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Juan Carlos / Canberra Class LHD

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by BOFORS, Aug 24, 2012.

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  1. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    I think timing is important.

    Now that we have F-35's in our hands, and operational and procurement costs are knowns and getting cheaper, with less and less operational issues cropping up, the F-35B is actually operational, and our LHD's are also proven, the time to seriously ask the question and address what it would require is getting closer. Probably a 3 year window.

    But you really have to formulate capability requirement, before you go shopping for platforms.

    Back when we were talking about the old fortress Australia and continental defence, a carrier was not needed. We had long range strike platforms and clear technological superiority over everyone in the region.

    If we are talking about being a full spectrum key security partner for a dozen major nations, and being the primary security for half a dozen nations, that are directly facing expeditionary heat from a rising power as well as being a moderation force and a buffering power between two polarising super powers. Then you would probably need significant carrier capability, based over multiple ships, supported by extensive land based capability. (among other things).

    If I was Spain I would moving heaven and earth that the AOR's comes under budget and early. I assume Turkeys LHD has all the F-35B modifications installed, and is probably most likely to be the first of class to operate with the F-35. Sometime around 2021. I hope Spain can find some money to resurface their ship before then. Would be great to have proven F-35B operations off the platform, before 2021.

    As for moving M1A2.. we don't need to amphibiously land them that often. Realistically, landing two Boxers would be much more useful (and around the same weight). Boxers would be deployed in nearly every amphibious deployment. So carrying two in a landing craft is a tremendous benefit.

    For intra-theatre lift I think there is still a need for something more autonomous and ocean capable than even the MSVL. Something like the Damen LST-120 might fit in as an order after the OPV's as a multirole ship. Batch of 2-3. Built in WA.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Active Member

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    Just two quick points

    Yes - mostly. Needs come first. I know it can be seen as petty, but the CLC logic flow really works.


    It does not matter how often, it matters if we need to do it. And that is a clear yes. But also note that in many ways, the Abrams is an easier load than Boxer or L121. While heavy, the tank isn't that much heavier than a combat loaded HX77 / HRV / Boxer / IFV. Less than two of these even. It is also lower, meaning that the centre of gravity is lower. The higher CoG of these four especially makes stability more problematic, especially if anything with free surface area like a fuel or water tanker is added.

    Unfortunately, the Abrams is the whipping boy for many of Army's intellectual failures...
     
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  3. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    And I could argue that the raise/train/sustain concept seems to be difficult for you. It also appears that the concept of warfighting being a systems response instead of a platform response, also seems to be difficult.

    First, the warfighting as a systems response argument means that some of the configurations used by the US are not really applicable for other nations, because other nations lack both the range and breadth or depth of capabilities that the US has. The six F-35B or AV-8 STOVL fighters carried aboard USN Wasp-class LHD's or America-class LHA's in one of their respective general configurations are not expected to delaminate enemy air defences or achieve air superiority, as the US has other assets which can be made available to accomplish these, and other related tasks. Most other nations lack such capabilities, and even those that have them, cannot match the US in numbers. A prime example of this would be the number of CVN's in the USN, and coupled with escort vessels, AOR's, and SSN, the USN can deploy up to 11 CBG's, with each CBG having an air combat force comparable to the entire RAAF air combat force. Other examples of US capabilities would be the USAF's strategic bomber fleets of the B-1, B-2, and B-52 intercontinental bombers which have the range to reach basically anywhere in the world that a US amphibious ship would be sent to, or the LACM loadout available aboard a number of USN warships, like Arleigh Burke-class DDG's. Such capabilities permit potential threats to the amphibious assault ship, it's escorts, as well as the embarked MAU, to be mitigated by damaging or destroying them prior to or while the LHD or LHA is en route or on scene. A deployed USN CBG can potentially achieve air dominance prior to the arrival of an ESG with a Wasp-class LHD that has six F-35B's embarked. Also worth noting is that the standard aircraft loadout for such vessels provides both a greater number, and greater individual platform capability for airlift, in addition to the half-dozen embarked fast jets as well as the standard vehicle complement. Any F-35B's embarked upon a RAN Canberra-class LHD would be at the expense of helicopters and/or vehicles which would normally be embarked. If the US feels the need to, it has the option of sacrificing the number of airlifters to boost the space and numbers of fast jets carried (to 20 IIRC) or forgo carrying any fast jets to leave more space for airlift.

