The return of the light carrier?

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Netpackrat
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by Netpackrat » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:51 pm

Jered wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:52 am
D5CAV wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:55 pm
Back during RR's push for a "600 ship Navy", some skeptical members of Congress brought in ADM Rickover for testimony. They asked him how long the USN surface fleet, if it ever got up to over 500 ships, would last in a no-holds-barred conflict with the USSR. Rickover answered "About 48 hours". He was 70 at the time. The USN hastily retired him after that. Too much truth-telling is a bad thing for the Pentagon.
Sounds like he watched way too many Soviet propaganda videos.
I think Randy's explanation is likely accurate... After all of the political battles Rickover fought against the surface navy, his objectivity was pretty much shot, and he'd lost sight of who the real enemy was.

The "light carriers" are not a bad idea when you consider the actual purpose of the Marine assault ships, which is amphibious operations. The fighters they carry are not going to fight an entire enemy air force on their own, but it makes a lot of sense for the marines performing an amphibious assault to have their own organic air support that will always be there no matter how much or how little additional air support the Navy can afford to give them.
Last edited by Netpackrat on Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Vonz90
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by Vonz90 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:54 pm

D5CAV wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:55 pm
Precision wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:18 pm
I have been told for years that light carriers are a dumb idea.
All carriers are a dumb idea.


Back during RR's push for a "600 ship Navy", some skeptical members of Congress brought in ADM Rickover for testimony. They asked him how long the USN surface fleet, if it ever got up to over 500 ships, would last in a no-holds-barred conflict with the USSR. Rickover answered "About 48 hours". He was 70 at the time. The USN hastily retired him after that. Too much truth-telling is a bad thing for the Pentagon.
Nope, Nope and Nope. Carriers are vital, not particularly easy to target and we have no replacement for that capability. If you ever tried targeting one (or any ship underway) you would understand this. ... and BTW, if they are so freaking useless and vulnerable, why is the Chinese Navy building them and furiously trying to build other means to counter them?

BTW - Rickover was a career Engineering Duty Officer with exactly zero operational experience in his entire career. I am not sure if your quote is true or not, but asking his opinion on the subject is about as useful as asking your car mechanic. For reference purpose, he fought to keep the Virginia class nuclear cruisers from having the Aegis system on it because he could not see a use for it; so that was his level of thinking.

.... and BTW, as a former USN nuclear qualified officer (SWO), I will say he screwed up the nuclear program too.

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Vonz90
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by Vonz90 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:21 pm

Precision wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:37 pm
blackeagle603 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:47 pm
A little carrier is still a big target with basically the same size tail of supply and defensive ships.

Just less utility and a lot harder to land on in pitching seas.

I served on one, wouldn't want to be on one if the balloon went up. But they're great for projecting power in less than WW4 scenarios.
my point about light / jeep carriers is that OFTEN we need air assets in more than a dozen areas. Not suggesting that F-35 mini carriers are the way to go. If they could take off and land, I think A-10 based carriers would be the way to go for the Marine mission.

It just seems to me that putting a light carrier, a cruiser or two and 4 destroyers in an area makes a pretty big statement. Not unlike the line of sacrificial soldiers stationed in the northern part of South Korea.
I have made a similar arguments, and actually if you discuss with those in the know in the NAV, there is actually broad agreement (for the most part) that they would like to have them. Think of it like this.

A Wasp class LHD can be had for about $1.5 billion and can carry about 26-30 air-frames (and of course a lot of troops and amphibious vehicles). Make it a tad larger and give it a 30 knot-ish capability (and no well deck) maybe pushes it to $2.5 billion and carries let's say 40 to 45 air frames. A Gerald Ford class costs $14 billion and carries 75-85 aircraft. So for the price of one of them I could put at least 4 Wasp+ carriers out there that would carry 160+ aircraft.

Now, the thing is, these Wasp+ carrier would not replace the the Fords, because in a very high threat environment they would not have the full range of capability that the Fords bring to the table. But they would contribute to the overall both by freeing up the Fords for what they are really needed and also adds other degrees of operational flexibility.

