Fantasy RAN thread (Carriers only)

cdxbow

Well-Known Member
If I had to choose between getting nuclear subs or aircraft carriers I would definitely go with the former. If more money were made available for an Aircraft Carrier I would probably take that money and spend it on even more submarines. IMHO full blown carriers would be more of a liability than an asset for Australia mostly because of the draw on resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

To get adequate aircraft carrier capability Australia would need to spend big money. The UK bought two large fleet carriers and virtually had to gut it's escort fleet to pay for them.

Even if we did decide to go down the aircraft carrier route the current LHDs are simply not suited to that role. I would even question their capability as ASW helicopter carriers. I think Australia would at a minimum require something around the size and capability of the America Class, possibly two of them. You could probably add another half dozen escort vessels to that as well.

But seriously if you want to scare the Bejesus out of a potential enemy get 8 - 12 Block V Virginias armed to the back teeth with TLAM and forget about aircraft carriers.
Agree absolutely. Subs >>>>>> Carrier, Also as you point out the RN does offer a salutary lesson about unbalancing your naval force. It's even stranger when you think about their lack of aircraft for the carriers now and in the near future, The first British F35B is projected to be available in 2023.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Agree absolutely. Subs >>>>>> Carrier, Also as you point out the RN does offer a salutary lesson about unbalancing your naval force. It's even stranger when you think about their lack of aircraft for the carriers now and in the near future, The first British F35B is projected to be available in 2023.
Aside from the squadron (617)currently embarked on QE? Maybe you mean the first FAA squadron, 809NAS, but it's moot because the UK intends to operate them as a joint force, just like the last decade with Harrier

oldsig
 

ddxx

Active Member
Can someone more knowledgeable than myself help me understand how the ADF can adequately "shape our region" by "projecting military force" with only land based fighters? I struggle to see how the ambitious strategic objectives from the update can be met without the Joint Force having some level of naval fixed wing capability?
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Can someone more knowledgeable than myself help me understand how the ADF can adequately "shape our region" by "projecting military force" with only land based fighters? I struggle to see how the ambitious strategic objectives from the update can be met without the Joint Force having some level of naval fixed wing capability?
Perhaps fixed wing aircraft are not the only available option to achieve said objectives? With SSNs in the pipeline, Tomahawk, hypersonics etc. I suspect there are multiple ways to skin the proverbial cat.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
Can someone more knowledgeable than myself help me understand how the ADF can adequately "shape our region" by "projecting military force" with only land based fighters? I struggle to see how the ambitious strategic objectives from the update can be met without the Joint Force having some level of naval fixed wing capability?
I guess part of the answer is what do you mean by " Shape the Region." Military contingency's can range from the very small to the very big.

I'm sure you know this, so the assumption is that the deal breaker is actually having on call integral fleet fast air.

If yes:

Is it 6 aircraft or 60 or some combination in between?​

All combinations can be deal breakers in the appropriate scenario when compared to the alternative which is................. nothing.

Now that's nothing of course, assuming your outside of the useful range of land based RAAF aircraft. So are these aircraft restricted to Australia, or do they have international host basing.

Probably the biggest what if is, are we actually on our own, or are we operating with allied Land / fleet based fast air?

i.e. the USN.​

WOW

Too many bloody scenarios.

SO

You may or may not know most on DT are not for the ADF getting the F-35B and operating it off ether the LHD's or a dedicated carrier. Too expensive and too niche. Better priority's for human and material investment. Etc Etc!

With limited funds choices have to be made. F-35B and associated ship are out.

What ever the answer to the above questions, if your still a fan for the F-35B / ship combo like myself, then I suggest you leave it at that.

This subject has being dealt with many times before and makes the mods and others very unhappy.


Regards S
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Can someone more knowledgeable than myself help me understand how the ADF can adequately "shape our region" by "projecting military force" with only land based fighters?
CAP over a naval task group by a baby carrier is an exhausting role for 12 pilots on shift — to ensure you have 4 fighters to meet an air threat; and another 4 to conduct a concurrent planned strike mission (i.e. 16 deployed pilots to fly 8 ready aircraft).

1. Let me break down the numbers for you for one contrived scenario. Assuming you had a baby carrier, and it is deployed with your naval task group and you had a pair of naval fighters on Alert 5 tasking, sitting in the cockpit for 4 hours at a time (ready for launch on alert). The next set of fighters is on Alert 15, tasking.

