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X

We pull their tail, they pull ours. All good fun.

We need more investment in Crowsnest. Better sensors and more cabs.

Geoffrey Hicking

Grey warfare, red in tooth and claw.

Nick C

Looking at the ensign in the photo implies that it was a downwind launch.

Supportive Bloke

It would have been interesting if the photo was framed a bit lower so we could see how much way she had in her. My guess is virtually none.

eclipse

If you open this up on an iPhone/iPad and tap and hold you can see a little lower.

eclipse

comment image

Supportive Bloke

Thnx

She doesn’t seem to have much way on her.

Joys of VSTOL!!

Duker

Yes. The ramp gives the plane the correct angle of attack for maximum lift and the forward lift fan gives some extra vertical thrust.

Henry

Interestingly, looking at the wind waves suggests it is an upwind launch and the windspeed is under 5 knots. Vessel must be going backwards or something is amiss with the picture.

Sonik

That’s the beauty of V-STOL plus ski-ramp, no wind over deck needed.

Duker

The A-5 Vigilante was supposedly designed to be catapulted without WOD- so it could do so with carrier tied to wharf in a war emergency, as its original strategic bomber mission. Not sure how much fuel it would be carrying.
Like the Buccaneer made a good Canberra replacement, the A-5 or a derivative with UK engines and other land based changes would have made a good TSR type bomber from the early 60s. Some of the avionics from North American were adapted for the TSR-2.

ATH

As there are almost alway U.K. tankers in Cypress and US ones in both Crete and Turkey it would have been straightforward to organise support for a long mission over the Black Sea.

AlexS

Ouch, she almost already looks like Hermes. I think this big trip is a very good idea, essential to improve everything.

dick van dyke

Don’t be silly, she looks nothing like Hermes.

Jonathan

I think he means the rusty slightly rumpled look.

AlexS

Yeah that, and the sky jump have the same vibe.

dick van dyke

Only Joking ! Yes she does resemble Hermes but the paintwork is worse.

David Steeper

Comes with the job.Deserved refit when she gets back will fix it.

Jack65

So Russian jets were armed….. were our Alert Fighters armed? She’s steamed a very long distance, so bound to be a bit of wear and tear. Hoping Crowsnest has done its bit and any early teething problems were overcome……

James William Fennell

I’m sure – reading between the lines – that F-35 CAPs can do much better early warning with their own networked sensors than Crowsnest, and Crowsnest itself was not working properly. Future AEW will need to be better than that provided by the F-35s themselves. I wonder if Crowsnest will ever see light of day now? I’m sure RN want to move quickly to a more capable system.

Last edited 1 month ago by James William Fennell
Supportive Bloke

That is the thing really.

With CSG + drones for AAR slated to become reality in only a few years I was wondering the same.

For passive and low lower power AEW – drones are a thing and with AAR a very persistent thing that can hang around high over the CSG hoovering up EM.

A high power AEW drone + AAR drone would be a lot more useful than CrowsNest anyway. The issue is: high power + drone # reality. So unless some of the RR jet cores that generate lots of juice are coming on stream I’m bit flummoxed as to how the AEW bit will have enough bong for active or EW.

James William Fennell

Agreed. F-35 has a stunning EW and sensor suite, so that may have to do for active. A passive drone PESA system is more than possible. Teathered drone active arrays might be an option, although will need to keep them far from the flightdeck – so maybe something for Type 83 destroyers? Even a navalised version of Sea Guardian with Seaspray radar would do better than Crowsnest, I imagine, if only due to better altitude performance, and double as an ASW platform.

Last edited 1 month ago by James William Fennell
Supportive Bloke

The tethered drone thing was looked at a large number of times.

Passive can be done with a head amp up the top.

The active issue you run into is the weight of the cable for the kW that have to get to the radar on the top. In fact it is more weight efficient to put a turbo generator up top than try and feed the power from down below!!

The sea state limitations of the heavy tether are also a thing.

The maths was looked at a lot post ‘82 and yes, materials have changed a lot but the fundamentals are still there. This has been openly talked about many times.

Honestly persistent drones are the way to go. Particularly if you can AAR the AEW so it takes off light of fuel and heavy with power/sensors and then cruises around at altitude with a good big fuel load. MTOW and all that.

James William Fennell

Thanks SB, very good points.