The reason the Nav is not asking for them is not that they do not want something like that, it is because they are afraid that if they get into the discussion, the Dems (and idiot side of the GOP) will jump on that bandwagon and decide that they want to have 10-12 of them instead of the super-carriers style and that would be a disaster for our overall capabilities. The thing is, the are probably not wrong (unfortunately).

My thought would be to do it, but only call them LHV's or something like that (and maybe only advertise the speed as 25+ knots or something). That still might be risky.

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g-man
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by g-man » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:43 pm

My problem isn't with the concept, since NPR's assessment that it's probably a good idea for the Marines ashore to have their own air support is spot-on. My issue is (and has been) with the Thunderpig. It might be a damn fine aircraft.

When. It. Can. Fly.

Sortie rates are terrible, have been bad, and don't look like they're going to move upward anywhere in the foreseeable future. And parking 1.5 BILLION dollars worth of aircraft in the space which could be occupied by the same number of Harriers at 1/4 to 1/3 the cost. In the money saved in 3 boats, you could almost pay for another boat AND another full set of jets.

I realize this makes a lot of assumptions, but the sooner we shitcan F-35 production and move to a MUCH less expensive option, the better. The USAF mortgaged the entire personnel structure of their service to bankroll that shiny object. Shit, for CAS in the littoral zone, what's wrong with bringing back the Corsair and parking twice as many in the same space?
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by randy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:40 pm

Vonz90 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:21 pm
My thought would be to do it, but only call them LHV's or something like that (and maybe only advertise the speed as 25+ knots or something). That still might be risky.
You mean like Helicopter Destroyer or Heavy Aviation Cruiser? :mrgreen:
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Vonz90
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by Vonz90 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:29 pm

g-man wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:43 pm
My problem isn't with the concept, since NPR's assessment that it's probably a good idea for the Marines ashore to have their own air support is spot-on. My issue is (and has been) with the Thunderpig. It might be a damn fine aircraft.

I realize this makes a lot of assumptions, but the sooner we shitcan F-35 production and move to a MUCH less expensive option, the better. The USAF mortgaged the entire personnel structure of their service to bankroll that shiny object. Shit, for CAS in the littoral zone, what's wrong with bringing back the Corsair and parking twice as many in the same space?
The A-10 is not carrier capable so it wouldnot be that unless they made new ones and that would be a bad idea. I think something like I propose could carry any carrier capable aircraft so I am agnostic on the particular air frame choices. The needs would vary by mission anyway.

As I have been around long enough to hear almost every weapon in our inventory described as an over priced POS that doesn't work, I am withholding judgment on the F-35.

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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by MiddleAgedKen » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:55 pm

Another issue there is that there aren't all that many destroyers. A WWII Fletcher was a capable ship, but still an attrition unit. By comparison, a Burke is the freaking Enterprise (the NCC-1701 Enterprise, not the CVAN-65 Enterprise), and has a price tag and build rate to match.
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blackeagle603
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by blackeagle603 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:35 pm

Now, the thing is, these Wasp+ carrier would not replace the the Fords, because in a very high threat environment they would not have the full range of capability that the Fords bring to the table. But they would contribute to the overall both by freeing up the Fords for what they are really needed and also adds other degrees of operational flexibility.

Vonz,
I reckon if it came to a very high threat environment then multiple Wasp+ class carriers could be put in same group and mix up their respective airwings makeup as needed. Basically full circle back to CVA, CVL, CVE, CVS...

Make the platform capable of launching and recovering Bugs and it would pretty capable. But I suppose it's too much to hope for all those relatively low time S-3's in mothballs to be dusted off, have updated electronics suites installed and refielded. It's pretty much an all Bug and Seahawk world for now. Even with the F-35 and drones coming online.
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D5CAV
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by D5CAV » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:53 pm

Ultimately, warfare is an exercise in applied economics. Technology marches on. This is not Leyte Gulf in 1944. We are not in Kansas anymore. Drones are not limited to aircraft, there are now surface and submarine drones.

https://warontherocks.com/2015/06/bad-g ... rd-offset/

Taking out a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier with a million dollar drone is a big win.

