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Subject: CVF and Aircraft Numbers
BRoger    12/15/2005 8:45:35 AM
According to the MOD's website, the new CVF carriers for the Royal Navy will be approximately 65,000 tonnes and carry 40 aircraft. The website also says that the US carriers weigh 90,000 tonnes and carry 90 aircraft, France's Charles de Gaulle weighs 45,000 tonnes and carrys 40 aircraft and the Invincible Class carriers weigh 20,000 tonnes and carry 22 aircraft. My question to people is this: why are the CVF carriers planned to carry so few aircraft in relation to their size. The others seem to carry approximately 1 aircraft for every thousand tonnes, but the CVFs are way off this ratio? Is it a case of they're planned to carry relatively few aircraft for normal operations, but they can be overloaded (up to approx 65 aircraft) during war time?
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Basilisk Station    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 10:11:30 AM
Well for one thing the final dimentions/displacement hasn't been set yet. Also the WWII carriers the brits built sacrificed aircraft capacity for better protection than contemporary USN aircraft carriers (like armored flight decks), so there might be some of that going on. Beyond that I don't know, it could also be an issue of how many aircraft they can afford to put on them.
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Yimmy    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 10:31:07 AM
It may be the RN doing another "through deck cruiser". Oh, it's only a through deck cruiser.... but what do you know, it can take 20 Harriers! Oh, it's only a carrier for 40 aircraft.... but what do you know, we can fit on 65!
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perfectgeneral    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 10:51:00 AM
The F-35 squadron will be of twelve planes. Clearly the plan is to have up to three on a CVF. I'm sure that the maximum peace-time level will be two (usually only one). The US carriers usually carry about 30-40 fixed wing aircraft. Any more is wasteful. The total purchase would be about 120 - allowing for training and spares. If you really wanted to go for maximum surge, two wings of 48 (4 squadrons) could be possible. The hangers could hold a couple of squadrons each as could the deck areas.
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perfectgeneral    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 10:59:53 AM
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perfectgeneral    RE:CVF and hanger protection   12/15/2005 11:06:01 AM
Beedle knows all. He suggests that the two compartment layer surrounding the hangers is to compensate for the reduction in armour on this design. I'm sure that the RN will tinker with the armour level after delivery (water barrels?), but what about deck armour?
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perfectgeneral    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 11:34:51 AM
You could probably get 65 Harriers on board a CVF. Assuming we still have 65 harriers by the time the Queen Elizabeth becomes operational.
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Lawman    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 11:49:58 AM
I am holding out hope for a split buy, with F-35C belonging to the RN exclusively, with the RAF similarly having their own F-35C fleet, and then a joint F-35B fleet. If the RN could have four frontline squadrons of 16 aircraft each, plus have a 'claim' on two squadrons of F-35Bs, then the carriers could perhaps carry 48 total when needed. Best of all, if you design the LPH(R) to take one squadron of F-35Bs, then if another Falklands conflict happened, the UK could send a CV and an LPH, with a total of 64 fighters! This would allow the RN to actually have four carriers (two with 32 fighters, two with 16), for most purposes - plenty of flag waving opportunity!
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Galrahn    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 12:42:53 PM
"US carriers usually carry about 30-40 fixed wing aircraft" For Nimitz class in 2005 With tomcat the carrier wing at deployment is: 10 - F-14D Tomcat TARPS 8 - F-14D Tomcat TARPS/LANTIRN 12 - F/A-18C Hornet 12 - F/A-18C Hornet 8 - S-3B Viking 4 - EA-6B Prowler 4 - E-2C Hawkeye 4 - SH-60F Seahawk 2 - HH-60H Seahawk Without Tomcat the carrier wing at deployment is: 12 - F/A-18C Hornet 12 - F/A-18C Hornet 6 - F/A-18E/F Super Hornet 12 - F/A-18E/F Super Hornet 8 - S-3B Viking 4 - E-2C Hawkeye Group II 4 - EA-6B Prowler ICAP III 4 - SH-60F Seahawk 2 - HH-60H Seahawk In all cases in 2005 US carriers have gone to sea with 42 strike aircraft. Surge capacity can increase by as many as 6 Super Hornets or 8 Hornets. These configurations do not include a detachment of C-2s (usually 3 per carrier). The EF-18G squadrons are expected to have 5 planes. I have no idea how the JSF will change this, but I would assume the F-18Cs will be replaced by a combination of JSF and unmanned aircraft, and the number of strike aircraft will remain 42 somehow. I was also under the impression the new CVFs were going to have increased airborne AEW and ECM capability, meaning fixed wing over rotary, either manned or unmanned. It would be wise to assume the new UK carriers will deploy unmanned aircraft in addition to the proposed number of JSF, which may account for the number of JSFs. Considering a US carrier is only taking 42 strike aircraft to sea on a Nimitz class, and 64-68 total aircraft to sea in each deployment so far in 2005, I fail to see the issue with a relatively low number of UK JSFs to the CVF. Like has been discussed, obviously it could surge with more in wartime, but even then it may choose less JSFs in favor of other airframes, depending upon threat and mission.
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Yimmy    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 1:15:13 PM
Will both carriers ever be operational on deployments at the same time, or will one always be in refit/training?
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Lawman    RE:CVF and Aircraft Numbers   12/15/2005 1:37:47 PM
It is likely that one will either be deployed or at high readiness, and the other in longer term maintenance. It is, however, unwise to try to have just over one carrier air wing - it is far better to have two full airwings, so they can go to exercises, and to work-ups together. It also means that if really needed, both carriers could be put to sea. The real question is going to be the number and timeframe for the UCAVs, especially since they are now no longer looking so 'cheap'. The UCAVs were originally to cost ~$10m per unit, but now look to be heading for a higher unit cost than the JSF. If they can get this worked out, then there is the potential to carry at least one squadron on each carrier. Personally, I still feel a carrier version of the Mariner UAV would be worthwhile.
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