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Phillip Johnson

Option 1 would probable be the simplest assuming the wind around the ski jump at speed doesn’t make that difficult. It would remove the need to have different deck markings for manned and unmanned aircraft.
I suppose the real question is ‘given the amount of data that the F-35 throws at the single pilot how much spare time is the pilot going to have to program and monitor a UAV?’

X

Data overload concerns me too. We have gone from FJ needing two crew to manage the battle space to now one bod being expected to manage an even greater space plus their aircraft. The idea that drones are smart, small, cheap, and will reduce head count is off.

D J

I share your concerns. The reason Australia uses the F/A18F as a strike aircraft rather than the F/A18E (despite loosing an internal cannon & fuel) is for the 2nd crewman to operate a dedicated strike console. The E/A18G uses the 2nd crewman to operate a dedicated EW console (& with the right wireing you can convert from one to the other). The idea is to let the pilot fly & fight the aircraft & the 2nd crewman will concentrate on the mission. For simple missions such as air defence or dropping a bomp on a Toyota armed with a HMG, its not a problem if they are the one & the same. To expect one person to fly the plane, defend the plane or attack another, while keeping track of a strike target, possible AA or SAM defences of that target, while also controlling several ‘Loyal Wingman’ type drones, while also keeping track of refueling options & getting feeds from an AWACS type asset & other fighters, ships, ground stations etc is unrealistic.

The problem with information overload is the human brain tends to shutdown & in one of two ways – either ‘explodes’ (stops functioning) or picks a winner (& ignores everything else).

Bloke down the pub

Maybe modern jet trainers could make a useful contribution to the battle by acting as controllers of flights of loyal wingmen.

D J

You loose your stealth unless your jet trainer is also stealthy. Also most jet trainers are not that fast & have much more limited avionics, sensor & weapons fit than the real thing. Two seater versions of frontline fighters such as the F/A18F & Gripen F gives you the controller as well as being a capable asset in itself, otherwise the controller aircraft quickly becomes the weak link. That’s fine if you are a refuelling tanker as the sole job of the loyal wingman will be to defend the tanker anyway.

James Fennell

AI can feed on the data and provide decision cues.

David Stephen

Yep. Sounds like we are asking 1 pilot to fly multiple aircraft. Not a great idea as far as I can see. We should just buy enough F-35B to stand up 4 frontline squadrons and a joint OCU and small sustainment fleet and then add a dozen cheap AAR drones (not the £140M Stingray)

Simon m

My limited understanding is that AI will do all the controlling of the UAS other than perhaps formation commands & that sort of thing the UAS will the effectively become an extended weapon for employment as well as extended stores for the aircraft. So as long as the human computer interface is good enough it should not be a problem. For example in air to air wingman mode it will likely fly in formation within certain parameters & the pilot will simply select the Air to Air missile from the UAS as if it was on a pylon on the F35. If close in dogfighting standard techniques will be built in for the aircraft it faces to ensure it makes the correct maneuvers. For DEAD/SEAD it could be programmed for certain radar patterns, vehicle types & once identified as hostile that radar pattern could be engaged along with necessary in information on the launcher vehicle again with certain parameters the UAS could manage itself doing re-attack etc. Potentially sending an image prior to striking the target to give a wave off capability to the pilot similar to some LMs. Most missions even with human pilots are pre-planned it’s conceivable that some alternate plans are in place discussed pre-flight then pre-programmed into the UAS pilot may just need to select plan A, B, C also perhaps a default wingman follow me mode if things deviate from those plans. The pilot will command rather than program … they are not going to be sat with a massive C++ other code manual on their laps programming it in the aircraft to tell the UAS where to fly. The UAS will sort itself out until human intervention is needed

Ron5

I favor an option not shown, basically option 1 with the cat moving to the other side of the ramp/runway and aft. Seems to share all the cheapness of option 1 without the cramped cat location. I do not think this location fouls either the aft RW or F-35B landing spots. Let me name this option 5.

DaveyB

Yep, I favour this option, as it doesn’t place any constraints on the UAVs wingspan. Plus its further away from the ramp and island, so wind conditions will be better accounted for.

Meirion X

Will an deck extension be required?
Or if not, it could place wing span limits on right hand side of wings?
If a deck extension is required, the catapult can be built into the new section, without having to cut into the existing deck.

