three years

apparently even the mighty khan has done this RCOH thing on only 3 carriers (1st three of nimitz class) so far and is doing the 4th one now
http://nns.huntingtoningalls.com/produc ... rcoh/index

looking at the pic makes me think the reactor parts are brought out through one of the side elevators without flight deck being cut.

but clearly this is a very complex task that Khan can cover for due to 11 carriers, imagine of our carriers gets stuck in limbo like that because some sanctions happened and we will be in trouble.

COGAG with electric propulsion is perhaps best.

Singha
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Dec 2013 13:54

some kind of reactor replacement in the charles de gaulle...read all about it here...hanger deck has a circular access plate......
http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.c ... qA_AcRQKM4


http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/st ... elarge.jpg

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/st ... elarge.jpg

Lalmohan
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 05 Dec 2013 14:30

regardless of nuclear power, there is still large steam plant, power generation plant, drive machinery, gear boxes, etc. - so one set of complexities is replaced with another. perhaps the saving is in volume and weight of fuel to be carried for the ships own propulsion - and attendant refueling, etc.
probably more space for aircraft and supporting infra (and more ice cream freezers)

Singha
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Dec 2013 14:38

the capex cost of a nuclear plant will be higher for sure, plus special shore facilities needed. still might be cheaper if the carrier is used for 50 yrs , which it surely will for IN case. we are still using a ship made in 1955 with construction start in 1944!

Austin
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Austin » 05 Dec 2013 14:54

I believe last year the IN chief said nuclear power wont be used for any thing other then Nuclear Submarine as the cost associated with it is much higher.

Singha
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Dec 2013 15:10

i guess for sdre nations like us, lesser amt of pay-as-you-go cogag works best .... unkil experimented with n-plants on cruiser ships also, but finally restricted only to cvn and subs.
wiki
The United Kingdom rejected nuclear power early in the development of its Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers on cost grounds, as even several decades of fuel use costs less than a nuclear reactor.

Philip
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 05 Dec 2013 19:03

Before we decide on N-power for surface ships,carriers,etc.,we first need to perfect our indigenous (with Russian help) N-reactor design aboard the Arihant. The sub has just started running on N-power. Prudence dictates that one should wait a while and learn from the experience of operating it in the field as it were,even though the design has been validated at Kalpakkam in the first N-reactor built there. If a decision is taken for the IAC-2 to be N-powered (with similar Russian help),there should in theory be little problem in its design and fabrication. Russia has vast experience of N-power from ice-breakers to battle cruisers (Kirov class) and subs.However,even for the Kuznetsov,Russia has instead employed 8 gas fired boilers and 4 steam turbines producing 150,000kw.The statement that the IN will take a final call on the powerplant after studying RN and French experience is wise.65,000t has been found by the RN as the optimum size of a med.sized carrier for flight ops,sortie rates,etc.However,even if the design is scaled up from IAC-1,it should have as much commonality in machinery and systems,otherwise we will end up having to operate,support and maintain 3 diff. carrier designs and their associated unique eqpt. If there is commonality,it will be easy for carrier crews to switch from one vessel to another,familiar with operations,when one of the three is in the dockyard for repairs/refits,etc.

We do not know what the ATV's N-reactor has cost us.Of course there will be no accurate figure available to the public.If the reactor design is standardised for the follow on subs,both SSBNs and SSGNs,the same design could be used for a carrier if there are economies of scale.While we have a choice with the powerplant ,more importantly is the choice of launch and recovery of aircraft.STOBAR,Cats,or EMALS,plus the type of aircraft to be operated for a larger carrier.These factors will have a huge impact on initial costs,operating costs and life-cycle costs too. While it is great to be able to keep up with the "Chens",carrier wise,"flat top for flat top",it is going to cost the IN a bomb and will impact upon other assets. We cannot have a lopsided fleet,putting our prime eggs in one basket.China has several more important naval threats from the US,Japan,SoKo and the US's Pacific rim allies like Oz,S'Pore,etc. It will need most of its carriers to deal with those threats.Both japan and SoKo are buildign their own light carriers masquerading as amphib vessels and it is only time before larger sized flat tops (genuine carriers) operating the JSF most likely will be seen in Pacific waters. As I mentioned in the earlier post,we do have several methods of dealing with the PLAN, spreading the risk through a balanced fleet approach and forward basing in friendly countries like Vietnam and our island territories.

Klaus
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Klaus » 05 Dec 2013 19:45

In some ways, India is actually better off trying to obtain island bases in the IOR (Diego Garcia for eg) rather than large CBG's. 3 CBG's with 3-4 island atolls having facilities for large airbases and naval facilities would secure the entire IOR for India.

vishvak
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby vishvak » 05 Dec 2013 19:56

Indian government needs to take steps in right directions. Storage and reprocessing of nuclear fuel for future use as strategic benefit of nuclear industry should be considered as a step for example. For example thorium enrichment should be started ASAP for storage & future use.

Singha
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 05 Dec 2013 21:28

A more patriotic govt would have obtained a air naval base in mauritius by now in exchange for trade and taxation benefits we extend them. Instead its probably cheen making inroads all over ior with freebies and raw material shipping ops.

SaiK
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby SaiK » 05 Dec 2013 21:51

DRDO designed EMALs has a civilian off-shoot as well for mag-lev trains.

NRao
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 05 Dec 2013 21:55

{self deleted}
Last edited by NRao on 06 Dec 2013 10:56, edited 1 time in total.

Philip
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 06 Dec 2013 09:24

I find it amusing to see advocates rushing in indecent haste to pin onto India the badge of deputy to Uncle Sam with nuclear super-carrier ambitions to take on China! I for one doubt the report that the IN wants to install a nuke reactor on IAC-1,the Vikrant.It has already been designed for installing gas turbines,and any rethinking on the matter would involve considerable redesign and expensive modification since the vessel has already been launched.I have posted in the IN td. a report about MDL complaining about delays and cost overruns for modifications made during construction by the IN for the follow on Delhi class DDGs,the Kolkatta,etc.For one,IAC-2 has in some reports also been mentioned as Viokrant-2/3.This 65,000t ,ed. sized carrier has often been mentioned in connection with nuclear poper as an option and the latest report is quite clear that it is being evaluated taking lessons from France and the UK.Whiel France has a nuke powered CV,the CDG,it has not been a happy experience as the carrier experienced a multitude of problems.Here is a report on the French experience.Here France,with decades of operating N-subs and the N-powered CDG of 40,000t+,plumped for its follow-on carrier of 62,000t,approk. the same size as our planned IAC-2,for conventional power not nuclear power!When we have barley switched on the Arihant's N-reactor,designed and built with Russian help,to insist that we have perfected naval N-reactors,reflects the heights of optimism and illusion.

However,France was planning to sell Brazil its design for the new carrier.Here is one great opportunity for India to offer Brasil carrier tech as we've already launched the IAC-1,(Vikrant-2) of 40,000t+ and are embarking upon IAc-2 of 65,000t. Our defence ties with Brasil are growing apace with EMB AEW aircraft,etc.Brasil would find it much cheaper to acquire an Indian carrier design and build it at home than if it acquired it from a European nation.

The threat from China can be met with many options.Jingos should read USN papers on the vulnerability of carriers to Chinese anti-carrier BMs.Just two reports.

1.http://www.defensenews.com/article/2013 ... 303120015/

Report: Costly USN Aircraft Carriers May Be Too Vulnerable To Keep
Mar. 12, 2013 - 12:12PM |
By WENDELL MINNICK |

TAIPEI — A 12-page report issued March 11 by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) spells out the disadvantages of continuing to rely on expensive, capacious vessels like aircraft carriers with the dawn of a new type of anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) capable of destroying them far out at sea.