2. You get three shifts of 2 pilots, 6 pilots all exhausted from the heat of sitting in the cockpit (for their respective shifts) in a 12 hour day. The other 6 pilots have an easy day because, they are only in their flight suit, in the ready room getting ready to jump into the next set of fighters in 5 mins and their aircraft are pre-flight prepared — to ensure that the naval task group has 4 fighters to meet an air threat, with 15 mins warning.

3. Because you have fighters ready to launch, you have a rescue helicopter ready to launch (it’s part of your safety protocol). In between all this, in a planned mission, another 4 fighters are launched for a strike mission. Using all 8 fighters that are not being maintained (a US Marine F-35B squadron, has 10 aircraft). The fight crew works long 15 hour days to ensure 8 operational fighters.

4. At the end of 12 hours, the baby carrier stands down. Because the fight deck crew are tired too. Flight decks don’t operate for 24 hours. They need to sleep too.

5. Let me ask you some Qns:
Q1: When will your enemy attack?​
Q2: How many enemy can your 4 fighters take on (without AWAC support for situational awareness)?​
Q3: What is the range of the fighter interception without tanking support (for the F-35B)?​

I struggle to see how the ambitious strategic objectives from the update can be met without the Joint Force having some level of naval fixed wing capability?
6. That’s why you use a joint force. For the hours the RAAF can’t be there (in a 24 hour day), you use your air warfare destroyers to augment protection needed by your task force.
(a) In Operation STABILISE, RAAF was not flying 24/7 to provide air cover, instead situational awareness was provided to Naval Component Commander (NCC), Commodore Jim Stapleton, RAN, through CTG 627.2 commanded by HMAS Adelaide. NCC eventually deployed to East Timor comprised only 16 RAN officers and other ranks, with various Coalition liaison officers.​
(b) In Sep 1999, USS Mobile Bay entered the AO as the most sophisticated combatant available to INTERFET. Operational control of the cruiser remained firmly in USN hands, but she readily provided extensive support to the maritime task group in a variety of intelligence gathering and surveillance roles. Throughout her time in theatre, USS Mobile Bay remained Air Warfare Commander and her weapons, sensors and battle management systems meant that the force could operate with a high degree of confidence, even without the continuous presence of friendly fighter aircraft. Fast forward to 2021, one of the Hobart-class destroyers would serve as the Air Warfare Commander.​
(c) Even if a navy had an air wing, it’s often not 24 hours a day / 7 days a week coverage. During the Gulf War, the USN deployed 5 super carriers — for round the clock coverage and ACE of the MEBs acted as decoys — so the US Army could do a left hook.​

7. But the biggest threat to your task force is not a fighter or even a long range bomber. It’s an enemy submarine — who can remain the in AO far longer than any enemy fighter aircraft and bombers. In the 1982 Falklands War, ARA San Luis faced the entire British task force on its own, in a five-week patrol where she emerged unscathed. Attacks on the British missed each time because of torpedo system malfunctions.

(a) At the time, the RN operated 3 classes of frigates: (i) the Leander Class, which had been the one-size-fits-all post-WWII frigate specialising in anti-submarine work; (ii) the 1974 Type 21, a general escort; and (iii) the Type 22, a specialised sub hunter that was under construction in the late 70’s.​

(b) Meanwhile, British ASW efforts against that single target proved futile. The British fired an astonishing 200 torpedoes at false contacts over 5 weeks, almost depleting their inventory. In this era, the principal ASW weapons systems were the Type 22’s Lynx helicopter and triple torpedo tubes, with 2087 towed array sonar, as part of the sensors fit.​

You may or may not know most on DT are not for the ADF getting the F35 B and operating it off ether the LHD's or a dedicated carrier.

Too expensive and too niche. Better priority's for human and material investment. Etc Etc!
With limited funds choices have to be made.
F35B and associated ship are out.
8. Welcome to the real world — even if I am a big fan of Italy's Aircraft Carrier Cavour. Unless you understand relative combat power and persistence as concepts, things will just seem to suck. Singapore has ordered F-35Bs for 2026 delivery and the Singapore navy’s planned LHD is a helicopter carrier, as the country does not want all her eggs in one basket at this time (due to current budget realities and pipeline issues). In the interim, for force projection, the SAF will continue to train on seizing an air field or projecting air power from a highway (as a military option).

9. I suspect, in the 2030s (after Paya Lebar Airbase is closed), Singapore will begin looking at the life-cycle costs of a baby carrier in 2040s and beyond (as part of analysis of alternatives) but not in 2021.