Last edited 6 months ago by Meirion X
N-a-B

No. The extensions you’re thinking of are all to do with wheel track in a very particular recovery for one aircraft type.

Simon Clark

How far could the V-22 extend the F35 flying range?

Dogs Nads

Not a huge deal. The fuel offload from the V-22 tanker (and the MQ-25 for that matter) are really small.

N-a-B

It couldn’t. Until a real tanker variant (as opposed to the Boeing demonstrator) is funded and produced.

However, assuming that the offloadable fuel is (say 5-6 te) you might get 1250-1500 kg per F35 in a four-ship sortie (which is about a 20-25% increase on internal fuel). Although it isn’t directly proportional, you’d be looking at a similar combat radius increase, so 100-125nm.

Binocs

Don’t know about the V-22, but the refueling payload of a MQ-25 is just over 15,000lbs or over 6000kgs. It should, in theory, take a pair of F-35Bs up to beyond F-35A or F-35C operational range, from 900nm to at least 1200nm.

donald_of_tokyo

V-22 A2A refuel system carries 5400 kg of fuel. A F35B carries ~6300 kg of fuel, while F35A carries ~8300 kg.

A single V-22 can completely refuel a single F35B’s. May be a V22 will refuel 2 F35B on the go to make their range the same as F35A, and even fly again to refuel them on their way back? It will significantly relax the range issue. (VTOL landing may need fuel?)

Duker

Too slow. Fast jets cant slow down enough to match the V-22 at its ‘refueling speed’. Hercules KC130J does refuel F35B

The high-speed version of the hose/drogue refueling system can be deployed at 185 knots (213 mph; 343 km/h) and function at up to 250 knots (290 mph; 460 km/h).”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Boeing_V-22_Osprey#Refueling_capability

Scot

Really

Scot

This Hornet seems to have no problem taking fuel from the Osprey…

Scot
Joe Porter

Just to be a pedant, it should be complement (as in supplement) not compliment (as in flatter) in the first para.

N-a-B

And catapult, not catapault.

The CATOBAR designation is actually fiction as well, dreamed up by internet spods. Didn’t exist anywhere prior to people starting to refer to F35A as JSF-CTOL in the mid-noughties. It doesn’t even make sense.

Catapult and arrested recovery had always been referred to as CTOL in all official literature. Then came VTOL and STOVL in the 60s. Then STOAL (as the US referred to it) or STOBAR as we did when the Russians started doing it. Short Take-Off BUT Arrested Recovery. Which is why CATOBAR is nonsensical. Catapult Take off BUT Arrested Recovery? What other type of recovery (standfast seaplanes) has a catapult aircraft ever made?

And no – it’s not B for barrier either. The barrier is something very different.

Pedant rage mode off.

Deep32

Given that this a option being looked at, if, we were to go ahead and convert said carriers, I assume the costs would be significant? How much greater would the costs be if, instead of having a system that is capable of launch/recovering 55000lb drones, we increased it to say 72000lb? I am assuming most of the cost is in the design/changes to structure and that any difference in launch weights is small by comparison? Or, does increasing launch weight by several tonnes impact costs adversely?

N-a-B

I suspect the difference will be driven by which system is a properly engineered and available solution, vs what is a technology demonstrator. Suspect most of the cost is in the componentry / equipment, which will increase marginally with weight/end-speed.

Deep32

Cheers, so perhaps not a million miles away from such a capability! Not saying we would go there, but, 72000lbs would allow us to recover/launch all allied jets even if we didn’t follow- lots of flex if so desired.

borg

Yup.

Bloke down the pub

Two things spring to mind. Firstly, the Kratos XQ-58, which is probably of similar size to what’s envisioned for the carriers, is designed to be launced from a rail using jato. While probably costing more per launch, it would have much less impact on the structure of the ship. Secondly, one of the benefits I’ve seen indicated for emals is that it can be used in conjunction with a ski-jump.

N-a-B

None of the cat positions shown correspond to the envisaged locations in the original design, which is likely to have more serious structural implications.

A cat on the stbd bow is likely to be unusable due to airflow around the ramp.

Any recovery arrangement will need to be around an angled configuration, unless you’re brave enough to recover multiple sequential aircraft onto a potentially crowded flightdeck on the assumption that any UAV will not bolter.