Read Report Here: http://www.cnas.org/node/10190
The paper, “At What Cost a Carrier,” by U.S. Navy Capt. Henry Hendrix, is the first in the new Disruptive Defense Papers series by CNAS. The series deals with controversial issues in U.S. defense policy at a time when hard choices must be made.

Hendrix, a career naval flight officer, argues that the aircraft carrier, the centerpiece of U.S. naval operations for 70 years, is in danger of becoming too vulnerable to be relevant.

He also examines the life-cycle costs and utility of the aircraft carrier and recommends a new approach for U.S. naval operations that includes unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) and submarines armed with land-attack cruise missiles. He also argues that the Navy should drop the expensive, untested F-35 and retain the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Hendrix writes that the aircraft carrier is in danger of becoming like the battleships it was originally designed to support: big, expensive, vulnerable and surprisingly irrelevant to the conflicts of the time. This outcome has become more likely as the U.S. Navy continues to emphasize manned carrier aircraft at the expense of unmanned missiles and aircraft.

If the fleet were being designed today from scratch, with the technologies now available and the threats now emerging, it likely would look very different, he postulates.

With the expansion of foreign operated surveillance satellites and new long-range precision strike missiles, the carrier may not be able to move close enough to targets to operate effectively or even survive for very long.

China is developing ways that challenge the carrier’s maneuverability and survivability. Chinese submarines (63 conventional and nuclear), surface ships (75 destroyers, frigates and one aircraft carrier), aircraft (227 bombers and fighters), anti-ship cruise missiles (around 30 types) and swarming small craft (332 patrol boats) each pose threats to a U.S. Navy Task Force.

Hendrix writes that no weapon has captured the imagination of American naval strategists like the DF-21D ASBM. “Using a maneuverable re-entry vehicle placed on a CSS-5 missile, China’s Second Artillery Division states that its doctrine will be to saturate a target with multiple warheads and multiple axis attacks, overwhelming the target’s ability to defend itself.”

Analysts estimate the cost of each DF-21D to be $5 million to $11 million. “Assuming the conservative, high-end estimate of $11 million gives an exchange ratio of $11 million to $13.5 billion, which means that China could build 1,227 DF-21Ds for every carrier the United States builds going forward,” Hendrix writes.

Given the 1,087-mile range of the DF-21D and the unfueled range of the F-35 at 690 miles, this causes problems.

“U.S. defenses would have to destroy every missile fired, a tough problem given the magazines of U.S. cruisers and destroyers, while China would need only one of its weapons to survive to effect a mission kill,” according to the report.

Hendrix compares the carrier to the French knights at Agincourt who were wiped out by the English longbowmen.


Using an $11 million missile to sink a $7 billion Nimitz carrier or a $13 billion Ford carrier is upsetting. Arguably, it could take all of the 1,227 DF-21Ds at a total cost of $13.5 billion to kill a Nimitz carrier, but that seems unlikely.

China has been testing its DF-21D on an outline of an aircraft carrier in the Gobi desert. Though sinking an unprotected outline of an aircraft carrier is not the real thing, the imagery simply cannot be ignored.

Hendrix says the inefficiency of manned aviation, with its massive fiscal overhead of training, pilot currency and maintenance, is rapidly outpacing its utility.

“The idea that the United States needs a large sortie capability inexorably drives decision-makers to large carriers,” he writes. “These maritime juggernauts are expensive and hence need to be defended by an ever-larger ring of exquisite technologies in order to launch a historically shrinking number of very expensive aircraft from ever-increasing distances that may or may not drop their bombs.”

Advancements in surveillance, reconnaissance, global positioning, missiles and precision strike all signal a sea change in not only naval warfare, but all forms of warfare, according to the report.

To continue to invest in aircraft carriers at this stage, to believe that the USS Ford, with a service life of 50 years, would go unchallenged on the high seas, Hendrix writes, “smells of hubris.” The U.S. must break out of its “ossified force structure and not only get ahead of the strategic curve, but actively seek to redefine the curve.”

One solution is the development of UCAV and cancellation of the F-35 program.

UCAVs with longer range and loitering time could be operated from conventional carriers currently deployed, including light amphibious carriers.

“The new UCAVs would be flown only when operationally needed,” Hendrix writes. “UCAV pilots would maintain their currency in simulators, reducing personnel and operational costs and extending their airframes’ lives by decades.”

This would allow the slowly declining number of carriers that would remain in the inventory until the USS Ford retires in 2065 to remain effective.

A parallel path, Henderson suggests, should include the maturation and extension of the U.S. inventory of conventional missiles. The current Tomahawk missiles are deployed on Navy cruisers, destroyers, fast-attack submarines and, more recently, four modified Ohio-class submarines, which can carry 155 Tomahawks.

This compared to the daily sortie rate of 120 fighters a day for the Nimitz and 160 for the Ford, the Ohio guided-missile submarines (SSGN) “represent the most effective path forward in strike warfare.”

“Super quiet, the Ohio SSGNs can penetrate enemy waters unseen, positioning themselves to unleash massive waves of precision strike weapons to take down critical nodes of enemy infrastructure, weakening resolve and resistance from the strategic center outward,” Hendrix writes. These submarines do not need the outer defense ring of destroyers, frigates, support ships and submarines.

Carrier strike groups are expensive. Factoring the staggering personnel numbers, roughly 6,700 men and women, and the daily operating cost of $6.5 million, the value of these in real terms is questionable, according to the report — whereas stealthy submarines loaded with low-cost precision cruise and ballistic missiles capped with conventional warheads, as the Chinese are doing with the JL-1/2, provide the U.S. with an elegant “one target + one missile = one kill” solution.



*Let alone Chinese BMs,the threat from latest anti-ship missiles like BMos/Yakhnot is serious by itself.

2.http://www.militaryaerospace.com/blogs/ ... siles.html

How vulnerable are U.S. Navy vessels to advanced anti-ship cruise missiles?
By John Keller

THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 9 July 2013. There's an imminent threat to U.S. Navy surface warships, which evidently has Navy leaders worried.

Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington are working fast to develop a new kind of electronic warfare (EW) module that can be fitted quickly onto ships to meet these threats. They are working with EW experts at the ITT Exelis Electronic Systems division in Van Nuys, Calif., who will help manufacture and install the new EW system.

Although Navy officials are not spelling out what this newly discovered threat to shipping is, we can assume it has something to do with advanced radar-guided anti-ship cruise missiles , or something similar.

The Navy's current Raytheon AN/SLQ-32 shipboard EW system was conceived in the early 1970s in part from lessons learned from an incident during the Six-Day War in 1967 when Egypt sank the Israeli destroyer Elath using a Soviet SS-N-2 STYX anti-ship missile. Upgrades are being made to the SLQ-32 system under the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP).

Other lessons came at different times, such as 1982 during the Falklands War when Argentina sank the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Sheffield with a French-made Exocet missile -- an anti-ship missile common to militaries around the world.

The Exocet struck again in 1987, this time crippling and nearly sinking the U.S. Navy frigate USS Stark, after an Iraqi warplane launched the missile at the warship; the sea-skimming missile was undetected by weapon systems aboard the Stark. By the time lookouts saw the missile headed for the ship it was too late for the Stark's defenses to be effective.

So we have two allied warships sunk or crippled during the 1980s by the Exocet -- a subsonic anti-ship missile with a 360-pound warhead. What happens when allied navies go up against much more formidable anti-ship missile threats?

I think this is what Navy leaders have in mind with this new project to develop an embarkable EW system that can be quickly installed and removed from Navy ships so a relative handful of systems can be deployed on ships going into harm's way.

Navy leaders are known to be concerned with advanced radar-guided anti-ship missiles such as the Russian-made SS-N-22 Sunburn and SS-NX-26 Oniks, which may be operational with military forces in Iran, Syria, and other countries in the Middle East for use against U.S. and allied naval forces in and around the Eastern Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and other vital waterways.