Meirion x

Or a C2 like aircraft with Wegetail radar would be within the weight limits of the proposed C&T. Fit a rise-able ramp on bow for F-35Bs.

Drones for AAR are ok, but for AEW, maybe problematic and subject to
interference, hacking etc?

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
ATH

Wegetail’s radar is to big for it and it’s electronics to go on anything much smaller than a 737. The C&T being investigated is for aircraft lighter than an F35.
I suspect given the state of the technology and the MoD budget we are more than 10 years away from a drone AEW entering squadron service.
The MoD needs to put pressure on LM to get Crowsnest working up to spec ASAP.

Meirion x

I am sure the Hawkeye’s radar (AN/APS-145), could be updated to something similar to, but smaller than Wegetail(MESA) radar? Or could Northrop Grumman produce a smaller version of their Wegetail(MESA) radar to fit a C2 like aircraft or even a V-22?
To be equalent of the RAF in upgrading their E-3Sentry(AN/APY-1/2), to Wegetail(MESA) aircraft.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Meirion x

I see there are proposed successers to the V-22 that could be future AEW aircraft, with a modified Wegetail(MESA) radar.
See below.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
DaveyB

Saab’s Erieye radar, would be the perfect candidate for a large UAV AEW platform. It is significantly lighter than the Wedgetail’s MESA, operates at a higher frequency, but still has a 400kkm range.

Duker

Essentially correct for the smaller radars , dont know about updating old airframes ( Nimrod!)
Check out Northrop Grummans AESA radars online.

X

It’s just dangerous. Simple at that.

Jon

Drones for AAR would be nice, but I’m not sure that’s a done deal yet, and “only a few years” seems optimistic. Even if the Mosquito demonstrator flies in 2023, and a marinized Vixen demonstrator is produced from it, then adapted as a CATOBAR tanker, and is put into production, and worked up and made operational, all in just a few years, actually refitting the carriers will be a big expensive deal that won’t happen in a hurry. I’d rather see a couple of 15,000 ton flattops built, as that would be a less risky and maybe even cheaper solution.

Early next decade if it all goes smoothly is my guess. Maybe in time for Crowsnest’s retirement if we’re lucky. If Crowsnest really is as useless as people are implying, plan B will be a capability gap until Vixen is ready.

Perhaps with its recently announced switch to a Rolls Royce engine, the V-280 Valor is worth another look as an interim purchase, to give Vixen the time it needs to mature.

Supportive Bloke

I’ve zero insight into the CrowsNest program.

All, I am trying to say, is that the F35 radar is very good and CrowsNest has got to add something for it to augment CAP otherwise it is a waste of time and resources.

Maranised drones are real.

Drone AAR is real and at test stage.

I would *guess/hope* that rather than carve up a QEC for a fast evolving tech that instead a cheap and nasty merchant conversion was done to perfect it and then transplant the perfected system onto QEC.

Meirion x

Do you mean “cheap and nasty merchant conversion” can provide drone AAR using a C&T system and from fuel stored under deck?

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Supportive Bloke

At least to test it out and work out the wrinkles.

It is a lot less of a deal than altering a QEC flight deck.

It would not be combat zone safe

Jon

Crowsnest’s retirement by the end of the decade had already been announced before the CSG sailed. Formal IOC was expected at the time to be delayed until last month, but I haven’t heared anything and it may have missed that deadline too.

I’m really pleased to hear that the UK’s drone AAR programme is real and under test. Do you have any links? I’m guessing it’s not as spiffy as the US MQ-25 yet, but hopefully it’ll be a lot cheaper too. I think those cost more than F-35s.

A dirty merchant conversion would be fine as a cat/traps tester, provided the power was there, but you wouldn’t want to send it to war. Replacing instead a couple of the multi-role support ships would have budget and timescale on its side. ELLIDA is about 25K tons, so I don’t think it would be outrageous to build a couple of 15-20K ton drone carriers instead, albeit to a semi-commercial standard. This would allow CSG to function seemlessly until the carriers are ready for a major work up. They would probably need an angled deck as well as the cats and traps and the redesign as a hybrid carrier still leaves plenty of room for cost increases and delays.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Supportive Bloke

I was referring to MQ-25 which is within weight limits of the son-of-emals that MoD sought information for.