10. Exocet strikes against the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War and the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf show how dangerous missiles were to carriers and destroyers, even with 1980s technology—while frigate and destroyer defences have improved:
(a) killing an incoming missile is a far more difficult task than hitting a much slower moving ship; and​
(b) submarines are an imminent threat in the Indo-Pacific AO.​

11. For the PLA(N) the threat is not only American submarines, but potentially Taiwanese, Japanese, and Australian boats—controlling the sea lanes around Taiwan becomes a challenging prospect for the PLA(N)—never mind the task of covering a full blown invasion force.

12. If you look at what can be achieved by a baby carrier, to project power by the RAN, is it worth it? Do you want to warp the entire RAN and the RAAF to crew a single carrier?
 
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SD67

Member
Getting Mod attention for bad behaviour is not a good thing
Here's a tongue in cheek semi-serious fantasy proposal and MODs please don't ban me - back in the early 2010s when the Cameron government here in the UK were slashing defence spending (including over 5000 from the RN) imagine if they'd given a couple of thousand an option to transfer to the RAN for 5 years. Instead of redundancy they could maybe receive a relocation subsidy. Then those 2000 bods help Australia stand up a carrier capability. Maybe we'd sell you Illustrious for a dollar to work up some skills for a few years before she's scrapped.

Then the order for CVF is increased to 3, economies of scale mean the third boat would have cost under 2 billion, one of them is sold to the RAN once its worked up, to be used first in ASW mode then with guest detachments from the USMC, then Australian owned F35Bs in the 2030s. One RN and one RAN CVF are then permanently based out of Singapore starting mid 2020s in a joint AUKUS squadron providing more or less continuous carrier capability.

Maybe as part of the deal the RN adopts CEAFAR.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
@SD67, thread closed because you can’t control yourself. The alternative to allowing some discussion (until this thread gets too ridiculous), was locking the RAN thread. We do not normally allow 'fantasy' threads but we tried it again in this case.

1. Thank you for giving the Moderators an excuse to close this thread. Wish granted, thread closed along with a ban until 15 Oct 2021, for you. You have just wasted this opportunity for a meaningful discussion

2.
For me, the value of contributing to DT is the corrections that I get to make in my posts, when other members point it out. Corrections makes one humble.

(a) In a near peer war, any proposed RAN carrier automatically become a high value target — for US super carriers to survive, even they need to operate in 3s and in shifts. For the USN, if continuous operations is required, in their CONOPS, each carrier only conducts flight operations from 12 hours. Not sure how a proposed Australian baby carrier would really survive.

(b) On 17 January 1991 (at the start of the 43-day air campaign), 668 coalition aircraft attacked Iraq and 90 aircraft were launched from five USN carriers and the US Marine Corps. They contributed to 13% of the sorties launched on the 1st day of war, during Gulf War 1.

3. This is why Anthony_B_78 was asked: What is the basic concept of operations that is required?

4. Good writing takes time for both research and for the ideas to mature.
Air Power 101 for New Members, took me weeks to write and another month to mature. I trust that he will use the time away, to mature his thoughts.
 
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StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thread unlocked for limited discussions. This thread will not be permanently unlocked, it will be closed ~2 weeks, or when thing become silly or behavior drops.

Discussions are to be detailed and address issues of crewing, escorting, funding, timeframes etc, but they are hypothetical. Based of what a medium power can and can't do. Suggestions like CVN's are way out and will result in this thread being locked.
 

Depot Dog

Active Member
WHAT ADF REVIEW WILL CONFIRM
* Hunter class frigates project cost blow out, design and capability limits with delivery not before 2032

* AUKUS nuclear propelled submarines project hamstrung by union and industry demands they be built in Australia, not expected before 2040

* Planned purchase of 160 Abrams tanks now potentially strategically obsolete

* Much vaunted $1.3 billion RAAF long range SkyGuardian drone program scrapped with limited new options

* Collins class submarines and Anzac frigates require urgent increased fire power

* Jindalee Over-the-Horizon overhaul not likely to reach capability before 2030

* Prolonged delays in Navy acquiring Sikorsky MH-60R and Army the UH-60M Black Hawk

More Coverage
US-Australian military ‘kill chain’ to fight ChinaJapan furious after China fires missiles
* The need for a long range bomber like the B-21 stealth, more long range drones, more long range missiles and air defence systems mobile and static

* Critical shortages in ADF ranks

This is an extract from the Herald Sun today. I apologise for not referencing the whole article. I'm using my tablet without keyboard. It can copy text but not links.

Above is a brief summary of the new defence review. There is no talk in this article or any other articles I've read discussing reviving aircraft carriers. My view it's about giving the ADF in the short term teeth. To a have a small carrier battle group foc you'd be looking at the same timeline as the SSBN.

Interestingly this is the second article I've read mentioning the B21. Could this be my fantasy come true?


