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Subject: the LCS-CV?
Charles99    4/14/2008 11:57:11 PM
I have a question-- do we need an LCS at least in the form we have it today-- given the ever growing utility of UAVs and UCAV's wouldn't it be better to have a "LCS-CV" designed to support UCAV's, V-22's and perhaps a few other aircraft types (NO FIGHTERS!), as a way of maintaining observation and control over the littorals in low intensity conflicts, with teh added ability to provide ASW in higher intensity conflicts. Give it aspects of a tender and team it up with corvettes like the Visby-- with a tender you don't need the same independence, and you can keep some of the functions we're putting on the LCS back further out of harms way with the LCS-CV or tender. Granted, you wno't be able to afford as many, but how many will we need, and UCAV's are getting VERY long ranged-- one could for example, likely cover a good deal of the gulf, and the smaller visby style combatants would be quite capable of doing the close up work.
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B.Smitty       4/15/2008 3:52:12 PM
I think splitting aviation from combatant is an interesting approach.  It allows you to use smaller, non-aviation-capable combatants, and use more robust aircraft (with greater variety) than just medium helos. 

One has to ask, do we need something else besides an LHA/D for this role?  Maybe. 

I think fighters would be an essential option, however.  Harriers and F-35Bs (down the road) can provide area air defense and strike capabilities.

If this vessel is going to be purely STOVL (no cats), I don't see a UCAV program in the works that will fit.   X-47 will require cats. 

I wonder if it would be practical to adapt a couple small, cheap, land-based aircraft for STOBAR ops?  Perhaps something like the AT-6 Texan II, Britten-Norman Defender, or even the CASA C-212.

The OV-10 would be nice, but it's been out of service too long.  We need something with a hot production line.

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Charles99       4/18/2008 7:01:57 AM

I think fighters would be an essential option, however.  Harriers and F-35Bs (down the road) can provide area air defense and strike capabilities.

I would specifically avoid that-- once you start including fixed wing fighters, the complexity of hte ship (ammunition and support) starts to go up.  Maybe for a High end version, but in order to afford enough to do any good you'd have to focus on helo's and UAV's-- possibly predator style ones.  The idea of prop-fixed wing is interesting, and might be a good idea, but I don't know if they could launch/land.
  I'll come up with some ideas for high/low end designs after a bit.

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B.Smitty       4/18/2008 11:08:08 AM
I think if you include strike UCAVs then you will have to include a similar amount ammunition and support overhead.

I don't believe the extra facilities needed for Harriers or F-35Bs will be larger than that needed for helos.  Of course support for each new type does add up.

Fighters offer significant capabilities in task force air defense, ASuW, CAS, ISR and strike.  Just ask the Royal Navy.  During the Falklands conflict, Harriers were the only game in town keeping the Argentinian Air Force at bay.

The decision to carry fighters would be mission-dependent.  Perhaps modular support facilities could be developed and installed or removed as needed for different types and missions.

I think useful types of low-end fixed-wing aircraft would include,

 - A multi-purpose, twin-engined STOL transport. I would develop an armed maritime patrol variant, and would consider a gunship if funds were available.  An AEW variant would also be very valuable, but likely expensive.
 - A light observation/strike aircraft.  (e.g. AT-6 Texan II)

But I don't think it would be worthwhile to develop either type from scratch.  If existing aircraft can't be adapted, the idea may not hold merit. 


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Charles99       4/19/2008 5:00:46 AM
Well remember one thing-- when talking about the sort of UCAV's we might see here, wer'e not talking very large loadouts.  For example, for antipiracy, a long duration UCAV with four hellfires or a similar loadout in terms of 70mm rockets would be more than enough to ruin the day of your typical pirate craft.  For counter insurgency it would be enough to kill vehicles or launch the pinpoint strikes forces on the ground might want.  
  So we probably wouldn't need the same sort of magazine space a carrier has, and if you do, the time has come to whistle up a real CVN. 
 Now, not being a naval engineer I don't know how hard it would be to include larger magazine spaces, but the thing that worries me is the US navy seems ot have a habit (hell every service does) of adding stuff because it would add capabilities, until they've sort of lost sight of the primary goal.
  For example, an LCS-CV would never support a carrier group with fighters-- but it might be the ship where you park all th eASW helicopters and such, freeing up more space on the CVN.  Trying to make it work with F-35s, as anything other than a refueling station risks the danger of staring to increase your capability until you have a ship that is too expensive for what you originally intended it for.

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B.Smitty       4/19/2008 12:46:19 PM
I agree that requirements creep can quickly turn an affordable system into a gold-plated monster, but the capability to operate STOVL fighter aircraft could be a game-changer in some situations. 

Plus, you're talking about developing an all-new STOL/STOVL UCAV, which won't be cheap.

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Carl D.       4/20/2008 8:38:32 PM
Well, it looks like we're going full circle again to the DHK/Sea Control Ship(SCS), the V/STOL Support Ship(VSS) light carrier and the CVV that went from a replacement for the CVS/CVA Essexs to the CV Midways. 

Considering the "small" and "medium" CVX proposal from the 90's come in sized like the Essex and Midway classes and the proposed LHA(R)/CVE is basically in between I guess it comes down to how many clubs you want in the bag.


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USN-MID       4/27/2008 5:32:40 AM
What exactly are you trying to change?
The LCS is already pretty close to a corvette in terms of armament, but with greater aviation capacity.
A "LCS-CV" doesn't really seem to add anything that current big deck amphibs don't offer.
As for the LCS-CV deploying ASW helos, without getting into the specifics on tactics, a group of LCSs with their aviation components is quite sufficient for littoral ASW.
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