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Subject: Alternate Post WWII RAN: Carriers
Volkodav    7/2/2009 7:27:00 AM
Carrying on from the "gift" fleet on the Lightning post. The RAN is gifted a number of modern ships including one, two or three Colossus class light fleet carriers. How many would we get, which aircraft would we operate initially and which aircraft would succeed them post war then into the 50's. How would the carriers be modernised / modified, what roles would they be adapted to, how long would they serve and finally what, if anything, would they be replaced with?
 
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Hamilcar    Its a huge hull.   2/21/2010 12:44:32 AM
I like the idea of the size and room for really big and powerful radars and missiles. 
 
I also like the idea that it could have formed the basis of one offs or two offs for the RN as it continued through the 70s and 80s. Spruance hulls served that role for the US down to the present.
 
As for the Sheffield:
 
1. The Type 965 radar failed.
2. The US radars on the Neptune worked all too well, alas. These contacts when radioed to the Etendards supplied the two Etendards with good vectors, including range data whbich allowed the Argentines to mask themselves in final approach with confidence.
3. The Argentine pilots were very good and disciplined. They only climbed above the radar horizon twice long enough to get a good paint on Sheffield, before launch.   
 
Lessons.
 
1. Look down radar was not really part of the British naval repertoire. Given that the USN began AEW radar development even before  the October 23-28, 1944 debacle showed that a flying radar was too vital for  a fleet's survival, this just never made any sense.
2. I don't know what caused the Type 965 to fail. The excuse that it couldn't pick a couple of cruise missiles out of wave clutter just doesn't wash. It was a good radar, with a good detection thresh-hold and signal noise ratio discriminator ratio designed expressly for the cruddy conditions that the British expected in the North Atlantic. It should have worked  with enough time to turn the ship beam on, get four missiles lit off, (Sea Dart could have engaged) and fire the chaff mortars.  Exocet at 270 m/s and 10 meters altitude, should have been painted at least 25,000 meters away, which gives you 90 seconds to do something.   That means that somebody (Like in the case of the USS Stark) was asleep at the conn.    
 
We will never know the real truth of what went wrong. (Loss of ship after towing also strikes me as weird). The holes punched in her, were above the water-line and not that big. She should have been salvageable and repairable. 
 
Damage control was definitely a lost art. 
 
H. 

 
 
 


 
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Volkodav       2/21/2010 6:17:26 AM
I believe Sheffields 965 had actually been switched off to permit sat coms with the UK with the AD picture supplied to her through data link from the task force.  Trouble is Sheffield actually masked the Etendards from the groups radars.
 
At for her loss, she was constructed from light gauge steel which buckled and deformed and with aluminium ladders that melted.  She was issued with foam rubber mattresses which produced toxic fumes when burnt, the single airconditioning system then preceded to pump the toxic fumes and others from the fire throughout the ship hindering damage control.
 
Sheffield had been built to a price and under the assumption she wouldn't be hit, she had little if any redundancy, no protection and poor damage control provisions. 
 
The RN was very aware of the need for AEW but was always held back by lack of funding and lack of sufficient large decks.
 
Then again if the RN had managed to push the CVA-01 and its airgroup through Argentina would not have invaded the Falklands in the first place.  I wonder what would have cost more, maintaining three carrier groups, or the Falklands conflict as it panned out.
 
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