It will all depend on what the intended UAV are for. If it’s a limited number for things like ASaC or tanking, where the launch and recovery can be worked around the main deck cycle, that’s one thing. If its a significant number which are being operated on a similar cycle to STOVL f/w sorties, it’s something else. That is likely to be very difficult – almost to the point you might as well revert to proper CTOL and get F35C or FA-XX in due course.

Which will be unpopular from an op cost perspective.

Bloke down the pub

In the deep dark recesses of my memory is an article about the deck landing system used by the F35c. Apparently, during trials, they were consistently hitting the three wire.

N-a-B

JPALS is one thing in trials. The thing about trials is that you can only trial what the environment lets you. Not sure how much sea time F35C has had yet – I don’t think a squadron has embarked yet, but could be wrong. If the ship does trials in lowish sea states, then it’s unlikely to see worst case motion at the ramp. The press blurb talks about sea state 5, but it would be interesting to see how many serials were done wrt statistical validity.

The other thing with bolters is failure of equipment. Hook strikes (and failure), pendant failures – even failure of JPALS itself would all have unpleasant consequences.

Duker

The extra aircraft, pilots and maintainers at Lemoore are expected to help the Pentagon meet its testing and evaluation requirements for the the Navy’s first operational fleet F-35C squadron, VFA-147,
That major milestone for the Navy’s JSF program is still slated to happen in 2019. The maiden overseas deployment of VFA-147 is anticipated in 2021 while embarked on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.”
https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/12/07/why-the-navy-will-deactivate-an-f-35-squadron-next-year/
But VFA147 ‘completed’ carrier qualification back at end of 2018….. a bit strange for deployment to be in 2021. Maybe they have done a lot of recent sea time, but not formally ‘deployed’
https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/110634
 

Simon m

A UAV will likely not bolter the processing power on these will be huge & landing is simply a dynamic mathematical equation. Similarly airflow may not be a concern consider that most aircraft are aerodynamically unstable & only their computers keep them flyable by making thousands of adjustments a second it is likely that a UAV could compensate for any airflow issues

N-a-B

Only if all the components of the equation are known. Particularly for non-linear things like ship motion in higher sea states. Plus there’s always the equipment failure factor.

Supportive Bloke

And if the components can be parameterised………some things are inherently unpredictable.

Ron5

and yet rolling vertical landings are in the plan using the non-angled runway

and CVA-01 had a virtually parallel runway for its cats and traps.

In fact, angled decks per se are not a pre-requisite for “bolting” aircraft of any species.

X

Plane goes over the bow and then gets run over by the ship. Plane goes over the side the ship misses it. Sort of obvious really.

Supportive Bloke

Quite

Ron5

Not the reason for the introduction of angled decks.

N-a-B

RVL at least 80 kts slower – and still not done operationally.

CVA01 was angled precisely to allow safe bolters.

Nigh-on seventy years of naval aviation expertise disagrees with you.

Ron5

No it does not. Angled decks are to ensure the runway does not point at a deck park. The parallel runway on the QE does not.

RVL will still have to allow for bolters no matter how slow it may be.

As for CVA01, your answer is absurd, the design had a less than 5 degree angle. As good as parallel. Once again, no deck park was in line with the runway.

I’m afraid your answers sum up to: we’ve always done it this way so it must be correct, i.e. without understanding, or questioning, the underlying causes.

Ron5

To be clear, I am just arguing that an angled deck is not required for project Vixen. I’m not suggesting any kind of return to full scale cat & trap ops.

N-a-B

I don’t think a non-STOVL UCAV will be using the ramp. There are entry-speed limits that aren’t particularly compatible with recovery speeds.

N-a-B

Except RVL does not allow for a bolter. It can’t because it requires application of brakes and dropping engine rpm to idle while trying to stop. Both of which mean spooling back up to get thrust back to accelerate to flying speed is best described as “risky”, if not impossible. It ain’t like an arrested recovery where you carry airspeed and thrust and only know if you need to bolter when you go off the angle again.

I’m fairly sure that 5 degrees also counts as “angled”. Might not be the 10-11 you get on a CVN, but hey. The principle is to try and maximise safe deck park area which depends on a number of factors. However in general, one tries to point the recovering aircraft away by a margin.

Jack65

Indeed, if you are going down this road, revert fully to CTOL and do the job right.