Regards
DD
 

seaspear

Active Member
I can appreciate there are advantages of exerting a "soft power" from large naval platforms capable of deploying aviation assets ,but as has been pointed out these large platforms are expensive and require resources in funding and manpower that can be detrimental to overall funding .
Some power projection can be achieved though in lesser capacities from aerial assets e.g. various long range R.A.A.F aircraft that are cheaper more flexible and on station quicker ,Im not able to claim there is more deterrent from these assets compared to a naval platform deterrent with it own airwing but aviation assets are not so easily tracked and anticipated ,.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
WHAT ADF REVIEW WILL CONFIRM
* Hunter class frigates project cost blow out, design and capability limits with delivery not before 2032

* AUKUS nuclear propelled submarines project hamstrung by union and industry demands they be built in Australia, not expected before 2040

* Planned purchase of 160 Abrams tanks now potentially strategically obsolete

* Much vaunted $1.3 billion RAAF long range SkyGuardian drone program scrapped with limited new options

* Collins class submarines and Anzac frigates require urgent increased fire power

* Jindalee Over-the-Horizon overhaul not likely to reach capability before 2030

* Prolonged delays in Navy acquiring Sikorsky MH-60R and Army the UH-60M Black Hawk

More Coverage
US-Australian military ‘kill chain’ to fight ChinaJapan furious after China fires missiles
* The need for a long range bomber like the B-21 stealth, more long range drones, more long range missiles and air defence systems mobile and static

* Critical shortages in ADF ranks

This is an extract from the Herald Sun today. I apologise for not referencing the whole article. I'm using my tablet without keyboard. It can copy text but not links.

Above is a brief summary of the new defence review. There is no talk in this article or any other articles I've read discussing reviving aircraft carriers. My view it's about giving the ADF in the short term teeth. To a have a small carrier battle group foc you'd be looking at the same timeline as the SSBN.

Interestingly this is the second article I've read mentioning the B21. Could this be my fantasy come true?


Regards
DD
Just about what I would expect from a Newspaper, full of incorrect or already known information
It is a well known and accepted fact that neither the UK nor the US are in a position to build the SSNs for Australia in their own shipyards without compromising their own requirements, also there are critically important strategic reasons to build them in Australia, will have nothing to do with Unions or Industry demands.

Abrams are now Strategically obsolete? says who?

The Sky Guardians have already been cancelled, their reinstatement may be in the review.

Yes the Collins and Anzacs could do with increased firepower but both platforms are very limited in what can be done.

The UH-60s have not yet been ordered, only an intention to do so and that will definitely be in the review. The only new Helicopters currently ordered are the AH-64 and the MH-60R. The plan would be to have all the Apache's in service before the first Blackhawk arrives. The Army cannot replace 80% of its Helicopter fleet at the same time.

The B-21 is on a lot of peoples fantasy lists but completely ignores several issues like, the sheer cost to Australia of getting a Sqn to FOC which would be in the same region as the 9 Hunters but it would not be spread over 25-30 years like the Frigates, more like about 8-10 years. The fact that the US Congress has not cleared them for export at this stage. May not pass a FMS sale anyway if they where cleared(balance of power in the region being one).

@Redlands18 Please restrict yourself to the topic.

Ngatimozart.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Just to add to Stingray's green post, the two Canberra Class LHD's being used to operate F-35Bs is off limits as well. It's been beaten to death and the reasons why well and truly explained.
 

ddxx

Active Member
I think it's also worth remembering that a squadron of F-35Bs for the RAAF would have many applications beyond flying off the deck of a carrier given the geography of our region. Acquisition, training and deployment in partnership with the USMC and RN/RAF could all occur well before the delivery of a suitable carrier. By which time, RAAF F-35B pilots would have significant experience under their belts.

I'd imagine there are many shipbuilders who would be very interested in putting forward a design proposal. E.g. Fincantieri building from their experience with Cavour and Trieste, Babcock/BAE Systems with their experience with the QE Class, or perhaps even joining the South Korean project? The latter would certainly be in line with both side's desire to develop stronger defence industry collaboration.