The Sunburn anti-ship missile can fly at three times the speed of sound, giving targeted vessels little time to react. It carries a 705-pound explosive warhead -- twice the destructive payload of the Exocet and three times as fast.

The Oniks missile, more advanced than the Sunburn, can fly as fast as Mach 2.5, and carries a 661-pound warhead. Not only is this missile far faster and more powerful than the Exocet, but it may have the capability to maneuver on its terminal flight to its target, which could make defeating it difficult, if not impossible.

The Sunburn and Oniks missiles have sufficient destructive payloads to pose serious threats to large U.S. warships like aircraft carriers, which are at the heart of U.S. power-projection strategies around the world.

Now think about U.S. Navy ships operating in the tight confines of the Persian Gulf, where maneuver can be limited. Iran, which has these advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, could launch them from rugged terrain near Gulf waters, giving U.S. warships only seconds to react.

If they were not to have reliable ways to defeat these advanced cruise missiles, the Gulf could become a nightmare killing field for front-line U.S. and allied warships.

This must be keeping more than one Navy admiral up at night.



http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/fra ... ect-01621/

France’s PA2/CVF Carrier Project: Stalled in the Water
Apr 29, 2013 12:02 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
Latest update [?]
PA2 Concept

PA2 Concept, June 2006

April 28/13: France exits. France’s 2013 Defense White Paper (Livre Blanc) formally ends France’s plans for a 2nd aircraft carrier. What it doesn’t do, is change France’s breadth of strategic commitments. If the design survives, it will be as an export that might even be built abroad. White Paper external link [PDF].
Keep reading for the whole story with recent events put in contextDII
CV PA2 Concept 2006
PA2 Concept, June 2006
(click to view full)

Throughout most of the Cold War period, France maintained two aircraft carriers. That changed when the FNS Foch, the last Clemenceau Class carrier, was retired in November 2000 (it will now serve the Brazilian Navy as the Sao Paolo). As Strategis notes external link, France has lacked the capacity to ensure long-distance air coverage during the FNS Charles de Gaulle’s maintenance cycles or during other periods when the carrier is not available for active duty (approximately 35% of the time). In 2015, the ship will be taken out of service for an extensive maintenance overhaul. Despite a slippage in initial construction dates from 2005 to 2007-2008, the French still hope to take delivery by 2014 so the new ship can be operational by the time their sole operational aircraft carrier goes off line for repairs.

That was the original idea, anyway. Recent developments once again cast doubt on the PA2′s future. The time for a decision was postponed to 2011, but in 2013, DCNS is still waiting. In fact, their taking their case to the export market.
Advertisement

PA2: The Design & Acquisition Program
CVN Charles de Gaulle
CVN Charles de Gaulle
(click to view full)

The PA2 project was entrusted to the “MOPA2″ (Maitrise d’Oeuvre Porte Avions No 2) consortium composed of DCN and Thales. The design was originally though to be for a ship of about 58,000t, but detailed design work pushed it up into the 74,000t range, fully 72% larger than the FNS Charles de Gaulle, before dropping it back down near the original figure at around 62,000t. Unlike the problematic external link nuclear-powered de Gaulle, however, the PA2 as currently envisioned will be a conventionally-powered ship with an all-electric power system driven by Rolls Royce gas turbines.

The PA2 design phase was officially launched by French Minister for Defense Mme Michele Alliot-Marie on Jan 24/05. The studies undertaken since early 2005 have focused on the opportunities for cooperation between the French PA2 and the British CVF future carrier programs. These studies concluded that the basic 55,000-65,000t CVF design put together by the BAE-Thales Alliance team could meet the French Navy’s requirements with only limited tailoring. Unlike the 43,000t CVN Charles de Gaulle Class external link, therefore, the new PA2 carrier will feature conventional as opposed to nuclear engines.

The program faces obstacles in France, where a slow economy, aging population, and large array of public spending programs made funding somewhat uncertain beyond the May 2007 Presidential elections. Back at the Euronaval 2006 show, Aviation Week quoted Michele Alliot-Marie as reportedly saying that:

“[Her] ambition is to render this program as irreversible as possible.” She not only sees the project as vital to “ensure that our overseas deployment capacity remains permanent,” but also as a foundation for constructing “a consolidated European industry and a solid European defense.”

Suffice to say that 7 years and 4 defense ministers later, it didn’t work. As of 2013, France has been unable to find the budget to build PA2. The current government’s forthcoming 2013 White Paper is expected to deliver a firm verdict, but that same government is also putting brakes on the economy, amidst a general Euro-zone crisis that is far from over. Fiscal prospects going forward are exceedingly poor, which is why DCNS is beginning to look abroad. Brazil may become the PA2′s only lifeline.
PA2: The Design
DCNS Logo

If it’s ever built, the PA2 would operate about 32-40 aircraft of various types, including Rafale-M fighters, E-2C/D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, and AS565 Panther or NH90 NFH naval helicopters. The PA2 went through several design iterations (q.v. Appendix A), but based on 2010 design figures and public material from DCNS, envisioned specifications include:

Length (flight deck): 285 m
Beam (flight deck) : 67.5 – 69 m (37.5 at waterline)
Displacement: 62,000t
Range: 5,000 – 8,000 nautical miles, depending on detail design decisions
Endurance: 5-week mission without replenishment at sea.
Speed: 26 knots
Crew: 1,550: 900 ship + 650 air wing
Passengers: 220
Powerplant: 3 diesel engines + 1 gas turbine (CODAG/ CODLAG)
Catapults: 2 steam, with associated powerplants
Other: SATRAP list compensation system

By comparison, the nuclear-powered FS Charles de Gaulle is 261 meters long and about 45,000t.

Defensively, a SETIS combat system will be paired with a Herakles radar, giving the boat commonality with France’s new Aquitaine Class FREMM frigates. Defensive systems will include 2 x 8-cell SYLVER vertical launch sets. MBDA/Eurosam Aster 15 PAAMS missiles are already integrated with Herakles and SETIS, but cheaper and shorter-range VL-MICA missiles could also be substituted. Close-in air defense would be provided by Mistral short-range missiles, probably using the same 6-missile, remotely-controlled Sadral launcher found on the Charles de Gaulle (which mounts 2). A last-ditch CIWS system like Thales’ 30mm Goalkeeper is also a possibility. ECM and decoy systems would provide last-ditch “soft-kill” capability.


*The above articles underscore the need for the IN which I've been advocating for years,to rapidly augment its sub fleet of SSGNs and conventional AIP subs,apart from the planned SSBNs for our strat. deterrent.A wolf pack of IN SSGNs operating in the Indo-China Sea and Pacific waters would pose a huge threat to Chinese flat tops,their task forces,other naval assets and attacks against their naval bases using land attack missiles like K-15, Nirbhay and BMos.

PS:The Chinese have a great phrase,excellent advice in the current context,"hasten cautiously".

PPS:We have just receiving the Vikram and her complement of MIG-29Ks which are proving to be a great asset to the IN from the IN itself,and latest info that the Viraat may not be able to serve beyond 2017 due to the high cost of operating it,plus the fact that IAC-1 will only realistically arrive by 2020,means that we desperately need the Vikram for our maritime security the 7 years before IAC-1 arrives and ill only by then meet the IN's basic requirement for two carriers,three being the planned figure.Therefore the idea of selling the carrier is too ribtickling to be worthy of serious comment.