Duker

EMALS development has been too slow for that. The whole return to carrier aviation was based around a continuation of the STOVL with the Harrier and the follow on with F35B.
The job has been done right with this version of carrier aviation , indeed is copied widely . End of story.

borg

This is the first time I’ve read that the Carriers may get this.( most just assumed it ) other interpretations don’t actually state it. The subject was done to death on the UKDJ site a few weeks back with the usual tantrums. It would make perfect sense though but what about the cost’s involved, wasn’t it just too much money a few years back ? Personally. I can’t see the point in limiting the launch capacity, why not just cover all angles after all, there aren’t any other F35B type options in the pipeline.

X

For me building the carrier the FJ was the mistake.

OkamsRazor

This is a fool’s errand, the future is V280 & V247 for aircraft refuelling and AAW. This is obvious in terms of both cost complexity and performance. The sooner the Navy realise this the better. Cats/traps is yesterday’s solution.

X

The future is slow rotor craft not fast jets?

OkamsRazor

Since when have fast jets been used for aireal refuelling and AAW?

OkamsRazor

Sorry that should be AEW

X

Me too.

Ron5

Since when have rotor aircraft been used for aerial refueling and AAW???

Gunbuster

AAR… In the USN Intruders and Hornets with Buddy packs…I think Vikings as well at one point.
AEW… That’s been a function of the tech available at the time hence rotating analogue type radars atop a turboprop . AESA radar has changed that where they can now be conformal if required and beam form to perform the same task.

Ron5

You’ve forgotten several UK examples of fast jet refueling.

Ian

Rather than wasting taxpayers’ money on a stupid drone plan that can not see any prototypes until 2030, purchasing more f35bs is the only right choice for Royal Navy.

Duker

Yes, yes yes. Leave the fashion changes to Carnaby St

Grant

Completely correct.

Moonstone

I understand that the rational behind the move towards UCAV types for the QEC is not only the fact that a pilot need not be exposed to danger any longer, but also because all variants of the F-35 are in fact cripplingly expensive types to fly per hour. Therefore increasing the number of F-35 (and carrier qualified pilots) in service may well match the level of theoretical capability the QEC offers but is not viable option because it is simply unaffordable.

So creating a mixed force of manned and unmanned types kinda makes sense I think given the realities of the situation. On the other hand those who argue that the QEC class should have either been fully realised CATOBAR carriers from the start, or significantly more modestly specified ships are probably correct I think in hindsight.

Last edited 6 months ago by Moonstone
Duker

Full steam catapult aviation went out with the Ark Royal and was never coming back for the RN. Never.
F35 is expensive to run, but not cripplingly so, Australia still seems to want 75 plus?

Moonstone

History shows us that in back in WW2 some early units of the USN ‘Essex’ class aircraft carrier design were fitted to launch aircraft directly from the hanger deck over the side of the ship.

Were that old idea reinvented for the modern UAV types we now envision, and assuming a catapult of suitable length and power became available, then perhaps many of the problems mentioned above regarding the possible interference the fitting of catapults would have on flight deck operations might be avoided. The relatively large beam of the QEC and the preexisting side elevator openings this design features may facilitate this. Naturally, some form of arrestor gear would still be required on the flight deck I presume.

I hasten to add that hanger catapults proved to be a unsuccessful in practice the first time around and may well still be a bad idea now – I mearly mention this old technology in order to stimulate debate.

X

I still wonder whether an amphibious UAV may be a better solution.
comment image

Bloke down the pub

The problem with flyingboats, manned or unmanned, is getting off the surface when the sea is too rough to allow take-off speed to be reached.

X

I know. We would need a catapult at times……. 😉 🙂

Bloke down the pub

If you want to re-examine some old experimental techniques, try HMS Warrior’s rubber decks

John Hartley

I still think STOBAR is the best, affordable option for QE/PoW. Three extra wires at the back, does not stop STOVL operations. AAG is far more developed in 2021 than it was in 2011.

Meirion X

If convert to STOBAR, the deck would need to be angled, or otherwise bolter UAV’s will fall below the bow. This can damage the bow sonar.

Last edited 6 months ago by Meirion X
John Hartley

Its only a few extra cans of paint. See option 4 above, but without the extra steelwork, as you are not putting in the catapult.