Let’s be honest the fact that the different bits of the puzzle are no longer at day dream stage is a big plus.

Jon

Stingray’s projected flyway cost for 2023 is $120m each (we would pay more as aren’t part of the project). As MV-22 Osprey refuellers were deemed too expensive for the UK at about $75m a pop, we won’t be getting Stingray.

The MQ-25 tanker prototype was built in 2017 from an even earlier design and development costs are currently running at $2.3 bn. UK’s LANCA received a £30m development contract this year for a fighter demonstrator to be delivered by the end of 2023. As I said, it will need to be marinized, converted into a CATOBAR tanker and another working demonstrator built. Only then will the MoD decide if it’s worth putting into production.

I agree this is definitely not just a daydream technologically; however, a UK programme the size/cost of Stingray probably is. And if it’s taking the Boeing with all that money seven years to get it from prototype into production, do you really think UK’s shoestring programme will do it that much faster?

Supportive Bloke

The thing is, what is actually the complexity.

The flight rules and envelopes for a large variety of craft are now well understood for QEC.

I’m not saying developing a drone is a doddle but it isn’t as hard as it might be as it can be tested on the concrete carrier.

The cost of Stingray is a bit unbelievable at more than an F35 given the lack of so many features and sub sonic. It smells of a NASAesque solution not SpaceX……

dick van dyke

C and T’s on the QE’s are never going to happen….. Think to the future Ships.

Supportive Bloke

Hence why I suggest a cheapo merchant conversion at least for trials and then I suspect 2 x something Oceanesque for the drones.

Just a guess but cheaper than carving up a QEC.

Only thing is crewing and trades….

Andrew Deacon

Personally I think the idea of lightweight cats and traps to launch drones is a pipe dream and quite possibly an expensive derailment of the whole carrier program (not to mention it opens old wounds) I’d much rather they embrace vertical take off tech such as below for aew , refuelling and possibly loyal wingman
On the subject of crows nest it sounds like people are adding 2 plus 2 and getting 5, however good the f35’s aesa is it doesn’t offer 360 coverage and it much cheaper to keep crows nest operational 24/7.

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopters/bell-unveils-three-high-speed-vertical-take-off-and-landing-design-concepts/144891.article

dick van dyke

Yup…..

Meirion x

These proposed Bell VTOL concept aircraft would be an excellent platform for a modified Wegetail (MESA) radar, in order to fit on the aircraft. See my proposal in comment above.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Sean

Nothing “proposed” about the V-280 Valor, up and flying and in serious contention to replace Black Hawk. It’s been flying longer that it’s opposition, the Defiant, and has also gained autonomous flight capabilities.
Hopefully success for the Valor will see greater funding and development for the fully-autonomous V-247 Vigilant. That would be a great platform for the QE carriers.

X

It’s the price paid for no going CTOL. If we can’t put real effort into Crowsnest there is little chance complex systems like AAR drones will get off the deck.

Bill

Apart from the massive elephant in the room of manpower and retention. It’s going to have even more impact on the snr service in the next 10 years just keeping the current fleet operational without extra flat tops. Would of made more sense to have kept ocean if that was the case.

The forces and specifically the navy and further the submarine service will have to massively change to get and keep young people through the door.

X

Yes it is a fantastic sensor suite. But we still a radar aloft to provide an all over air picture.

Mark

Iv been following this debate about AEW and drones and believe one aspect has been over looked and that’s airships. Imagine a 25-50m metal constructed airship with a capabilities like thunder 2 able to drop off a cargo pod for reply the ship 25tons at a time fully autominus and with 5000 miles plus of range. Swap the pod with a AWE capabilities and also a range of anti ship, anti submarine and air to air missles and it can sit at 20,000ft on over watch for weeks. Aslo a pod could be created to launch and recover drones too.There is one such craft in development and if you look at the time and money being put into cats n traps then the down time surly looking at something like this is a must. I know it’s a bit sci fi. But so were swarming drones 20 years ago.
https://www.varialift.com/

Meirion x

You would also need to generate
enough electricity onboard the airship for a radar like Wegetail, to run it for weeks at a time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
dick van dyke

Yeah, that ain’t happening either……

Meirion x

I agree, not for now anyway.
But, for the future, who knows!

