Aircraft carrier proposal 3

Aircraft used

 

Aircraft used will be an air superiority fighter (FLX), CAS fighter (AX) and observation aircraft (OLX), plus transport aircraft (C-2). This will allow it to be useful for carrier’s primary tasks: defending fleet from an attack by enemy ground-based aircraft, as well as supporting amphibious landings and providing close air support for ground troops.

 

Final design

 

0carrier

 

Length (overall): 249,5 m

Length (hull): 245,1 m

Length (hangar): 116,6 m

Width (overall): 60,5 m

Width (hull): 31,1 m

Width (hangar): 27,3 m

 

Displacement:

20.000 t standard

30.000 t maximum

 

Speed: 32 kts

Range: 7.000 miles
Aircraft carried:

12 FLX (32,4 sorties per day)

12 AX (36 sorties per day)

12 OLX (36 sorties per day ?)

2 C-2

 

Defensive armament:

4 x Goalkeeper CIWS

4 x Crotale EDIR IR SAM

 

Notes

Goalkeeper CIWS was selected over Phalanx CIWS due to the better coverage, and also because it is a 30 mm gun (same one as in the A-10, in fact), thus allowing it, at least theoretically, to use same ammunition as used in AXs guns.

 

When Foch was launched in 1960, it cost 424 million francs or 86 million USD. Adjusted for inflation, it gives 634 million USD. Cost for this carrier will be increased to 950 million USD for conservativism. Air group of 38 aircraft costs 777,84 million USD. This can be compared to Nimitz class carrier, where carrier itself costs 6,93 billion USD, plus 4,47 billion USD for the air group of 54 aircraft – 380 aircraft would require 10 CVX costing 17,28 billion USD, or 7 Nimitzes costing 79,8 billion USD.

 

If only air superiority fighters are carried, CVX can carry 32 FLXs costing 1,44 billion USD, and Nimitz can carry 130 F-18s costing 9 billion USD. 3 Nimitzes can carry 390 F-18s for a total cost of 47,78 billion USD, while 384 FLX would require 12 CVX for a total cost of 28,68 billion USD.

 

It should be noted that the above comparision is heavily biased towards the Nimitz, as 390 F-18s can fly 466 hours per day, while 384 FLXs can fly 1.024 hours per day, a better than 2:1 advantage for the FLX. 192 FLXs can fly 512 hours per day, requiring only 6 CVX for a total cost of 14,34 billion USD, a 10:3 advantage.

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34 thoughts on “Aircraft carrier proposal 3

  1. Can I make a suggestion for defensive armament. Instead of combination of Goalkeepers and Crotale, put six OTO Melara 76 mm with guided anti-air/anti-missile ammunition (DART) and guided land attack munition (Volcano – 40 km range also with an anti-ship variant coming soon – the 127 mm version has better range then Harpoon) in addition to standard HE and anti-aircraft munitions. With an effective range for the DART projectile of 6 km and a rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute I think it has better performance then Crotale at ranges above 4 km, and outperforms the Goalkeeper at ranges bellow 2 kilometers. The Italians love them so much that they have at least 2 on any ship above 1000 tons. The logistics might be complicated a little bit compared to Goalkeeper but it will be better if you take into account that the OTO Melara 76mm will probably be a main weapon for the rest of the ships of the fleet.

    • How expensive would guided munition be, and how effective would it really be? It might be good to have a few guns using it, but I’d rather not have the entire carrier point defense depend on it.

      • That’s the beauty of it: the carriers point defense doesn’t depend on the DART guided munition, it works perfectly well with dumb munition. The DART only extends the effective range to 6 kms, the same as most point defense missiles (RAM, Crotale, Sea Wolf). Practically the DART would replace the Crotale. Also the DART is only about 30000 Euros per Round compared to about 10 times as much for Crotale.
        Basically the point defense would engage the missile with an initial salvo of DARTS at 6 km then switch to standard munition if the missiles survives to 5 km which is maximum effective range of standard munition against sea skimmers. OTO Melara 76 mm are dual feed so they could swithc like this indefinitely as long as the 260 rounds of preloaded ammo hold. That’s enough for 2 minutes of firing (compared to 1 minute for the Goalkeeper) and reloading takes only 10 minutes at sea.