N-a-B

Er, what bow sonar?

borg

LOL.

Deep32

Two articles in two days mate, someone is listening to you!!!!

borg

Well Yes, I don’t like to Crow though !!!!!

John Hartley

I note the Italian carrier Cavour, is listed as having Leonardo Thesan WASS SNA-2000 mine avoidance sonar. Do QE/PoW have that, or something similar? If not, should they have it? Losing one of our carriers to a mine, would be a disaster.

Deep32

I imagine that the only sonar fitted to either QE or PoW are echo Sounders.

PeterS

The alternative approach of more F35s plus Osprey or Valor looks much lower risk and crucially lower overall cost. After much experimentation, the USN has decided to acquire AAR UAVs rather than combat drones. At present, up to a third of F18s may be used for buddy refuelling so this would greatly increase overall combat sortie rate.
Although AAR is part of the RN review, the need for it may be less pressing than the desire to augment our very small aircraft numbers. But the USN doesn’t need to make major alterations to its carriers. We would and the costs could be enormous.
Is there another option? Development of a STOVL UAV that could operate like the F35 would give UK a unique capability.

John Hartley

Lockheed has experience of fitting conformal (saddle) tanks to late model F-16, so why have they not developed them for F-35? Granted the tanks for F-35B would have to allow for the lift van, but it is still doable.

N-a-B

Conformal tanks increase weight (even empty). The limiting factor on F35B is vertical recovery mass (driven by thrust), hence need for RVL in some limited cases.

John Hartley

If the engine & lift fan upgrade, ever goes ahead, that should allow for saddle tanks.

Supportive Bloke

To echo N-a-B if you fill the tanks and add full weapons load the F35B is overweight for take off.

No point in putting further tanks on it.

The point that has been made loads of times is that Max Take Off Weight and Max Cruise Weight are totally different things. Hence the value of AAR as you can put a full weapons load on take off with say 30% fuel load to reduce engine stress and then top right up on the way out and top up again on the way back if you have to.

Hence the interest in AAR drones as it is far cheaper to use drone AAR than to modify a whole fleet of expensive jets and risk creating another orphan line of aircraft that nobody else supports. Which will be really really expensive. This is really the main point creating a unique UK version of the F35B would be ultra stupid as we would have to pay all the support costs and would not benefit from the rapidly reducing fly away prices from LM.

Whatever you are doing drones are the future, everyone knows that and using simple unarmed drones to do AAR is also part of the future.

How the drones are launched or indeed what they are launched from remains to be seen but I would not be too surprised to see that Bays/Argus are replaced sooner than projected by 4x something that looks a lot like a better specced Ocean, there are hints in the last Review that this might be the case, that would have a lightweight UAV catapult fitted to it. Obviously having a flat top it would be suitable for Helo work as well. The main issue is that all the experienced UK yards are now chocca.

We are paying the price for Gordon Brown’s ship building holiday.

The UAV off such a platform, would also tie in with the SF requirement for overwatch and mid weight support in areas where there is no dominant air power. The advantage with locally launched UAV is the shorter time to station.

Put it another way it might well be cheaper to create a new platform rather than to start carving up QEC’s unless more of the prep work than we know is in place.

Glass Half Full

If the RFI determines that CTOL launch and recovery proves either too expensive still, or technically immature still, or both, then STOVL UAV solutions might be an option in future, albeit with some possible compromises.

For AEW, COD and perhaps AAR, a platform similar to but larger than the Rhaegal RG-1, linked to below, might work. Speed might be an issue wrt to AAR though.
https://www.sabrewingaircraft.com/cargo-uav/

The loyal wingman option is more challenging, especially for transonic speeds. However, if slower sub-sonic speeds are operationally practical then the timeline illustrated by SAMAD Aerospace for E-Starling and Starling Jet, linked below, show the type of solution that might exist later this decade.
https://www.samadaerospace.com/timeline-2/

PeterS

The SAMAD range would fit Boris’s green agenda! Manned STOVL/VTOL has proved difficult to develop but with experience of ever more capable software to control takeoff and landing, a STOVL drone might not impose huge extra costs compared with a CATOBAR version. An F35 type liftfan might be too expensive, but a Harrier type swivel system shouldn’t be. Compared with the costs of installing cats and traps as well as the impact this would have on operational efficiency on the flight deck, a STOVL drone might prove a better option.
I would still prefer any available funds to be spent on a few more F35 and Typhoons.