Philip
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 06 Dec 2013 11:41

More on the French offer to Brazil.The Brazilian requirement appears to have many similarities with the IN's carrier plans.Sweden plans to develop a Sea Gripen using STOBAR and the IN is also planning to use STOBAR for the NLCA.As mentioned earlier,we could offer Brazil a STOBAR carrier,IAC-1 design or larger,with NLCAs and options of MIG-29Ks from Russia (no problem there with offers) or Sea Gripens.In fact as the IN hones its carrier skills with the Vikram,and finishes the Vikrant-2,it is now in a position to offer developing nations affordable light to medium carrier designs and even the NLCA. The STOBAR option for launch would mean a more affordable carrier.Brazil is self sufficient in petro products,having large energy reserves so a conventional powerplant would suffice.HAL could even offer the Dhruv for the ultilty role,and one is sure that a naval version of the LCH could be developed even for the IN's future amphib vessels.Great opportunity.

April 8/13: Looking abroad at LAAD. DCNS is touting its PA2 carrier to Brazil, as a future replacement for Brazil’s aircraft carrier. The 32,800t NAe Sao Paolo is a second-hand boat, formerly France’s own Foch. With Brazil reportedly favoring the Rafale for its F-X2 competition, the PA2 design would be a natural replacement. The Marinha do Brazil is thinking big, and issued an RFP for aircraft carrier specifications in 2012. They’re thinking in terms of 1-2 carriers by 2025, when the Sao Paolo must retire. Shephard adds:

“Perrot noted that following the collapse of the BAE Systems-DCNS collaboration on aircraft carrier design, the French company had continued the design work and produced the PA2 design with conventional propulsion and a catapult assisted launch and recovery system. “From the French side, we see the future is with the catapult system and the Brazilian Navy has a history of using catapult-launched aircraft,” Perrot said.”

Unless Brazil buys the F-35B, France’s PA2 is close to being the only viable game in town for buying a new carrier, and second-hand opportunities won’t be an option. F-X2′s Rafale and Super Hornet finalists both require catapults, and the “JAS-39 Sea Gripen” remains a paper concept that hasn’t confirmed its ability to use STOBAR (Short Takeoff But Assisted Recovery). Since Britain’s CVF relies on a ski-jump for takeoff, and the Royal Navy’s experience has already confirmed how difficult it would be to add a catapult, the class may not be much of an option for Brazil. If DCNS isn’t building the PA2 for France, however, Brazil may well insist on nearly full construction in-country. It would be ironic if the outcome of the PA2 program was carrier construction capability in Brazil, and its atrophy in France. DCNS external link | Shephard external link.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 06 Dec 2013 13:10

>> Powerplant: 3 diesel engines + 1 gas turbine (CODAG/ CODLAG)
>> Speed: 26 knots

looks like they are sacrificing 5 knots in top speed vs nimitz class for a more economical diesel plant.

QE2 has 2 gasturbine, 4 wartsila diesel.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby John » 06 Dec 2013 20:50

Keep in mind unlike Nimitz a conventionally powered carrier can operate at top speed for only short duration.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby hanumadu » 07 Dec 2013 00:47

Also the time spent on frequent refueling. What about space? Wouldn't a lot of space be wasted for storing the fuel and the engines vs the reactors for nuclear propulsion?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby venkat_r » 07 Dec 2013 01:10

Such discussions on Carriers for India should have happened well before they were planned to acquire.

Philips sir, If you look at your arguments on why India should not have Nuke powered Carriers as it is not going to war with Pak or China, then there is no need to have the carriers in the first place. If we are talking on how fast or slow to get there, Nuke powered carriers are a must at some point in the future, why not by 2025.

Carriers do mean a lot, and once we are already on that path, cutting corners now does not make much sense. Carriers do give power projection and they open up many options in the east in the near future. For the time period of 2020 - 2025+ India should be operating Nuke carriers and who knows its foreign policies might be more aggresive. There is no use in having a carrier force with 65K displacement and turn around and talk defensively.

EMALS for IAC II is a no brainer. Along with the Carriers, there have to be additional flotilla that has to be procured by that time too. Each carrier should have couple of subs(preferably nuclear), destroyer/Frigates and a refulleing ship if the carrier is not Nuclear powered. Assumption is that no threat should be able to get close to the carrier.

If one thinks all this is not necessary, then why have a carrier force in the first place? To deal with Pakistan?? To project force away from shore requires some investment and if Indian policies are not to project power, then cancel these 65K+ displacement carriers and buy something else like subs + missle cruisers. That is a totally different kind of thinking which Russia used to have, a totally self sustaining carrier which can put some aircraft/gunships in the air, have missiles to deliver and also protect itself. Threats and scenarios against carriers have changed significantly since the time India used to have the Vikranth and its parcipation in 1971 war. It is ok to have less number of carrier groups, but it is no use to have the a carrier and cringe on the daily expenses of running them or acquiring additional flotilla around a carrier.

IAC II will arrive around 2025 and it should have nuke power, cost efficient or not. Yes space is an issue and space saved by nuke propulsion would have more space for amunition and fuel for aircrafts. India should be able to build a new carrier every 7-8 years now and post 2025 that might be every 5 years due to more efficient building practices. It is difficult to imagine 3-4 Carriers being operated by India without Nuke power during 2030+. Infact India might have other ships that might be nuke powered by that time.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Shalav » 07 Dec 2013 01:27

John wrote:Keep in mind unlike Nimitz a conventionally powered carrier can operate at top speed for only short duration.


How long?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Shalav » 07 Dec 2013 01:28

hanumadu wrote:Also the time spent on frequent refueling. What about space? Wouldn't a lot of space be wasted for storing the fuel and the engines vs the reactors for nuclear propulsion?



Fuel and other liquid stores (not human consumables)are stored in the double walled hulls of carriers. Have been since before WW II

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby member_28131 » 07 Dec 2013 04:19

x-posting

Rupak wrote:Merlin, there are no Barak-1 on the Kolkata, all SAMs are Barak-8/LRSAM


Does this mean that Vikramaditya would not be able to perform any meaningful combat operations till 2015 (or possibly later?) since Barak-8 is not ready yet?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby John » 07 Dec 2013 05:07

Shalav wrote:
John wrote:Keep in mind unlike Nimitz a conventionally powered carrier can operate at top speed for only short duration.


How long?

For 20 years...

Does this mean that Vikramaditya would not be able to perform any meaningful combat operations till 2015 (or possibly later?

Not sure if i follow you what does Kolkata have to do with Vikram?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby member_28131 » 07 Dec 2013 05:13

John wrote:Not sure if i follow you what does Kolkata have to do with Vikram?


My bad, I'm too preoccupied with Vikramaditya at the moment.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 07 Dec 2013 05:25

In theory,in a "paper fleet",it would be great to have N-powered carriers and warships.There's an old saying,"walk before you can run".Our experiment with nuclear powered warships and subs has just begun,with the ATV-1 and Akula-2/Chakra.Thus far we have built a N-reactor for an 8,000t sub with Russian help,whose reactor has just been switched on.Therefore it stands to reason that until we have sufficient successful experience with our desi N-reactor,using it for a carrier would have an element of risk.I've posted how France,with all its expertise in N-reactors for its navy,had problems with the CDG.A few decades ago,during the CW days,the Soviets had offered India a nuclear sub.The CNS at that time told me how he had to insist upon being given a full tour and briefing from his hosts.We then were operating only Foxtrots, and Kilos were just arriving.It would've been a quantum leap too much to handle.He wisely decided against the acquisition,instead plumped for indigenous sub-building with the German U-boats to give the IN a solid footing in indigenous conventional sub-building capability.Sadly,successive govts. of the day squandered the capability built up at huge cost,especially the human resource of skilled manpower,and we have had to relearn the process with the Scorpenes at a cost of billions.