      • Guidance for the DART is Command Line of Sight similar to the Crotale so effectiveness should be similar, it needs only 5 seconds to reach 5 km out, and unlike the Crotale which needs 2 seconds to accelerate to Mach 3.2, the Dart leaves the barrel at almost Mach 4 (1200 m/s), it also can make up to 40 trajectory corrections. All in all I think the effectiveness is about the same as Crotale at a significantly reduced cost.

  2. Two little corrections the OTO Melara has 80 rounds ready to fire enough for 40 secodns of sustained fire,or 89 if the Multiple Feeding Kit is installed (this kit allows selection from up to 20 types of ammo during firing) and according to the brochure, here http://www.otomelara.it/documents/1287567/3808616/body_STRALES_2013_1.pdf, the DART guided projectile is effective out to 8 km, also it can make maneuvers at up to 40g compared to 35 for Crotale
    Also the installation weighs less then a Goalkeeper (OTO Melara 76mm 7.5 tons dry plus about half a ton of ammo 8 tons total, Goalkeeper 9 tons total) and as I just said it carries ammunition for 40 seconds of firing compared to just 1900 rounds that the Goalkeeper carries which would last for about 20 seconds. Also in the first second of firing taking into account half second spin up time the Goal Keeper would fire 35 rounds. In the same second the Oto Melara fires 2 rounds. Each round weigh about 16 times as much as 30 millimeter round (caliber is roughly 2.5 times as large which translates in volume about 16 times as large which translate to mass 16 times as large.) So for first second of firing the trow weights would be equivalent.
    The Oto Melara 76 mm is advertised to be capable of engaging up two 4 missiles sequentially before those missiles reach the ship with standard non-guided ammunition (maximum effective range apparently 6 km). Goalkeeper can barely engage one with it’s puny 1.5 to 2 km (depending on ammunition) maximum effective range. Taking into account the range extension granted by the DART guided munition a single OTO Melara 76 mm could probablly destroy between 5 and 7 missiles on its own, which I think it’s better then the one Goalkeeper and one Crotale, it would be replacing, would be able to intercept. Considering that one Oto Melara would weigh less then half of one Goalkeepr plus one Crotale, I think you could safelly put up to 10.

  3. I’d say 30,000 tons is about the right size.

    Need lots of “jeep” carriers, which this I guess is the equal of. The rest of the world seems to be moving to nuclear-powered fleet carriers, which is not effective from a cost standpoint.

    I’d agree that OTO Melara is a good choice. I’m not sure how well the Russian system works – it has 2x 30mm Gattling guns not dissimilar to those on the A-10, only their spinup time to max rpm is much faster because they are gas-operated.

    • “Need lots of “jeep” carriers, which this I guess is the equal of. The rest of the world seems to be moving to nuclear-powered fleet carriers, which is not effective from a cost standpoint. ”

      Not only cost standpoint but survivability one too. Larger carriers are easier to detect, and their ability to evade enemy munitions is very limited. If flight deck of a Nimitz class is disabled before fighters take off, then the enemy has eliminated 60-130 aircraft from action. To do the same with these carriers, enemy would have to hit 2-4 carriers. Large size of many modern carriers also limits the basing options, as well as a number of shipyards capable of building them.

      • Yeah I can see this being a problem.

        In WWII, the US made around ~100 such carriers. Granted they were only ~10,000 tons (back then a fleet carrier was battleship sized, so 35,000+ tons empty) and with the age of jets, the size has “creeped” up owing to the longer take-off distances, but idea is the same. That and jeep carriers were needed for convoys. Logistics won the war, more so than anything else. The Japanese never really guarded their logistics and the Battle of the Atlantic was all about letting the convoys reach Europe – especially the UK.

        Losing a carrier too means a higher proportion of the fleet is taken out. Plus there’s the fact that no matter how powerful 1 carrier is, it can only be in one area at a time.

        I get the impression though that most navies don’t think that way.

        • “In WWII, the US made around ~100 such carriers.”

          These were very slow escort carriers, though, my proposal is the equivalent of the Royal Navy’s Hermes class or US Navy’s Independence class.

          “back then a fleet carrier was battleship sized, so 35,000+ tons empty”

          Less than battleship sized actually, Yorktown class was 20.000 tons, Essex class 31.000 tons and Illustrious class 23.000 tons.

          “That and jeep carriers were needed for convoys. Logistics won the war, more so than anything else.”

          Agreed, though I was wondering wether oil tankers could be converted to carry ASW helicopters and air superiority / ASW aircraft, so there would be no need for a dedicated carrier to escort convoys?