WJColton

If the requirement is a system capable of launching aircraft weighing up to 55,000 lbs, why not build a manned, multipurpose aircraft like the US Navy’s S-3 Viking. The S-3 Viking had a maximum takeoff weight of 54,000 lbs.

While originally built for anti-submarine warfare, the Viking also served as a tanker carrying about 16,000 lbs of fuel, electronic reconnaissance, and could deploy antiship missiles, bombs, and mines. A few were modified to serve as carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft.

Deep32

Alternatively, why not just up the requirements to 72,000lbs, then you can recover/launch the full range of NATO aircraft? Personally, I can’t see why you wouldn’t, if you are prepared to install the system!!

WJColton

Being that the RN is looking for an EMALS-type of catapult, perhaps the amount of available power limits the catapult to 55,000 lbs.

Duker

I think some are not thinking through the reason for catapults. It took a long time before catapults were even used for flat deck carriers being only for ‘gun ships’ who launched from the most convenient space. Even at the start of WW2 the planes were expected to takeoff from the rear of the deck assisted by the carrier at high speed and a head wind. The catapult was too slow and maybe only for heavier seaplanes.
I can imagine any drones can be engineered to take off in a similar fashion from the rear of the long deck available, after all they wont be in all that large numbers and could be first or last to takeoff for a ‘cycle’.
Remember the USN has had a Hercules do a carrier takeoff – but not landing- so wing design can help a lot.
For the RN the landing side id the unknown part at present

Jon

Let me add another option into the mix: lower risk, higher performance. We should build/convert two small auxiliary carriers of maybe Dokdo size, to act as UAV motherships.

I’d favour an interim slower, through-deck conversion for the first, to last ten years. This could be reasonably cheap to build if the power requirements could be sorted and would circumvent all issues of taking QE out of circulation for years, and of degrading its V/STOL performance. Crew and operating costs could be the major stumbling block, and whether it could also act as an Argus replacement would have to be figured in.

Once the technology is more mature, purpose-built replacements could be considered or a more leisurely QE refit planned for the early 2030s.

Grant

Surely this is madness for everyone concerned:
For the RN just concentrate on getting enough aircraft and helicopters of existing types.
For the RAF dont over complicate LANCA making it carrier capable. They really need LANCA at pace for mass after the defence review (maybe they need an RAF lookout website!)
For A2A refueling stingray $180m!!! + all of the changes to the carrier. Just buy this and borrow some V22s (I thought the USMC wanted to offload some?) https://www.cobhammissionsystems.com/air-to-air-refuelling/news/cobham-contracted-to-develop-aerial-refueling-kit-for-v-22/

We are on the cusp of having the best Carrier Force bar none; gen 5 gets, fast sortie rates; best trained pilots and sailors supported by fantastic AAW and ASW assets. Lets not change course now!

PeterS

That was my initial reaction. If the money is available, buy some more F35s before messing about with a platform we have only just started to operate.
The strangest aspect of the RFI is the short timescale. This is in stark contrast to most other equipment programmes which move very slowly, mainly to spread the costs.

Ron5

You probably are misreading the RFI. They most likely put in the date to limit returns based on far out technologies rather than in expectation of a production order. In other words, to filter out phaser cannon and photon torpedo kind of answers.

PeterS

You may be right but the RFI does clearly specify fitted within 3 to 5 years. Everything else is 2030!

John Dawkins

This whole debate goes back to the fact that these ships should have been specified as a CATOBAR configuration, probably with tried and tested steam catapults, notwithstanding the problem of raising steam with the engine set up. I’m sure this was what the Navy would have wanted. Too much interference from technically challenged politicians and civil servants right from the beginning, in setting the specifications and all the changes of mind since. EMALS is still in development and has its problems. All of these suggestions being put forward now are attempts to rectify the future limited capability of these ships.

N-a-B

If you’d ever seen a steam cat up close, you’d understand why it’s the absolute last thing we’d want to put on the ships. The additional manning required would have been a major drama – and it’s not “what the Navy would have wanted”. The Navy were intimately involved in the specification from the off.