Secondly,there are serious cost matters to consider,cost of acquisition and cost of operating the carrier.A US carrier costs upwards of $6.5/7.0M a day to run! We have just had a statement from the CNS that the Viraat,a mere 28,000t with numerous refits modernising it and conventionally powered too, is being found "too expensive" to maintain and may be pensioned off by 2017! Also remember that a carrier requires a task force of around 4-5 warships as well to support its operations with a huge crew to boot.We need 3 carriers,a minimum.The Vikram,IAC-1 and IAC-2 as planned and supported by 3-4 multi-role amphib flat tops should serve us well for the next 30-40 years and these flat tops will also be supported by a large number of LRMP aircraft and long-legged strike aircraft of the IAF too in IOR ops.Even with a conventional powerplant the IAC-2 would be able to perform its operations well anywhere in the world.Remember that while the carrier may be N-powered,the aircraft,helos,etc.,require fuel which has to be regularly topped up,while armament and logistic supplies are also needed especially during a conflict.Conventionally powered carriers of the US,UK and France,have since WW2 operated all over the globe successfully in various conflicts from the Falklands (Hermes/Viraat),Vietnam,Korea,the Gulf Wars,etc.Just look at the US supercarrier experience with the USS Kitty Hawk,just recently decommissioned,built in 1961 and her sister ships.

Kitty Hawk:1961.Supercarrier of 80,000t+.Propulsion,Westinghouse geared steam turbines, eight Foster Wheeler steam boilers, four shafts; 280,000 shp (210 MW).Speed 33kts,complement 5000+ crew,aircraft carried 85 (incl. 40 F-18s).It has served for almost 50 years.From 1998-2008 it was based in Japan,at Yokosuka.Sister ships.Constellation (1961),America (1965).The JFK a sub-class of the KH,also conventionally powered,was built in 1968,the USN's last conventionallly powered carrier.The ship was originally ordered as a nuclear carrier, using the A3W reactor, but converted to conventional propulsion after construction had begun.
Therefore,a supercarrier does not always have to be nuclear powered.Why,the Kuznetsov,at around 65,000t-the same size as the planned IAC-2 is conventionally powered and so too are the UK's new QE class,where it was found to be more economical to build and operate a conventionally powered carrier.The Chinese Varyag/Liaoning too is also a conventionally powered carrier!

Thirdly,India has to decide now what its future role in global maritime affairs is going to be.What is the role for the IN in pursuing our national interest,assisting diplomacy,apart from protecting our shores and island territories.Since Independence we have maintained a national foreign policy of independence ,refusing to be banded with a military alliance either from east to west.This served us well as even without a mil. alliance with the Soviets,we had tremendous diplomatic and mil. support from them in '71 when we dismembered BDesh.India has no expeditionary warfare role now or for the next few decades.By that one means waging war at any point on the globe as the US and its allies have done for decades beggaring their economies in the process and getting defeated most of the time too! We are not a superpower like the US -and I'm talking of the economy first.Unless you have a superpower economy,it is futile to imagine operating armed forces of superpower strength and capability.With the Indian economy going downhill at speed and the current PM asking us to cut down on defence spending,where is the money going to come from to meet even the long standing critical acquisitions like the artillery for the IA,MMRCAs,and the IN's long list of subs,amphibs,ASW helos,etc.?

Lastly,our developing prime threat is China.The earlier posts show how China can be tackled effectively not neccessarily with CBGs and far more economically too using a balanced fleet approach, especially with stealthy SSGNs.He we are on more solid footing,with a series of homebuilt N-subs in the pipeline and hopefully more N-sub acquisitions from Russia.There was sometime ago a suggestion by a Russian analyst ,that to deal with China,Russia could transfer heavy SSGNs of the Oscar class which could each carry dozens of land attack missiles.Geographically too China is seriously constrained in operating its surface fleet in the IOR thanks to the chokepoints of the Malacca Straits,etc.They would have to run the gauntlet and survive attacks from aircraft,warships,land based missiles and subs too.Study the Battle of Leyte Gulf in WW2 and how the Japanese fleet was destroyed in possibly the largest naval battle in history,actually a series of battles,esp. the battle of Surigao Strait.

(On 20 October, United States troops invaded the island of Leyte as part of a strategy aimed at isolating Japan from the countries it had occupied in Southeast Asia, and in particular depriving its forces and industry of vital oil supplies. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) mobilized nearly all of its remaining major naval vessels in an attempt to defeat the Allied invasion, but was repulsed by the US Navy's 3rd and 7th Fleets. The IJN failed to achieve its objective, suffered very heavy losses, and never afterwards sailed to battle in comparable force. The majority of its surviving heavy ships, deprived of fuel, remained in their bases for the rest of the Pacific War.[4][5])

How is China therefore getting round this problem? By using its subs in the IOR,of which more than 24 contacts were made last year around our coastline. Of the threats that China faces,India is not at the top of its list.China is primarily a Pacific maritime power and has to deal with the US,Japan,SoKo,Oz and other US allies.The IN as of now does not operate in any measure of strength or threat in the Indo-China Sea or Pacific waters.A Chinese "take away" of Taiwan is its primary non-negotiable concern.To achieve that it needs to sanitise the first island chain so that outside forces cannot enter with impunity as the USN did some time ago,and prevent China from a mil. invasion of Taiwan.It has also developed its MIRV terminal homing BMs for anti-carrier use (posts above).Instead of high profile "showing the flag" missions by an IN carrier task force,it would be far more efficient to send into the Indo-China Sea a wolf pack of SSGNs and conventional AIP subs which would be difficult to detect and destroy.See how just one RN N attack sub ,The Conqueror,sent the Argie fleet into port after the Belgrano was sunk.

Therefore,the IN and MOD have to very carefully study the overall implications of the propulsion system for IAC-2,not the acquisition of IAC-2,as well as the future role of the IN as an extension of India's foreign policy and where it draws the line. The most compelling argument for N-propulsion is fuel supplies (one still needs aviation fuel,etc. for air ops).But here the issue impinges far more on China which risks having its oil supplies cut off in the IOR than India.China is mor elikely to plump for N-propulsion for its future carriers than the IN,but if that happens,it would be a matter of prestige ,"keeping up with the Chens"!

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Shalav » 07 Dec 2013 05:46

John wrote:For 20 years...


You misunderstood - how short a duration is meant by "can operate at top speed for only short duration."

I don't know and I am eager to learn if you have the numbers.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Eric Leiderman » 07 Dec 2013 07:29

Nobody will( or can) give those numbers, At the max operating pressure of the boilers the weak links will be the high pressure piping, the condensers, the low pressure piping, The condenser vaccum pressure The max speed was attained on sea trials recently and unless there is a war like situation doubt if they will repeat same in the near future. Short duration would usually imply 6-24 hrs .

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby John » 07 Dec 2013 08:55

Thought you were asking the Nimitz, for Vikramaditya the range would be drastically cut at max speed/speeds greater than its cruising speed. I would guess greater than 25 knots the vessel range would be no more than 1000 nm.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 07 Dec 2013 09:45

Eye on future, India mulls options for nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Navy vice-chief Vice Admiral RK Dhowan on Thursday said a "detailed study" was underway on the "size, type of aircraft and their launch and recovery systems, propulsion" and the like for the IAC-II project. "Yes, we are also considering nuclear propulsion. All options are being studied. No final decision has been taken," he said.

.....................................................

So, while Navy may want a nuclear-powered carrier, it will ultimately have to be a considered political decision. The force, however, is firm about its long-term plan to operate three carrier-battle groups (CBGs). "One carrier for each (western and eastern) seaboard and one in maintenance," said Vice Admiral Dhowan.


I do not recall when the strike corps for the eastern front came into being and there was some push back - both politically and from the finmin too. Ultimately the political situ(ation) won out. It is just that in the case of an aircraft carrier one cannot go back and redo the propulsion - unlike in the strike corps decsion making situ(ation). For that reason alone I feel that they will let the IAC-II be propelled by a nuke.