          “Losing a carrier too means a higher proportion of the fleet is taken out. Plus there’s the fact that no matter how powerful 1 carrier is, it can only be in one area at a time. ”

          Which is exactly why I went for the minimum size required for my requirements.

          “I get the impression though that most navies don’t think that way.”

          Most navies care only about budgets. It isn’t like the Western countries have fought a comparable opponent since the World War II – neither the North Korea or Vietnam had naval power capable of anything more than slightly annoying the Western navies.

  4. Agreed, though I was wondering wether oil tankers could be converted to carry ASW helicopters and air superiority / ASW aircraft, so there would be no need for a dedicated carrier to escort convoys?

    Container ships might be easier to convert because they are flat with lots of room. Oil tankers would likely need heavy refitting, as would liquid natural gas carriers (they carry gas in a series of spheres).

    Ocean liners were historically converted into troop and hospital ships. I’m not sure how well modern cruise ships would convert though. Probably not well as they were built for size, not necessarily ability to handle in rough waters.

    Another issue is the size of modern merchant ships. Oil tankers and container ships have been growing in size due to the economics of scale. In peacetime, this leads to lower operating costs, but in war, that could be a drawback.

    Most navies care only about budgets. It isn’t like the Western countries have fought a comparable opponent since the World War II – neither the North Korea or Vietnam had naval power capable of anything more than slightly annoying the Western navies.

    There is that to consider. The fleet aircraft carrier has become a symbol more than anything else. It has air superiority fighters, ASW helicopters, and various other aircraft, mostly for self-defense. It exists … mostly. The only real thing it can do is send tactical bombers at high speed. Not very effective for transitioning from sea to land.

    • To be honest, I’m not too sure LNG carriers would be able to convert very well either. Perhaps only oil tankers and container ships; maybe bulk carriers.

      Their sheer size though might make it possible to put some self-defense measures (lots of deckroom), although for container ships that may come at the expense of container capacity.

    • “Another issue is the size of modern merchant ships. Oil tankers and container ships have been growing in size due to the economics of scale. In peacetime, this leads to lower operating costs, but in war, that could be a drawback. ”

      True, but there are some size limits due to artificial channels (“Suezmax” and “Panamax”).

      “There is that to consider. The fleet aircraft carrier has become a symbol more than anything else. ”

      Agreed. One of reasons why carriers are getting larger might be that, too.

      • “True, but there are some size limits due to artificial channels (“Suezmax” and “Panamax”).”

        Not all ships are limited by canal limits; some are much larger. The largest ships today can displace ~550,000 tons or so fully loaded, and the largest ship ever built, which was broken up, could displace ~655,000 tons at full load, known as the Seawise Giant. They are oil tankers, but it seems optimal efficiency may be on the order of ~350,000 tons? Container ships are creeping up in size though.

        Perhaps the optimal size point is ~250-350k tons displacement for all ships?

        I have noticed cruise ships seem to be getting bigger too. That may be a problem for other reasons. Harder to evacuate too. Those cruise ships look really top heavy, almost like they could capsize. The other issue is that cruise ships tend to have a small well-trained crew, but the regular staff probably knows nothing of seamanship, no training, and was chosen purely because their nation had the lowest wages. in an emergency, the regular staff would likely add to the panic.

        “Agreed. One of reasons why carriers are getting larger might be that, too.”

        As far as carriers, it would seem that the current size, ~100,000 tons displacement is considered the limit. That being said, the US has done studies on carriers of up to 500,000 tons.

        One thing I find interesting from real world examples, it seems that smaller carriers may be more efficient too in terms of sortie:ton, even accounting for the same aircraft on both aircraft carriers. Perhaps there is a limit to how many sorties a carrier can perform no matter its size?

        That is yet another case for smaller carriers.

        I bet nuclear submarines too could be reduced in size in favor of numbers. The French had a nuclear submarine I think about ~2500 tons.

        • “One thing I find interesting from real world examples, it seems that smaller carriers may be more efficient too in terms of sortie:ton, even accounting for the same aircraft on both aircraft carriers. Perhaps there is a limit to how many sorties a carrier can perform no matter its size? ”

          Deck space is quite an important limit, and if you double carrier’s size, it will have only 4 times as much deck space (and between 4 and 8 times as much hangar space), but it will weight 8 times as much.

          “I bet nuclear submarines too could be reduced in size in favor of numbers. The French had a nuclear submarine I think about ~2500 tons.”