OkamsRazor

Agreed. Cats/Traps are a problem looking for a solution. Complexity is the enemy of efficiency. V280 & V247 are far cheaper, more flexible and offer vastly better performance for refuelling and AEW than spending ridiculous amounts of money repurposing and re-configuring the carriers for marginal benefits. Why would you buy a solution for $180M when you can buy a solution for under $30M?

The V22 is an OLD/Expensive solution with yesterdays tech which has received some recent lipstick.

The Kratos looks promising and has a cheap launch solution, but as yet undetermined landing solution. But I believe that the USAF has suggested that long rang at speed whilst cheap (and stealthy) is a huge technical challenge.

The E2D is an old expensive solution which costs north of $250M and has limited time on station (6-9 hours).

The V247 is cheap, less than $20M, has an on station time of 17 hours and combat range of 450NM, with a ceiling of 25,000 FT.

The V280, would be an excellent refuelling platform, with the advantage that it is cheap $30M modern and versatile.

MQ-25, which some have suggested is a CATS/TRAPS solution with an estimated cost of $180M, with no other use case.

I presume that there are some smart people at the top of the RN who have some devilishly clever logic for proposing some of these nonsense solutions, expensive straw man perhaps?

DaveyB

USN are looking at the MQ-25 as an ISTAR asset as well, i.e. ESM and SIGINT.

N-a-B

I’d be very careful about using phrases like “is cheap, less than $20M etc” when you’re talking about something that is only in preliminary design.

Wikipedia is not truth.

ATH

Remember the V280 is just a prof of concept prototype and V247 is a paper concept. It’s far far from certain that either will enter production.

John Dawkins

Why is a steam catapult the last thing you want when they do the job so well on the Nimitz’s. I’m sure the Navy ideally would have liked a ship that can launch and retrieve a greater variety of aircraft, now and in the future, than the F35.

N-a-B

Why have the USN shifted from C13s to EMALS? Many reasons – including the high-level of manpower needed to operate and maintain them (you have to see the below decks bit to really appreciate it), the relative lack of controllability and the energy inefficiency. Aside from the scarcity of steam-competent marine engineers in the RN, the additional manpower required would have had a significant impact on operating costs.

The choice of the B-variant F35 was a delicate trade-off between risks, in-service dates and operating costs. That trade-off supported the STOVL and B-variant at the time and still does. Had it not been for the foresight of some of the maligned civil servants and industry, the design would not have included the features that (still) make it adaptable, or worse, would never have been built.

Should that trade-off balance change in the future, we still have the option to modify the ships.

John Dawkins

You’ve explained that well. I know from my own experience trade offs can be difficult. I too understand the need to keep manpower costs low. My only real concern was if the ships had not been built with the ability to upgrade, technically and economically, this being so important if the desired 50 year lifespan is to be achieved. It would be interesting to know how the US is getting on with the Ford class issues regarding EMALS etc. On a broader note I suspect that the US and the UK are coming to the conclusion that large carriers may be redundant over the next few decades, due to the advances in unmanned drones being able to launch from smaller ships and the vulnerability of large carriers to hypersonic missiles.

X

True. But the “technology” has been shifted on to the aeroplane. How is that doing these days for availability? I can never keep track.

ANDREW JOHN WILDE

There seem to be assumptions, gathering pace, that these Aircraft Carriers have plenty of spare electrical power to cover future developments. I am wondering whether, after Cats & Traps was scrapped, if both ships were fitted with the cheapest possible options to generate the required power just to reach 26 knots fully loaded and operate F35b in a wartime situation. Why are two of the diesel generators of a smaller power rating? Forgetting all assumptions for a minute how many people watching the T.V documentary on HMS Q.E. trialling F35b deck operations heard the announcement that fixed wing operations were temporarily stopped due to a gas turbine generator defect and that the ship was unable to generate sufficient air speed over the flight deck with only one G,T operational?

John Dawkins

Spoiling the ship for a ha’penny worth of tar – and not the first time in history

N-a-B

There is power margin for EMALS in the as-fitted electrical system. The reason for the different sized gensets is to optimise your fuel use. Gives more flexibility across your load charts. In general, gensets don’t like working at low loads.

Don’t mistake TV shows for reality. You don’t know the context. Following wind? Restricted MLA? SHOL trial requiring a certain relative wind?

Supportive Bloke

I did a rough calculation on another thread, based on power consumptions on a high performance Tesla, and the continuous consumption is 250kW based on a take off every 5 minutes.