Mark

How much juice does an AWE rader use? The airship can lift 25-50 tonnes depending on size and it’s engines would produce electricity if fitted to the new rolls royce 2.5 mega watt unit.
Don’t be so dismissive
https://newatlas.com/aircraft/rolls-royce-delivers-2-5-megawatt-generator-hybrid-air-propulsion/
Powering the radar will not be a problem.

Supportive Bloke

So a 2.5MW units needs how much weight of fuel per hour?

The engine will be, at best, 60% efficient so it will be a lot more than the raw calorific value of the fuel.

Meirion x

I don’t want to be too dismissive Mark, but providing the generator kit is not too heavy it could be feasible.
Aircraft radar use energy in the order of 100KW+. The generator look like it’s around 2 ton. I am not sure how much fuel it would use?

Supportive Bloke

The English Electric Lightening was the first on plane 100kW+ unit.

Jon

Why do you think an airship that small could lift that much? The varialift airship at 300m long lifts 250 tons. Halve the length to 150m and it only lifts 50 tons. Halve the length again would that be 10 tons? Halve it one last time to reach a little under 40m and it’ll probably lift about 2 tons. A Rolls Royce jet engine weighs about 6 tons.

Lockheed Martin’s P791 37m long airship aimed to carry a gross weight of 3 to 5 tons and I don’t know how much of that was the airship itself, probably most of it. But LM’s design had a flight ceiling of 10,000ft, less than a Merlin. Their newer scaled-up design is over 90m long, should be able to go higher and hopes to have cargo capacity of around 23 tons. Interestingly it can land on water, so maybe that size is less of an issue.

If it’s autonomous and can be refuelled, why not have a larger airship that stays aloft while the carrier group is at sea, landing when the ships come into harbour?

X

My concern is that is an awfully slow and awfully big target.

Last edited 1 month ago by X
Jon

Much faster than a ship (say 150kn+). The 50 ton capacity one linked above is about the length of a frigate, less wide than a carrier, and they can be self repairing up to a point. Even if it stays within the defence bubble of the carrier group, yes it’ll still be vulnerable to missile attack. Although as it’s mostly a big bag of helium, ECM should be possible, and nobody is on there to get killed. And of course by that point you know your carrier group is under attack and the F-35s are flying around the clock.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
X

Oh……….

Mark

Only as slow as 150-200mph and only as vulnerable as a FSS when not escorted.

X

Right……….

dick van dyke

Only if it’s not too windy !

X

Bless. I am waiting for somebody to mention cloaking devices and warp engines to be honest.

X

We should go the whole hog.
comment image

Mark

It something to think about having a fleet of autonomous supply airships that can drop cargo onto the deck without landing and also having an autonomous ASW that can stay aloft indefinitely maybe cover the thing in solar panels for instance. I know Airbus have just tested the Zephyr aircraft and have just done 2 18day test flights with a view for UK military use.

Meirion x

Covering an airship with solar panels could result of it exceeding the lift off weight for its size. Solar panels are an extra burdan of weight on the airship.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Jon

Makes those BAES quadcopters delivering NavyPODS look silly.

T-650:
– Max payload: 300kg,
– Range with payload 30km,
– Max speed 140kph
ARH-50:
– Max payload: 50 tons
– Range with payload 11,100 km,
– Max speed 355 kph

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
AlexS

Get all sailors bed sheets, build a giant hot air balloon, lift a radar with it… 😀

Jonathan

By the very nature of the beast a wind turbine would be an option as there is never ending wind at that altitude and or speed of the air ship. But a 100kw wind turbine comes in at about 8500 kg.

Meirion x

Yes, the turbine would certainly catch a lot of wind up there!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
ATH

I hope that’s a joke. If not then I recommend remedial physics. You can get exactly zero net positive energy from a wind turbine on an airship.

X

The first rule of Navy Lookout is don’t let physics get in the way of an idea.

Ron5

Yeah let’s bring back an idea that was proven to be a disaster in World War One. I’m sure the enemy won’t have anything as capable as a Sopwith Camel to shoot it down (eyes roll)

Dan

If an enemy fighter can get close enough to your AEW aircraft to shoot it down, then it can’t be doing its job properly!

X

There is a slight difference between something the size of a block of flats orbiting a CBG at 150 knots and a something much smaller doing twice the speed. If a lighter than aircraft could do that easily.