Aircraft carriers are big, fat, juicy and inviting targets, which is why they are typically the centerpiece of a couple of dozen other ships tasked to protect them. Sometimes they do their job, sometimes not.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/histor ... group.html

A few years back, a Chinese sub surfaced in the middle of a USN carrier battle group during exercises when the rest of the group was presumably practicing "Protecting the Queen (Carrier)".

Shortly after that incident, I was having lunch with a USN Submariner friend and commented that for submariners, this must be the ultimate "giving the finger" to OpFor. He laughed, and said, "You know, even a surfaced attack submarine is pretty hard to spot, especially at night. The worst is when you have to send a few signal flares over their flight deck to get their attention!"

Even a second-world power can afford some of these: https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/swede ... 1649695984

Maybe can't reach San Diego, but could certainly ruin any planned USMC amphibious assault in local waters.

In case I'm accused of Navy-bashing, my old service, the US Army, is also capable of burning vast amounts of taxpayer dollars in spectacularly stupid ways that would make "The Joker" blush.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04- ... fghanistan

$6 billion in gear disappeared.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkkfuSizc4

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Vonz90
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Re: The return of the light carrier?

Post by Vonz90 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:58 pm

D5CAV wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:53 pm
Ultimately, warfare is an exercise in applied economics. Technology marches on. This is not Leyte Gulf in 1944. We are not in Kansas anymore. Drones are not limited to aircraft, there are now surface and submarine drones.

https://warontherocks.com/2015/06/bad-g ... rd-offset/

Taking out a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier with a million dollar drone is a big win.

Aircraft carriers are big, fat, juicy and inviting targets, which is why they are typically the centerpiece of a couple of dozen other ships tasked to protect them. Sometimes they do their job, sometimes not.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/histor ... group.html

A few years back, a Chinese sub surfaced in the middle of a USN carrier battle group during exercises when the rest of the group was presumably practicing "Protecting the Queen (Carrier)".

Shortly after that incident, I was having lunch with a USN Submariner friend and commented that for submariners, this must be the ultimate "giving the finger" to OpFor. He laughed, and said, "You know, even a surfaced attack submarine is pretty hard to spot, especially at night. The worst is when you have to send a few signal flares over their flight deck to get their attention!"

Even a second-world power can afford some of these: https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/swede ... 1649695984

Maybe can't reach San Diego, but could certainly ruin any planned USMC amphibious assault in local waters.

In case I'm accused of Navy-bashing, my old service, the US Army, is also capable of burning vast amounts of taxpayer dollars in spectacularly stupid ways that would make "The Joker" blush.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04- ... fghanistan

$6 billion in gear disappeared.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMkkfuSizc4

Unfortunately, the only message we sent is "Americans are Chumps".
You do realize that in peace time, you cannot sink them, so if they want to surface in your battle group they will do it. The Soviets used to drive destroyers right down the middle of battle groups during exercises, the answer being so what.

As far as "big fat and jucy" You might think that if you never did OTH targeting, but once you cannot see them any more, every surface target looks the same. It is not easy if the other side isn't trying to hide it, if they are spoofing you, etc, it gets harder from there. Drones are great, we have them too (air, surface and sub). All of it goes both ways, but if you don't have the firepower behind it, it does not matter.

Subs are great, and are generally hard to track, but not impossible, but they have to be right every time and their ability to attack in the open ocean is pretty limited. And one of the main things Chinese subs will have to face (besides captor mines, airborne ASW, surface ASW,etc) is our subs, and ours are a lot better than theirs. They also have to get in and out port, etc, etc.

BTW, I am not saying that we will not lose ships including carriers, that is war, the enemy gets a vote. I am however saying we have zero shot of winning without carrier battle groups and a better shot with more.
Last edited by Vonz90 on Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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