Anyway, just some thoughts.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
WHAT ADF REVIEW WILL CONFIRM
* Hunter class frigates project cost blow out, design and capability limits with delivery not before 2032

* AUKUS nuclear propelled submarines project hamstrung by union and industry demands they be built in Australia, not expected before 2040

* Planned purchase of 160 Abrams tanks now potentially strategically obsolete

* Much vaunted $1.3 billion RAAF long range SkyGuardian drone program scrapped with limited new options

* Collins class submarines and Anzac frigates require urgent increased fire power

* Jindalee Over-the-Horizon overhaul not likely to reach capability before 2030

* Prolonged delays in Navy acquiring Sikorsky MH-60R and Army the UH-60M Black Hawk

More Coverage
US-Australian military ‘kill chain’ to fight ChinaJapan furious after China fires missiles
* The need for a long range bomber like the B-21 stealth, more long range drones, more long range missiles and air defence systems mobile and static

* Critical shortages in ADF ranks

This is an extract from the Herald Sun today. I apologise for not referencing the whole article. I'm using my tablet without keyboard. It can copy text but not links.

Above is a brief summary of the new defence review. There is no talk in this article or any other articles I've read discussing reviving aircraft carriers. My view it's about giving the ADF in the short term teeth. To a have a small carrier battle group foc you'd be looking at the same timeline as the SSBN.

Interestingly this is the second article I've read mentioning the B21. Could this be my fantasy come true?


Regards
DD
The ADF review will only last 5 months so to be honest I wouldn't expect much to be achieved in that time. The Defence Minister has already confirmed that the Hunter program is safe so that should end any discussion in regards to the program being scrapped or additional Hobarts being built. I think this program has reached the point of no return. The Defence Minister has already expressed his opinion that the nuclear subs will not be available until sometime in the 2040s but has also said that he is open to anything that might help bridge the capability gap until then.

So it comes down to what options are actually available as far as plugging at least a couple of those capability gaps.

Since this is a fantasy carrier thread I would suggest one option could be to turn the LHDs into ASW helicopter platforms.

Australia will soon operate 36 Romeos so it should be enough to give the LHD a reasonable flight of ASW helicopters. The LHDs could also prove effective as a mothership for an array of unmanned aircraft and vessels as well. They could be ideal platforms for utilising Australia's planned XLAUVs.

May not be ideal but certainly one way to bring additional capability into service relatively cheaply and quickly.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Since this is a fantasy carrier thread I would suggest one option could be to turn the LHDs into ASW helicopter platforms.

Australia will soon operate 36 Romeos so it should be enough to give the LHD a reasonable flight of ASW helicopters. The LHDs could also prove effective as a mothership for an array of unmanned aircraft and vessels as well. They could be ideal platforms for utilising Australia's planned XLAUVs.

Maybe not be ideal but certainly one way to bring additional capability into service relatively cheaply and quickly.
No, no and no. Because that is not their primary role. If it was a secondary role, possibly but the future war is an island war and that means moving ground forces from one island to another and that is what the Canberra Class LHDs were built for. You lose that capability then how do you insert troops where you need them.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
No, no and no. Because that is not their primary role. If it was a secondary role, possibly but the future war is an island war and that means moving ground forces from one island to another and that is what the Canberra Class LHDs were built for. You lose that capability then how do you insert troops where you need them.
Yeah, but what troops?
Army needs to grow as well. I have not seen any mention of the fact that to support HIMARs, SPGs, Land Based ASW, Nassam, I'm sure I've forgotten something, patriot? Army will need other supporting troops. Another logistics Bn, The previous administration had earmarked another amphib bn as well.
The ARes needs to be looked at big time, and totally reorganised IMO. It is extremely important to maintain the ARes in order to grow the regular Army quickly if mobilised.
Let's see what this review finds. I hope it's not just about platforms and equipment.
 

AndyinOz

New Member
Yeah, but what troops?
Army needs to grow as well. I have not seen any mention of the fact that to support HIMARs, SPGs, Land Based ASW, Nassam, I'm sure I've forgotten something, patriot? Army will need other supporting troops. Another logistics Bn, The previous administration had earmarked another amphib bn as well.
The ARes needs to be looked at big time, and totally reorganised IMO. It is extremely important to maintain the ARes in order to grow the regular Army quickly if mobilised.
Let's see what this review finds. I hope it's not just about platforms and equipment.
Indeed, as an interested outsider looking at the new equipment that is slated to be acquired and brought online in the next few years there has to be a commensurate increase or at least reorganization of personnel to operate it., or I would have thought. Pretty well covered the new acquisitions there but even thinking further the new assault breacher vehicles and the bridging on top of them. Getting to grips with these new capabilities and how to integrate, employ and maintain them effectively surely will require more people and even corresponding reserves to make this work.
How exactly are we intending to make use of these new capabilities. Yes new shiny equipment purchases are all sexy and get all the headlines when announcements are made or the first of them arrive or are rolled off a production line but without the people to effectively operate them won't they simply end up expensive toys kept in the toy box?
 
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