As a FYI only:

(from the original manuscript, which was cited in an article posted above. Not very well written):

At What Cost a Carrier

Factoring in the total life-cycle costs of
an associated carrier air wing, surface combatants and
one fast-attack submarine, plus the
nearly 6,700 men and women to crew them, it
costs about $6.5 million per day to operate each
strike group
.


Not just the AC alone.
Last edited by NRao on 07 Dec 2013 10:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Aditya G » 07 Dec 2013 10:13

Pic here shows the 2 distinct types of minor vessels carried aboard the Vikramaditya. One of them appears to be useful as troops and stores carrier and other one seems to be for officer use.

http://www.wrk.ru/forums/attachment.php ... &type=.jpg

Also note the sensors installed on the island below the Rezistor ... id please?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby JTull » 07 Dec 2013 14:13

I don't think nuclear propulsion was reached such maturity in India that we can risk IAC-2 to be hostage to that. We don't have any operational vessel that currently uses it. And we would barely have any experience in 2 years time when I suspect they must freeze the design specs.

Similarly I don't think Scorpenes should be held hostage to a prototype AIP tech developed by DRDO. Get a proven MESMA unit and get DRDO to gain experience with their own tech in the meantime.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 07 Dec 2013 17:59

A must read to understand the debate on supercarriers,from a Pentagon analysts himself.This should be read by all IN top brass and planners.

Twilight of the $UPERfluous Carrier

Proceedings Magazine - May 2011 Vol. 137/5/1,299
By Captain Henry J. Hendrix, U.S. Navy, and Lieutenant Colonel J. Noel Williams, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)

With smaller and lighter unmanned aircraft coming into the mix, the United States can also deploy smaller
and lighter—and less expensive—ships to carry them.


We can’t know for sure in what ways future adversaries will challenge our Fleet, but we can assess with some certainty how technology is affecting their principal capabilities. Judging from the evidence at hand, future Fleet actions will place a premium on early sensing, precision targeting, and long-range ballistic- and cruise-missile munitions. Increasingly sophisticated over-the-horizon and space-based sensors, in particular, will focus on signature control and signature deception. Thus, we must ask ourselves how best to win this battle of signatures and long-range strike.

In the current Fleet, submarines are the gold standard for signature control. But unless they receive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) from other sources, they have limited sensing ranges. While surface combatants have longer-range sensing capabilities in multiple domains, they pay for it with a significantly higher signature. This balance between signature and sensing will, in large measure, dictate the future Fleet’s architecture.

So will the future be one of submarines belching massive salvos of missiles, or large arrays of land- and air-launched hypersonic, conventional projectiles crossing a maritime no-man’s-land to directly strike strategic centers of gravity? Given very clear technology trends toward precision long-range strike and increasingly sophisticated anti-access and area-denial capabilities, high-signature, limited-range combatants like the current aircraft carrier will not meet the requirements of tomorrow’s Fleet. In short, the march of technology is bringing the supercarrier era to an end, just as the new long-range strike capabilities of carrier aviation brought on the demise of the battleship era in the 1940s.

The Carrier Dilemma

Factors both internal and external are hastening the carrier’s curtain call. Competitors abroad have focused their attention on the United States’ ability to go anywhere on the global maritime commons and strike targets ashore with pinpoint accuracy. That focus has resulted in the development of a series of sensors and weapons that combine range and strike profiles to deny carrier strike groups the access necessary to launch squadrons of aircraft against shore installations.

One issue of concern is the highly experimental and expensive move toward high-sortie-generation technology like the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which flies in the face of transition to precision-strike systems that promise one-target:one-weapon ratios. In addition, a series of poor acquisition decisions, beginning with the mismanagement and ultimate cancellation of the A-12 Avenger as the replacement aircraft for the A-6 Intruder deep-strike aircraft, have exacerbated the challenge to carrier efficacy. The resulting reduction in the combat-effective range of the carrier air wing from 1,050 to 500 nautical miles forces the carrier to operate closer to enemy shores even as anti-access systems would logically force the carrier farther seaward.

Accompanying this range deficiency has been the dramatic increase in the cost of the carrier and her air wing. The price tag for the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) was $950 million, or 4.5 percent of the Navy’s $21 billion budget in 1976. The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), lead ship of a new class of supercarriers, is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $12.5 billion. Add to that the Navy’s own estimate of a 60 percent chance the ship will exceed the original cost projection and the number of technologies still under development. This brings the estimate to around $13.5 billion, or 8.7 percent of a $156 billion budget—all this while the ship is still plagued with technical risk factors like EMALS and the multi-function radar. The U.S. National Command Authority would need to be facing a gravely extreme scenario to commit this sort of strategic asset, with a crew of 5,000 men and women. The Gerald R. Ford is just the first of her class. She should also be the last.

Future Challenges, Future Missions

Before suggesting an alternative to the current Fleet architecture, we must further explore the coming threat environment. And from that assessment, we should define future missions. As has been discussed recently in these pages, the naval services are at a strategic inflection point with regard to Fleet design unlike anything they have faced in 70 years. That the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor had a catalytic effect on hastening the ascendancy of the carrier over the battleship is well recognized. But it is also essential to point out that the enemy always has a vote, and geography and geopolitics matter.

It was not simply that aviation technologies had matured to a point where they became sufficiently reliable and effective in the 1940s to doom the battleship; it was also key that the Japanese presented the United States with roughly equal demand for naval sea-control and power-projection forces. In response, the aircraft carrier performed very well in both mission areas. So it is the mission as much as the march of technology that dictates the development of an effective Fleet architecture.

Since World War II, we have experienced varying levels of demand for sea control and power projection. The Soviet Union certainly challenged us strongly in sea control with submarines and long-range bombers. That approach was both logical and expected for a continental power confronting a maritime power. Since 1989, sea control has been largely uncontested and assumed, leaving power projection as the mission emphasis. Now, with the reappearance of a former great power, China, on the seas in force, a sea-control challenge emerges for the United States. Unlike the Soviet Union, however, China is responding in a way one would expect a maritime nation to challenge another maritime nation.

The Chinese are emphasizing sea control over power projection. Given this Chinese “vote” and the challenges we continue to face in the Middle East and Northeast Asia, we must rebalance our Fleet to meet new sea-control missions while maintaining reasonable power-projection capabilities for the range of global threats we will encounter. These new challenges mean that the Fleet architecture must evolve rapidly to meet the new mission requirements of our time. We need to recognize this now and avoid a 21st-century Pearl Harbor.

New Paradigm, New Fleet

Change is essential, but Fleets don’t just change overnight. As always, the true pacing factors are the financial and industrial capacities of a nation. Current anti-access systems suggest that the future Fleet will be dominated by submarines.But the relative lack of maturity in implementing those technologies into a comprehensive battle network means that we have time to make deliberate and strategic course corrections to a lower signature and a longer-range striking Fleet. That would feature not only subs, but also unmanned systems in the air, on the surface, and below the waves, thus establishing a new paradigm for Fleet design.

In such a new strategic environment, unmanned systems diminish the utility of the supercarrier, because her sea-control and power-projection missions can be performed more efficiently and effectively by other means.
When the carrier superseded the battleship, the latter still retained great utility for naval surface fire support. Similarly, today’s carrier will be replaced by a network of unmanned platforms, while still retaining utility as an as-needed strike platform. Ultimately, the decision to kill the battleships was not because they lacked utility, but because they were too expensive to man and operate. Future budgetary constraints could lead to a similar outcome for the carrier, recognizing that even if we purchased no new supercarriers, we would still have operational carriers in the Fleet for more than 50 years.