    That difference in potential capability is not surprising, give that the USN LHD's and LHA are about 50% greater displacement when compared with a Canberra-class LHD.

    As for the raise/train/sustain side of things... one really has to look carefully at what the ADF has in place raise an F-35B force which can be embarked on and operate from a ship, then train such a unit, and the keep the unit going. As I and others have mentioned in the past, any F-35B's carried are going to reduce or possibly even outright eliminate the ability for an LHD to carry out certain types of operations. Given the level of usage they have seen so far in RAN service, a reduction in amphibious capability would lead to failures in gov't policy. This in turn would mean that either Australia needs to scale back the level of amphibious operations, or a series of vessels whose primary role would be the training, operations and support of embarked fast air and would be new additions to the fleet, with the LHD's remaining in service for their original purposes. If the current LHD's were to start training to support fast jet operations, that would come at the expense of current amphibious training and deployments.
     
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  4. Takao

    Takao Active Member

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    Ahhh @Todjaeger - noting the season, this should probably be rolled into all the service HQ / CASG induction training packages being developed for January next year. All too many forget your second sentence...

    [ ] <- *insert emoji with heart-eyes here*

    But yes. In a Joint Force by design, the systems approach is even more important. What are the needs you are trying to address, and then what are the options. Some of these options may not even be in the parent service!
     
  5. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Nice post. Well thought out and structured.

    [​IMG]

    This is a BZ (well done) for a good quality post and does not imply that I agree or disagree with the contents.
     
  6. Stampede

    Stampede Active Member

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    Thanks for the post.

    Certainly raises many questions as to the feasibility and need of acquiring the the F35B for use on the Canberra class.
    As a subject it certainly polarizes opinion both for and against and I confess to having the opposite opinion to yourself on the matter.
    I certainly hope I'm wrong, as I'm well aware of the large cost and energy needed to acquire such a platform and the training required to make it all happen.
    Do we find extra the extra capital or make hard choices on other capabilities
    For the RAAF it would require a major cultural shift in establishing a ( maritime ) Squadron with the pilots and air crew willing to " Fly Navy "
    Would all this time and investment be worth it.
    Well its the unknown.
    Placing a lot off eggs in the F35B / Canberra Class basket is a gamble.
    But for myself its a gamble that has more appeal than the alternative.
    The alternative has being argued well and the challenge looks intimidating.
    Maybe we need to look more at what the unique F35B brings to the table rather than what it takes away.

    After all it appeals to other nations and none of them occupy our unique geography.The largest ice free Island in the world with massive ocean approaches on three sides and the largest Island archipelago in the world on the other.
    If there was one nation that needed this unique capability, it would be the ADF


    Thanks and regards Stampede
     
  7. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    Again comes back to the need.

    On protecting continental Australia, I think the RAAF has that covered with its existing capability. So if we hold onto that doctrine, never going to happen. Close the book. Forget it.

    On our new interests in South East Asia and the Pacific, giant holes appear, where nothing armed is going to be flying. Holes that you could fly 18 x H-6's through, very easily, particularly from the newly created island bases, do it regularly. While an armed conflict is unlikely, some countries seem to be very effective at using their projection capability to pressure smaller nations. If Australia is telling South East Asia and the US, we have our combined interests covered, then we need to be able to cover our interests. This policy seems to be indevelopment, and expanding so this is part of the changing needs.

    My vision is most of the time some of the F-35B's would be stationed on Christmas island/Momote/Manus/PNG and the rest at Australia airbases. Much like how some nations forward deploy. This then creates bubbles around some of these far flung possessions or bases. These can then be deployed onto the LHD's if and when required to further cover gaps, provide continous presence, supporting local forces without requiring use of their airbases and facilities (which would be problematic for Indonesia/Phillpines) for example, even if they want them there. With Malaysia, I don't think we can count on always being able to use Butterworth either, looking into the future, too uncertain and quite likely to be pressured. I certainly wouldn't burden existing amphibious capability with trying to build this capability alone, hence why I think its essential a 3rd LHD is acquired before you look at any sort of LHD deployment.

