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Subject: Should the US Navy be building more LHD’s rather than more CVN’s.
John Barry    1/10/2005 3:25:13 AM
With the news about the Tsunami and the relief operations by the USS Lincoln(CVN) and the USS Bon Homme Richard(LHD) it seems that the LHD with it’s 600 bed hospital, well deck and LCAC’s, is more useful to have on the scene to provide relief than the CVN. Should the US Navy be building more LHD’s rather than more CVN’s? You could say “ the Navy can’t organize itself just to support humanitarian assistance missions”. That is true of course, but even in the most likely combat operations the US Navy is going to be facing in the foreseeable future wouldn’t the LHD still be useful? You can shape the airwing for the mission and the well desk can carry small patrol craft,special operations craft as well as the LCAC’s The great configuabitlity of the LHD would make it more valuable in littoral operations, sea control operations, peacekeeping operations as well as the humanitarian mission. I am not calling for the retirement of all the CVN’s just saying we have enough to deal with any high intensity threats we face and we should build a ship better able to meet the needs of our most likely missions. PS: Does anyone know why the US Navy never fit a ski jump ramp to the LHA and LHD like the British and European did? It doesn't seem like you would lose that much deck space and it would be a great help operating the Harriers and the F35 in the future>
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   RE:Should the US Navy be building more LHD’s rather than more CVN’s.    1/10/2005 1:48:31 PM
Hey John Barry, I have been pushing since the bottom up review for 21 of those ARG equiped with LHA/LHD and only 6-8 CVN. you can have better presents oversees with more ARG than with the CVBG(CVN)for less money plus you have about 5 more groups for use(24 v 28) Sincerely, Keith
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fitz    Depends   1/10/2005 6:35:27 PM
Which forward deployments do you want to give up if we swictch down to 6-8 CVBG's? The Med? Persian Gulf? Pacific. 12 carriers is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM required to maintain our current forward presence missions. And no, LHD's can't peform the same presence missions as a CVBG because they don't don't bring that kind of sea-control or strike capability to the party.
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gf0012-aust    RE:Depends   1/10/2005 7:02:23 PM
On issues of economies of scale, the support costs for the ESG are probably greater at ship level than a CSF. After all, it's a non-nuclear force, is limited on replenishment and range etc...
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JohnBarry    RE:Depends   1/11/2005 12:57:40 PM
“LHD's can't peform the same presence missions as a CVBG because they don't don't bring that kind of sea-control or strike capability to the party.” This is the old debate about what is the best size for carriers. Larger carriers give you more power for your money and is probable more survivable. On the other hand you have all your eggs in a smaller number of platforms. If you go with a larger number of smaller carriers you don’t have as much overall power but you can be in more places at once. Obviously the LHD can’t carry the sea control and strike missions out to the extent as a CVN, but it can carry them out to some degree, you can debate the degree of effectiveness. But in many situtions a full CSBG is way more than you really need. It is in many of these lower threat areas, where a full CSBG is overkill, that the other capabilities of the LHD bring to the table would be a great advantage. I believe the LHD configued for sea control has a mix of 20 Harriers and 6 ASW helicopters. I don’t know if the Harriers are going to be replace one for one. With the F35’s it seems that the LHD could be configued to adequately carry out both the sea control and strike missions in lower threat areas and even supplement a core CVN battle group in higher threat areas.
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   RE:Depends   1/11/2005 5:24:26 PM
Hey Folks, I put forth back when they were different programs what became the F-35 that was to replace both the F-16, F/A-18, A-10, and AV-8B which was part of a total force of 6 active CVN, 2 SAG for surface projection and BMD work, and 21 ARG. The program was totally redone by the Pentagon though Sincerely, Keith
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fitz    Depends RE: JohnBarry   1/12/2005 8:18:36 PM
OK, so you've got an LHD equipped with 20 AV-8BII+'s and 6 LAMPS helicopters. Fantastic. But what does that give us? Well, I think the RN's experience in the Falkland's can teach us something. We all remember the Falkland's right? It's that little war where a similar sized force of Harrier's was hard-pressed to gain supremecy over a 3rd world air force operating at the absolute limits of its capabilities. Just like in the Falkland's your notional Sea Control Ship is going to be able to generate but a very limited number of sorties - dramatically less than a CV could. And the workload needed to generate and maintain a useful number of sorties is going to place considerable demands upon both air and ground crews alike. Even so, this is still too few aircraft to defend against a coordinated strike. The Harrier's are too short legged and too restricted in the kinds of munitions they can handle to perform strike missions, or even threaten to perform strike missions. Even if they could, the lack of dedicated SEAD and AEW&C, combined with the limited striking power of such a small force (which still has to be able to defend itself) dramatically reduces the effectiveness of such a force. Recall that in ODS aircraft carriers were routinely launching strikes against Iraq from the Red Sea - 700+ miles from their targets. Can a Harrier-carrier do that? The need to provide both anti-surface and anti-air capability from such a small force severely restricts its effectiveness in both areas. Such a force is vulnerable to attrition. The same short legs mentioned above limit CAP time and combined with the relatively low speed limit the area which can be covered. The same can be said about conducting offensive counter-air missions. Lack of AEW&C in such a battle group so severely restricts situational awareness as to make the whole concept virtually meaningless - IMHO. There is no serious force-multiplier if things get hot. Whattya gonna do? Call in another LHD with the same set of limitations. That buys you almost nothing. Oh, and did I mention that you have to disimbark the Marines in order to do the SCS gig? I could go on and on but I have a water heater to install and my wife is nagging me. So in short, while yes, an LHD is less expensive than a CV in terms of dollars spent, the value for the money is pathetically bad in the LHD solution. It is a VERY EXPENSIVE way to bring 20 short-ranged CAS aircraft to sea.
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   RE:Depends JohnBarry   1/12/2005 10:17:53 PM
Hey Fitz, I actually am in support of a 50,000 to 55,000 ton class LHD. which would give it extra f-35 for self defense. I was also in support of a air Dominace version of the f-35. I also like LCAC being use as pickets along with LCS. Sincerely, Keith
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reefdiver    LHD as UCAV platform   2/19/2005 4:39:40 PM
As said on another thread: Assuming something like the X-47 can be launched and recovered on an LHD, you could pack a lot of inert gas containerized UCAV's on board an LHD. Perhaps make a version without the internal amphib bays, and carry only a few F-35's, a bunch of UCAV's, and a lot of bombs for the UCAV's.
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reefdiver    RE:LHD as UCAV platform   2/19/2005 6:25:07 PM
Whoops - someone on another thread pointed out that containerizing UAVs is dead since the USAF and USN designs keep getting larger and larger...
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perfectgeneral    RE:Keith : LCACs as pickets   2/19/2005 9:00:34 PM
I love the idea of a torpedo wizzing under the LCAC's skirt, out the other side and hitting the LHD. I wonder what horsepower it would take to drag a torpedo net around? Maybe deploy one on piers when the LHD is stationary (sea anchor)?.
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