DaveyB

A similar solution would be the Airlander hybrid airship

https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/our-aircraft/airlander-10/

This version can fly at 20,000ft and has a 10t payload, which would probably be on the margins for power generation, plus carrying the radar, mission systems and crew etc. The larger in build Airland 50 would probably be a better bet, as it’s significantly larger and can lift 50t to a higher altitude with a longer duration.

During the 1950’s the US Navy operated a number of airships in the AEW role. The problem they had was the early and unreliable radar technology, plus the altitude of the airship was limited to a maximum of 10,000ft. The AIrlanders are pressurised so can happily operate above 10,000ft. Airlander are looking at hybrid electrical propulsion, i.e. using a large diesel genset spinning an AC generator to power the four electrical propulsion motors. Depending on the power requirements, it’s possible to also have enough surplus power for a decent radar.

The ideal would be an airship that can accomodate a large-ish crew, that can do shifts for 24/7 operations, powered by a two stroke diesel genset. Stay aloft for 7 days, then be replenished at sea. The airship will have the perfect environment for a radar when housed within the envelope. Plus there’s scope to have at least two radars operating at different frequencies. So you could have for example a Saab erieye radar operating in the S-band for long range detection. Along with a Leonardo AESA SeaSpray operating in the X-band for horizon and look down searching. There is a ton of space available, so you could mount 3 or 4 of them to give a true 360 degree horizontal view. If there is enough surplus power you could double up the Erieye radar, i.e. place one on top of the other. This would significantly increase the effective radiated power, but also be a magnitude better for receiver sensitivity, thereby increasing the detection range.

I think the airship as a combined ISTAR and AEW platform deserves looking at in detail, as it can provide many advantages for supporting a task group or simply maritime and air security.

Supportive Bloke

“ If there is enough surplus power you could double up the Erieye radar, i.e. place one on top of the other. This would significantly increase the effective radiated power, but also be a magnitude better for receiver sensitivity, thereby increasing the detection range.”

Doubling the sensor area increases sensitivity by 1.4 (root 2) unless I’ve missed something?

José De Oliveira Motta

A Rússia não precisa de porta aviões ela é muito forte em todos os aspectos país nenhum ousa atacar a Crimeia ou sua nação Rússia que ela destroem qualquer pais do mundo.

José De Oliveira Motta

A Rússia tem os mísseis mais avançado do mundo e aí vem o s400 é futuro s500 é a nação mais bem armada do mundo os mísseis dela vai em qualquer lugar do mundo.

Binocs

Any thoughts on the reports of a Chinese hypersonic glide vehicle test back on August?
Deeply concerning for any carrier group if true.

Last edited 1 month ago by Binocs
Jon

Deeply concerning that it can carry a nuke? Deeply concerning that it missed it’s target by 25 miles? Deeply concerning that China is developing it at all? Deeply concerning it could spark an arms race (as the Grauniad reported)?

We are in a grey-zone conflict for now. No country of China’s status would deliberately sink the warship of another nuclear power just yet as that would cross a line they are not ready to cross. Even Putin would balk at that. If we move to a hot conflict with China, we’ve a lot more to worry about than the firing of a particular type of missile. The point of the missile is that we will be so worried about it, we will be paralysed into inaction over disputes such as Taiwan and the South China Seas. Countermeasures will be developed

The chronic underfunding of the British military in general and continual mess-ups by MoD procurement is far more worrying.

Boris

Don’t worry about it, hide your head in the sand like some “Supportive Bloke” which stated that working hypesonic missiles is impossible to hit anything but stationary or slow moving buildings.
Given that HM carriers can move at greased lighting speed of 32 knots, all are safe.
Cheers another pint of Port?

Last edited 1 month ago by Boris
Supportive Bloke

Cheers Boris

If you are going to quote me actually quote me.

I didn’t say that.

The discussion was about how could you *guide* a hypersonic to a moving target.

What I did say, was that it was hard to guide a hypersonic to a moving target but that it was easier to hit a fixed target. There was then a long discussion with DaveyB and Gunbuster, if I recall well, as to how EM might get through the plasma.

Pass the port – or should I say pass the consecutively numbered passports 🙂 wink wink

Binocs

Hi SB,
If you have a moment, could you let me know where I find that thread please?
Thank you.