    A 3rd LHD is required anyway if we intend to form and retain ARG capability. We tried it with two, and we failed. So there are complete valid existing amphibious needs for a 3rd LHD. With 3 ships of a class, you now have enough hulls to develop these types of capability. As the ships are the same, this makes the capability transferable and flexible. You can rotate through and build up your skill and balance it as required. A 3rd ship would also help with the life and support of the LHD's, remember these guys a clocking up hours like noone else, we are using the hell out of them. They were the centre peice of the Indo-Pacific mission. They were key to having a functioning amphibious operation at the last RIMPAC when the US had its failures. Further highlighting the regional need for this type of big LHD ship.

    RAAF has had pilots intergrating with the USN since 1940's. The Hornets and the Super hornets are exclusively (US) Navy aircraft. While there are some brand loyalty in the services, I can't see the RAAF pilots having moral issues flying off a RAN carrier if they can fly off a USN carrier (which some do). The RAAF would have some concerns about control, about the RAN trying to create its own FAA, but these are easily addressable. The aircraft would be RAAF and the RAAF would be essential to deployments, upgrades, sustainment etc. The air traffic controllers on the LHD's are already RAAF. It would be very much a joint operation, not an attempt by the RAN to absorb the RAAF or its mission.

    Re-creating US level of capability is impossible for a country like Australia. We are off by an amount bigger than an order of magnitude. I don't see dedicated carriers in the ADF's future. It will never be that glamous. Like anything, we will embark what is required onto the LHD's, and remove what it not needed. Train for the capability yes, but be tied to a particular rigid format.

    There are other options/benifits as well. There are 3 users of the JC1 design currently. We could easily share and develop training across all of these platforms. That is harder for amphibious capability because of the sheer number of people and equipment and the differences in each force. But something like F-35B operations where everyone is using the same aircraft, everyone is getting US training and general handling and operations are going to be the same. That then gives currently 3, soon to be 4, and a believable 5 ships to share the development, costs, etc. With such an arrangement, other F-35B users might also want to rotate through such training. US, UK, Japan (and singpore and spain if they purchase). It is also likely that if the ADF acquires the F-35B, we could also rotate pilots and aircraft and support crews onto USMC and UK carriers.

    I could see that being very attractive to the RAAF and its staff. Adding a whole other dimention in terms of training, development and opportunties. It would also further strengthen our alliances and connections. It goes beyond the tremendous capability of the F-35 platform or the flexibility when embarked. There are more options to explore and develop.
     
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  8. Stampede

    Stampede Active Member

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    Agree with the sentiment of three LHD's if you are to acquire the F35B.
    Adelaide and Canberra are in high use just as is without the challenge of introducing another capability.
    My wish would be three of the exact same class with all having the same modifications to permit STOVL operation.

    Spain / Navantia to build our 3rd LHD after the 2nd supply ship is free of the slipway.
    Keep Sirius in service as our third supply ship when HMAS Supply and Stalwart join the fleet.
    Third Cantabria class to be built after the LHD is free of slipway and once complete and when delivered to RAN retire HMAS Sirius.
    Sell HMAS Choules when third LHD enter service.

    So which will be named HMAS Melbourne IV ?
    The new LHD or Supply ship

    Regards S
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  9. hauritz

    hauritz Well-Known Member

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    The name Melbourne wouldn't be used for a supply ship. It would have to be an LHD at least. I am tipping one of the Hunter class will be called Melbourne.
     
  10. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that the would be named for explores...…..we have had some very interesting names in RAN service Ship Histories | Royal Australian Navy



    If a 3rd LHD was offered id like it to be either HMAS Air Mercy, Air Chief or perhaps Air Sprite. I believe HMAS Australia should be held for a fleet carrier

    http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-air-sprite


     
  11. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Lots of Battle Honours in those names:rolleyes: , they were Rescue launches and I’m old enough to remember them in service. It would be like naming a new edition of a Rolls Silver Cloud the Morris Marina Cloud!
     