I have made some very high assumptions and it could be half of that as I have not allowed any contribution for the UAV’s engine(s).

I’ve also not allowed for any energy recovery as I believe that this is too problematic.

That is actually not very much at all when you consider the QEC power plant is rated at around 100MW level.

donald_of_tokyo

Looking around wiki, I feel V-22 with 5400 kg of fuel for AAR is great as a carrier-based AAR asset. C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft can carry ~5t of cargo. So, V22 is larger than C-2. Its capacity is not much different from DHC-8 Q400 and ATR072, and larger than ATR42.

In other words, any AAR UAV to be developed will be “less” capable than V-22 in AAR, if not having a wing larger than 21-25m in width.

So “low risk” will be V-22, for sure. “Low cost” may differ (V-22 is very expensive to buy and to fly), and I think RN is aiming here. But, the best balance will be pretty difficult.

Duker

V-22 cabin is not much bigger than the Merlin. Generally the propeller types are too slow to refuel another jet and are restricted to helicopters

donald_of_tokyo

It can refuel F35.

“Marine Corps Ospreys with VARS will be able to refuel the F-35B Lightning II with about 4,000 pounds of fuel at VARS’s initial operating capability. MV-22B VARS capacity will increase to 10,000 pounds of fuel by 2019. This will significantly enhance the F-35B’s range, as well as the aircraft’s ability to remain on target for a longer period,” Capt. Sarah Burns, a spokeswoman at Headquarters Marine Corps, says.

from :https://breakingdefense.com/2016/05/v-22-refueling-contract-highlights-close-ties-to-f-35/

Andy a

Bearing in mind uav with f35 is future would it not be far more cost effective to go halves with Australia and Boeing? There year or 2 ahead. We could save cash to invest in tempest

Andy a

People here saying just buy more f35 are missing part of loyal wing man point they are to help fight with or instead of f35 into denied areas which we could never do with f35. Ie Australia taking on China and their missle systems. The uav will lead way, transmit back scans, launch weapons and if destroyed allow manned units to follow up and know where bad guys are. Something we couldn’t do with £100 million manned fighter on suicide mission

borg

i think “People” are just disappointed with the Numbers . After all, It’s not like we have many left nowadays, especially as we have only actually committed to 48 out of the original 138 F35B’s. Added to the probably less than 100 Typhoons, that’s not really too impressive is it ?

MrResistor

Interesting that the Turkish defence minister toured POW the other day, and they are apparently developing a Bayraktar TB3 UCAV for use from their new LHD Anadolu.
Bearing in mind the Bayraktar TB2 has decimated hundreds of MBTs and armoured vehicles in The Middle East recently in Turkeys proxy wars and costs around £1 million each…
“The report also mentioned that with the new configuration, the ship would be able to deploy at least 10 armed drones simultaneously. After the completion of the project, about 30 to 50 Byraktar TB3 drones would be able to land and take off using the Anadolu’s deck. The command and control of the ship would be integrated with the ship’s systems.”
You could get 100 Bayraktar drones for 1 F35B, and for anything but peer conflict they would be just fine..

Ex-Service

Option 5 – Parallel Runway
Located to port. Depending on angle of runway, catapult further offset to runway centre to clear ski-jump (incl. associated air turbulence).
Con: Port sponson extension outboard required.
Pros: Sponson extension could alleviate impact to Deck Park (areas) 1-4 compared to Options 1-4 (Park#4 aft could actually be expanded). Impact to manned Fast and Rotary Air launch and recovery operations minimised.

Commonwealth Loyalist

I tend to agree with those who advocate waiting for EMALS or some other technology to mature enough to be reliable and then installing a launching system big enough for any desired aircraft (especially since there seems to be no successor to the F-35B in the pipeline and that will be obsolete long before the 50-year planned carrier life ends).

Meanwhile if money is available it can be spent on increased numbers of existing aircraft of any kind capable of unassisted takeoff and landing.

Since people have mentioned such planes as the Hercules I wonder if another interim approach while waiting for next generation catapault systems to mature could be installing the traps so as to be able to use a wider variety of short-takeoff planes or drones. The Indian navy Indian Navy does this, operating the MIG 29, admittedly older, smaller and less stealthy but faster than the Lightning.