In the meantime, the America -class big-deck amphibious ship has the potential to be a new generation of light aircraft carrier. At 45,000 tons’ displacement, she will slide into the water larger than her World War II predecessors, and larger even than the modern French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle .
Designed without an amphibious well-deck, she will put to sea with a Marine Air Combat Element and key elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit.

However, to view this purely as an amphibious-assault ship would be to miss her potential as a strike platform. Stripped of her rotorcraft, the America class could comfortably hold two squadrons of F-35B short take-off vertical-landing (STOVL) stealth fighter/attack aircraft. Such an arrangement would allow the naval services to dramatically increase presence and strike potential throughout the maritime domain. In addition, if the requirements were instituted in the near term, the new unmanned carrier-launched airborne-surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft could be designed to operate from America -class decks with greater potential utility and distribution than what could be expected when operating from super carriers.
Room for Two Carrier Types

Using the America class as a light aircraft carrier would provide significant flexibility to the Fleet. For the immediate future, the remaining supercarrier inventory could support a surge capability, when required, while the light carriers could provide greater engagement capability forward (light forward-surge heavy). Since three light carriers can be purchased for the cost of a single supercarrier, and since the smaller aviation component represents a more appropriate capacity for engagement missions, light carriers promise increased presence capacity with vastly lower operating costs.

Discussions of operating costs within naval aviation quickly give way to questions regarding costs of major programs over the lifetime of the platforms. The advent of the UCLASS can provide the United States with additional fiscal flexibility as well as strategic advantage. Presently, the Department of Defense remains stuck in the beginning stages of testing and fielding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. This platform will be a critical component of the nation’s future force structure in the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy.

The F-35A will be a conventional takeoff-and-landing platform and will replace much of the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 and F-16 inventory. Marine AV-8B Harriers will turn over their deck spots to the F-35B STOVL version, while U.S. Navy F/A-18 C/D Hornets will give way to the F-35C carrier variant. These aircraft could exceed $120 million each and are currently projected to be one to three years behind schedule because of design and test issues. Clearly, in light of the declining utility of the supercarrier, additional options are needed.

Presently, the Navy plans to purchase 480 F-35Cs over the life of the program at an estimated cost of $80–100 billion. A suggested alternative investment strategy would be to cancel the F-35C program and extend the F/A-18 E/F production line, with its current unit cost of $55 million each, yielding a net savings of $60–110 million per unit. Those aircraft could service the remaining super carriers, while the savings could be invested in accelerating the development and transition to the UCLASS. F-35B production, despite the unit cost, should proceed as scheduled because no other suitable alternative exists to replace the rapidly aging Harriers. Otherwise, transitioning the America -class carriers to unmanned aircraft is the more appealing alternative.
Beneath the Surface

Cruise-missile-equipped fast-attack submarines and large-salvo guided-missile submarines would become the natural complements to the UCLASS. Launched from stealthy platforms lying hidden beneath the waves, cruise and conventionally armed ballistic missiles would speed toward critical command, control, communications, and computer ISR nodes ahead of manned and unmanned strike aircraft, crippling an enemy’s ability to defend itself. Such platforms would also have a deterrent effect, promising quick-reaction strikes from unknown and unidentifiable locations should competitors choose to attack American national interests anywhere on the planet.

However, as clearly shown by other nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the United States cannot place all of its emphasis on submarines to perform day-to-day presence missions. To be an effective agent of American influence, a platform must be seen, and the nation must be perceived to be taking the risks that go along with presence operations just like any other nation. In other words, the United States requires an effective surface fleet—but not the one currently planned.

Ironically, one of the most maligned and dismissed components of the current Fleet already has the fundamental attributes needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Amphibious ships are the prototypes for future surface combatants. Their design essentials make them perfect carriers of unmanned systems. Amphibious ships by design provide strong interfaces to the air, surface, and subsurface domains.

The new combatants would actually be “carriers,” but rather than carrying aircraft, they would carry an array of unmanned systems. A balanced Fleet would have a mix of small, medium, and large unmanned carrier combatants to cover the range of Fleet functions. One near-term option would be to truncate production of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and replace both the LCS and the Dock Landing Ship (LSD) with a common hull displacing around 10,000 tons.
America the Beautiful

That small amphib would have a flight deck capable of handling all naval rotorcraft and a well-deck that could accommodate current ship-to-shore connectors, as well as future unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles. Building 60 of these combatants would provide significant strategic flexibility to the Fleet, allowing ships performing LCS missions to be easily sortied as amphibs in support of a large amphibious mission, should the need arise. Those ships would be the utility infielders of the Fleet, providing a tremendous platform for engagement missions and humanitarian-assistance/disaster-relief response at one end and amphibious operations and sea control at the other.

This sort of mission flexibility should be considered a key design attribute for any future combatant. In addition, numbers count in two important ways. First, more ships allow the Fleet to operate forward in more places. Second, more numerous, smaller vessels provide a resilient and survivable high-low mix. Technology makes this disproportionate ratio of small to large combatants possible.

In past gun and aircraft eras, there was a linear relationship between size and reach. Now, in the missile era, a small combatant can reach as far as a larger one. Because the most critical naval competition will be the battle of signatures, a small signature-controlled combatant with long-range precision strike will be a decisive component of any Fleet.

If this combatant has the ability to deploy her own surface pickets and antisubmarine and mine-countermeasures unmanned systems, a resilient Fleet architecture emerges where these multi-mission self-protected elements can combine into larger federations of networked platforms to create the battle Fleet of the future. Given the strong capabilities of each component, there is no single point of failure, and the system would attrite gracefully in contrast to the catastrophic failure the loss of a supercarrier would entail with today’s Fleet.

The course of technological development renders a Fleet incorporating the design principles discussed here inevitable. However, with emerging-threat and economic challenges, it is essential we as a nation recognize the need for a new Fleet design sooner rather than later. We can raise an Army in years, but building a Navy takes decades.
The Future Fleet

As always, the future is behind an opaque veil we cannot see clearly beyond, so we will never be able to prepare with complete assurance for what awaits us. However, we can take stock of our historical interests and the present strategic environment and then decide where we need to invest and build on our existing national-security foundation. When considering future Fleet composition, it is critical to explore with clarity the Fleet’s peacetime and wartime roles. In wartime, the Fleet must be capable of consolidating its power in a coherent fashion to control the seas and project power ashore against enemy centers of gravity. In peacetime, it must be able to disperse globally to operate as a deterrent and engagement force.

Continuing to invest in platforms such as the supercarrier—which are expensive to build, cost-prohibitive to operate, and increasingly vulnerable in anti-access/area denied environments—is to repeat the mistakes of the battleship admirals who failed to recognize air power’s potential in the 1930s.

No less authority than Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard has stated that China’s DF-21D antiship ballistic missile has reached initial operational capability. We must recognize the new environments in which we will be operating, as well as the profound impact unmanned systems will have on future operations, and adjust our Fleet accordingly if we are to avoid a Pearl Harbor of our own making. We must reallocate science-and-technology, research-and-development, and acquisition resources toward this new Fleet paradigm.

It is neither necessary nor advisable to suddenly suspend supercarrier operations. Those already in commission and the Gerald R. Ford now under construction will last for decades. And extending the F/A-18 Super Hornet line will maintain that aircraft’s viability and provide the bridge to an unmanned future. In the meantime, we should be moving to light carriers of the 45,000-ton range that can accommodate the STOVL variant of the F-35 as well as the new UCLASS unmanned attack vehicle. We should also be developing a new generation of combatants with flight decks and well-decks that can carry platforms for deployment into subsurface, surface, and aerial environments. All of this will provide regional combatant commanders with the ability to respond to a rapidly evolving security environment.