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  12. hauritz

    hauritz Well-Known Member

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    You are probably right. If Australia sticks with its naming conventions we might not see another Melbourne for a couple of decades ... unless we obtain another major surface vessel such as another LHD or aircraft carrier in the meantime.

    I can't see Australia ever getting a fleet carrier. I think a third LHD with some fixed wing capability might be the best we can hope for.
     
  13. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    Obvious names for a 3rd LHD are Melbourne. Given it would be the ship that allows fixed wing aviation back to the ADF, I think it would be appropriate and suitable.

    HMAS Australia I think should stay reserved for something, impossibly big and special. May only exist in war time. Say if we got a QEII during war time, or an America class.

    A 3rd LHD is doable, its an off the peg acquisition. The question is if it is a priority or not and if money is best spent on other capability.

    If a single LHD falls a little short of what we want, there is nothing to say we couldn't make a LHD+ or enhance and update the design with a very low risk, low cost project. You could enhance the aviation bit if you wanted.

    Take the LHD design and add a ~15 m block or plug. This would add considerable deck space, additional fuel and weapon bunkerage, additional crew space, a space for a large lift from the hangar to the lower deck (giving you almost twice the hangar space the space to perform more maintenance and support). A larger edge lift (2 aircraft/ Chinook size with rotors), larger rear deck lift. Mt30 and an additional diesel, more power, better hull ratio for speed and drag, bucket loads more capability. For tiny cost and risk, the rest of the ship essentially stays as it is. Same crew requirements/operational costs, the ability to embark and support a very significant air wing and significantly improve the rate of operations. All as a proper designed solution from the outset. Improved amphibious capability too. Or just think about a few of these modifications.

    If that was insufficient then you would go looking at the Italian and Japanese designs, which would be possibly an order of magnitude greater in operational costs. Huge crew (>370 for a japanese helicopter destroyer with no airwing, 700+ for Italian carrier with airwing) , 4 turbines with 2 running 100% of the time guzzling fuel, pushing 20,000+ at 30kts all the time, fractional more capability.

    Which is what makes the LHD option so attractive and believable, these are costs that are known and are doable. You wouldn't waste 5+ years getting the whole show operational and effective after delivery.

    In Australia's case, we really need enough capability to hold on till others can come into to play and to deter in the first place, and cover gaps in allied support and offer additional capability. You can probably do that with a LHD in that type of role. Australia's draw card would then be 3 carrier capable ships. Sure smaller and less capable, but 3 individual ships. That would be huge. No one other than the US has that kind of real capability. As backstop, additional cover, another vector, etc we could deploy 1 LHD endlessly. Day night operations splits, wider area coverage and support, US carrier surges etc. No one expects us to take a super power down by ourselves, or pound the daylights out of a middle power nation.

    Its about meaningful capability and valid and significant contribution to regional capability. Sea control in the next 50 years is openly contested. Australia can't contribute to that outside of our EEZ, and mostly from the main continent itself. That is very limiting, particularly as some of the most valuable resources are not on the continent.
     
  14. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    Although I think we need the 3rd LHD to make the transition for a full ARG capabilty, the only question that concerns me is the need for speed, I mean all the STOVL carrier have a speed of around 30kts with the exception of the USN gator fleet, how important is a high “flank speed” to an ASW carrier?
     
  15. SpazSinbad

    SpazSinbad Active Member

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    CVFs have been reported to have 25 knot top speed - sometimes 25+ whatever that means - other STOVL carriers I would have to look them up but I won't. The point I want to make is that WOD wind over the deck is very beneficial to the Harrier on a ski jump. Perhaps one may assume this is the case for the F-35B however it has slightly different characteristics and I've not read how that affects performance except in vague general terms. It would seem 25 knots is adequate especially for a longer 800 foot plus deck with ski jump included ala CVF. This length ski jump angled up etc will get a fully loaded (description in quotes below) UK F-35B off with one would guess a mild WOD and temps etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  16. old faithful

    old faithful Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    As for an aircraft carrier....the way things are going, it would be a conventional version of the French Nuke, modified for F35,s with a heap of other small mods that would cost a packet.....oh, and it would be built in Perth or Adelaide and the shipyards would have have to be upgraded, costing, I dunno, $30 odd billion?
     