          Maybe, but main advantages of nuclear submarine are speed (not so much any more, but it is still there) and endurance. Nuclear submarines tend to be larger in order to order to fully capitalize on latter.

      • That would be the square cube law at work – deck space squared while cubed is the displacement. The other issue is there may be other limits on how much a deck can handle simply regardless of its size. Inside even with a large aircraft carrier, you could have 2 levels of storage but still be met with limitations.

        Either way it works out against the largest of carriers, which makes one wonder why even the smaller nations are building large carriers.

        • “which makes one wonder why even the smaller nations are building large carriers.”

          Several reasons:
          1) They focus too much on capabilities of a single ship instead on focusing on capabilities of the fleet.
          2) Carriers are a symbol of country’s power and prestige. They are often designed more to impress than with actual military needs in mind.
          3) “Mee too” syndrome. Whenever one country gets something new, all other countries want it regardless of its actual utility. You can see that all over the place: nuclear carriers, stealth aircraft, UCAVs…

    • “The fleet aircraft carrier has become a symbol more than anything else.”

      To quote William Lind:
      “That means the carrier’s air wing is useful primarily for defending the carrier, which turns each of the Navy’s $20-plus billion carrier battle groups into sailing tautologies. Their main mission is to exist.”

      They are useful for gunboat diplomacy, ego boost and displaying US military power. That is about all they are useful for.

  5. Yeah I can see that happening.

    1. Too much on a single ship vs the fleet. Seems to be the same issue plaguing all service branches – army too; too much emphasis on heavy tanks (MBTs). I think that heavy tanks have a role, but any army needs light tanks to conduct maneuver war operations.

    2. There is that. Prestige overrules any logical considerations in this case. But even then, you only need 1-2 large carriers, not all your fleet to consist of large carriers. I suppose 1 is the problem here.

    3. Perhaps me too is a problem. Hmm … I think most nations don’t know what works and what does not at this point.

      • Fair point – only 1-2 carriers in most cases.

        Irony is that for the types of wars the US wants to wage, a large supercarrier fleet is probably counterproductive. A fleet of small carriers with all OLX-like aircraft (or perhaps ALX) would be the best solution.

  6. Picard578, you should reconsider nuclear power for the Aircraft carrier as well as any ship. The new molten salt reactor witch are coming are much cheaper/smaller/lighter and secure than existing reactor. And also with a large amount of free power (with don’t require any fuel or very little amount),you could produce synthetic fuel from seawater for the aircraft as well as the entire fleet.

  7. I’m starting to think that the Marines need their own pure transportation aircraft carrier. The problem is that they just aren’t being given the artillery support by the battleships that they used to get. That is one particular decision that the military has made that I actually agree with. Battleships just kinda suck compared to aircraft carriers at sinking surface ships, and so they can’t really justify their cost, since the only thing they do well anymore is naval bombardment. So as much as I understand the Marines, I think they just need to get over the fact that they’re not going to get real naval fire support.

    So I think the Marines should totally give up on the idea of the classic beach storming, where you float a bunch of your amphibious APC’s through the inevitable minefield to get mostly slaughtered on shore in order to establish a beachhead. I think a much more sensible idea is to have aircraft carriers 500km’s from the beach, try to pick the absolute best spot to fly over, and then mass your fighters and troop transport planes to try to get your guys on land that way. After doing that, they need to try to find the easiest place to fight their way back to the sea so that you get the beachhead that way, in reverse. Now I’m well aware that even in WW2 there existed such a thing as airbourne divisions, my thinking is just that there’s no initial beach storming since that’s just not possible.

    We could disagree about the exact nature of the troop transport aircraft, the mix of helicopters versus traditional paratrooper planes, but the basic concept I think is sound. It would of course also require an absolute ton of CAS planes, as well as at least enough fighters to create truly contested air. Furthermore, to give the troops tank support you would need some light tank that was <20 tons so you could drop it out of an airplane. I said in a previous comment that the main benefit of a light tank over a CAS plane is in it's persistence, and this is almost the perfect scenario for it here. It's possible someone will point out how foolish this idea is, but I actually think it's the only viable way to get your troops onto land initially. The key would be not micromanaging everything, so that the guys on the ground could, like water, flow down the path of least resistance to get back to the shore to support transport ships.

    • I agree with everything, but I do thing classic beach storming may be necessary on occasion. This of course depends on the situation, and is best avoided. And did US ever perform amphibious assaults after World War II? I think Pusan landing was largely unopposed.

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