Moving away from highly expensive and vulnerable supercarriers toward smaller, light carriers would bring the additional benefit of increasing our nation’s engagement potential. This type of force structure would allow the United States to increase its forward presence, upholding its interests with a light engagement force while maintaining, at least for the next 50 years, a heavy surge force of supercarriers. Geopolitics and technology are rapidly evolving the future security environment, and we must make decisions today to adapt the Fleet away from its current course to a new design for a new era.

Captain Hendrix is a strategist in the Pentagon. He is a naval flight officer and former aviation squadron commanding officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Williams is currently working as a strategy and policy analyst at Headquarters Marine Corps.


Here's another article on the same theme.

http://blog.usni.org/2011/03/31/must-ev ... percarrier
Must Every Carrier be a Supercarrier?


Hendrix has elequently put the arguments for light amphib "carriers" ,something that I've been advocating for 2 decades now.The recent launch of drones from a US sub ,and the earlier launch of the X-47B UCAV from a carrier deck,indicates that the RMA (revolution in maritime affairs) has begun,we have entered a new ear in naval warfare.

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_0 ... rine-4346/

6 December 2013, 16:30
Threat from under sea? US Navy fires spy drone from submarine

Just in case military drone strikes weren’t scary enough, now the US Navy has demonstrated that it can launch aerial drones from a submerged submarine. The XFC unmanned aircraft is launched vertically from a "Sea Robin" launch vehicle attached to the submarine, USS Providence. The technique is similar to the way Tomahawk cruise missiles are deployed.

The launch system was designed to fit within an empty canister used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles. Once ejected from the canister, the launch vehicle with the drone rises to the ocean surface; the drone's X-wings then unfold and the vehicle assumes a horizontal flight path.

The test launch was followed by what the Navy says was a successful, "several hour" flight. The XFC itself can last for more than six hours on fuel cells, and be launched from something as small as a pickup truck when on land, the Navy says.

The XFC drone streamed live video back to the Providence, support vessels and Navy officials before landing at the Naval Sea Systems Command Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center in the Bahamas.

The Navy released a time-lapse photo taken of the underwater launch but didn’t reveal exactly where, or when, the operation took place:

Photo: © Photo: NAVSEA-AUTEC

This demonstration took 6 years to produce and was significantly less expensive compared to traditional decade-long programs, according to the Naval Research Laboratory. The new development is expected to help the Navy collect crucial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

"This six-year effort represents the best in collaboration of a Navy laboratory and industry to produce a technology that meets the needs of the special operations community," Dr. Warren Schultz, program developer and manager at NRL, said in a press release. "The creativity and resourcefulness brought to the project by a unique team of scientists and engineers represents an unprecedented shift in UAV propulsion and launch systems."

The launch comes amid intensified interest in the use of drones in commercial applications. Amazon last week announced plans to offer same day delivery on some goods using short-range drones. The mere mention of the idea was enough to cause a commotion, with columnists and lawmakers alike warning against such a plan. The world's largest parcel service, UPS, is also researching the use of drones for delivering some packages.

DARPA is also working on a submarine "mothership" that can launch both unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles, all different types of drone. Dubbed the Hydra program, this initiative will enable sailors to send remotely piloted, and someday perhaps fully autonomous, craft into battle zones virtually undetected.
It could also scare the pants off any unsuspecting fishermen!
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_0 ... rine-4346/


PS:For carrier jingos,here's the real deal!
http://blogs.militarytimes.com/scoopdec ... for-cheap/

The Navy unloaded its first supercarrier Tuesday for 1 cent.
Two other conventionally-powered carriers, ex-Saratoga and ex-Constellation, are also up for scrapping.
Last edited by Philip on 07 Dec 2013 18:21, edited 1 time in total.

Singha
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 07 Dec 2013 18:10

despite these light carrier rumblings...the radar on a DF21D whose diameter will be larger than that of a brahmos can easily pickup a 45,000t carrier from 100km away perhaps...not much savings in RCS vs a regular nimitz class. and given the US cost structure and systems it wont be much cheaper than a big carrier either once they are done adding all bells and whistles to it.

I do not see them moving to small carriers anytime soon. none of these smaller vstol carriers can bring to bear the king of weight a big carrier can. but they could be useful as platforms to operate UCAV/UAV from to free up the big carriers for manned ops only.

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 07 Dec 2013 20:06

I would not follow Hendrix. He, like David Axe (of F-35 fame) is very selective in his research references. So, his conclusions are very predictable. He is not wrong, just that he is - as a researcher - is badly incomplete. Best to keep him in your back pocket. But, I find him to be a weak researcher, who beats you by repeating his own arguments often enough.

RPGs beat up on tanks in the ME. Why even field tanks in that case?

I cannot definitively say that the IN needs aircraft carriers, but I can say that if they claim they need three for the IOR alone, then why not expand that based on potential threats in the near future (say up to 2070 or so)?

BTW, the USN plans on delivering a Ford class AC every five years until 2058.

JTull wrote:I don't think nuclear propulsion was reached such maturity in India that we can risk IAC-2 to be hostage to that. We don't have any operational vessel that currently uses it. And we would barely have any experience in 2 years time when I suspect they must freeze the design specs.


They are about to rely on this unproven technology for their nuclear triad!!!!!! (They intend freezing the IAC-II design in two months.)

BTW, what is not a risk? Arjun? A new Indian engine for the Arjun? Astra? PAD? Agni-XX? None are really "operational".

______________

Technically it is a non issue. Politically I feel India has no choice: Saichen (talk of expense) and the Strike Corp for the NE are the examples I would present. Economically, do not know, situation may force the Indian hand.

______________

The US has offered to help. That could be a very useful source, unless viewed as a taboo of being some sort of a deputy!!!!!

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 07 Dec 2013 22:43

@Philip ^^^: "Hendrix has elequently put the arguments for light amphib "carriers" ,something that I've been advocating for 2 decades now.The recent launch of drones from a US sub ,and the earlier launch of the X-47B UCAV from a carrier deck,indicates that the RMA (revolution in maritime affairs) has begun,we have entered a new ear in naval warfare."

Why not have both if you can afford it? King Khan can:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America-cl ... sault_ship

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby TSJones » 07 Dec 2013 22:55

Cosmo_R wrote:@Philip ^^^: "Hendrix has elequently put the arguments for light amphib "carriers" ,something that I've been advocating for 2 decades now.The recent launch of drones from a US sub ,and the earlier launch of the X-47B UCAV from a carrier deck,indicates that the RMA (revolution in maritime affairs) has begun,we have entered a new ear in naval warfare."

Why not have both if you can afford it? King Khan can:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America-cl ... sault_ship


Haven't you been following what Philip says? Philip says that if you do what the US does with its carriers you will start losing all your wars like the US does. Now you don't want that to happen do you?

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby vishvak » 07 Dec 2013 23:30

Amidst a bunch of issues discussed, one can anyways remember naval blockade of Chittagong harbour in the Bangol waters by INS Vikrant during 1971 war.
An article from BR: Cold War Games

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby TSJones » 08 Dec 2013 00:13

vishvak wrote:Amidst a bunch of issues discussed, one can anyways remember naval blockade of Chittagong harbour in the Bangol waters by INS Vikrant during 1971 war.
An article from BR: Cold War Games


Drat! Here we thought we running silent with our war time task force screen out, ready to pounce when those silent and deadly Soviet subs were following us all of the time ready to step in and start a war with the US for India! Oh, the horror!

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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 08 Dec 2013 00:15

gents, plz stick to the vik and IN's current and future carrier plans.

NRao
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Re: INS Vikramaditya: News and Discussion

Postby NRao » 08 Dec 2013 01:01

Q: For INS Vishal (IAC-II) to get a CAT (steam or electric), India will have to approach the US, right? Or are there any other options out there? TIA.


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