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  17. Stampede

    Stampede Active Member

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    Agree with the benefits of the 3rd LHD

    I in general look at most of the capability of the ADF in terms of sustainment.
    Sure we can and should surge when we need to,but this will be a requirement only for desperate times.
    Army have recognised the importance of sustainment by implementing Plan Beerseba /Keogh.. It gives Brigade level capacity incorporating a broad range of abilities for on going deployment.
    This is a good option for government.
    It is planned for, and is a know commodity. If a contingency emerges we know what options we have immediately and also our limitations.
    What interests me is what navy will do with it's force structure in the years ahead.
    We will soon have a fleet increasingly made up of like type of ships.
    Soon the major the fleet units will just be the Hobart and Anzac class
    Supported by
    Two like supply ships
    Two like LHDs
    A common class of OPV.'s
    This is a healthy position to be in!

    So will we see a Naval version of Plan Beersheba?
    A fleet based on threes not thrown together at the last minute, but rather pooled together to provide a sustainable option to government complete with a broad range of capabilities..
    A look at the above shows there are some gaps.
    To be fair HMAS Choules currently fulfils the role of the third amphibious ship.
    The supply group falls short by one ship.
    So will Navy follow Army's path.

    To do so they will need a fleet of three's

    As this is the Juan Carlos / Canberra Class thread I should emphasis the importance of this ship to government.
    I see more importance in the ability to deploy one only on continuous operation rather than many on a larger commitment.
    Sure we will train for all levels of contingency, but as Army have found over the years sustainment and a broad church of capabilities seems to be the way forward.

    A sustainment cycle of One Hobart / Canberra and Supply class vessel, with the addition of two Anzac s could be the way forward.

    To do so we would just need to fill the gaps

    So yes I would go with the name Melbourne for the Third LHD.
    But then again my personal bias is part geography.


    Regards S.
     
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  18. Takao

    Takao Active Member

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    Be careful what you wish for! BEERSHEBA is not a deployable force. I apologise if I am teaching you to suck eggs, but the Brigades as they are now are not deployable, they are only raise-train-sustain. When BEERSHEBA rolled out, the AHQ details was so poor that instead of explaining the purpose (highly valuable, guarantees every soldier / officer in the Brigades is familiar with all equipment) they just ordered the BEERSHEBA Brigade to be used for everything. AHQ and FORCOMD has been fighting a PR campaign for the past 2 - 3 years to make people understand that 1 / 3 / 7 Bde right now cannot deploy and fight.

    For a deployable force, it will be task orientated. Assuming 3 Bde is the Ready Brigade, if the threat demands a Regt of tanks (for instance), then 1 Armd Regt and 2/14 LHR will give up their tank Sqn to 2 Cav. Likewise, if we need additional signals capability, 1 or 7 CSR may cut elements, Squadrons or the entire regiment to 3 Bde.

    To that extent, I think the RAN already has this. Our FFGs, AORs, PB, DDGs, LHDs and SSs have all worked together at points and there is sufficient resources to enable sailors to be familiar with working with these assets. The throwing together you mention is business as normal - the ADF is in the business of providing options to government, and that needs the ability to throw something together. Combined arms is a way of life, for white, green and blue suiters.
     
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  19. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the Japanese DDH’s both open source speed of 30+ kts and currently operate no fast jet fixed wing aircraft and operate as an ASW platform, I imagine there is a legitimate reason for this and I don’t imagine it’s just for fixed wing operations. I imagine it’s for tactical advantage I just would not like to see the RAN use them in a way that limits the operation concept for ASW operations
     
  20. hauritz

    hauritz Well-Known Member

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    The QE apparently got to 27.1 knots during speed trials.
    HMS Queen Elizabeth exceeds stated maximum speed on trials
    Empty weight probably so you can make of that what you want.

    The British always seem to understate things like speed and range.

    For example the Type 26 is given a top speed of 26+ knots even though the Australian version has a top speed of over 27 knots.
     
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