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USN The Slow Death Of The Carrier Air Wing - Or a CSAR Threadjack

ChuckMK23

Instructor, Flight.
pilot
Compelling, data inclusive article that is thought provoking to its core:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-slow-death-of-the-carrier-air-wing-1796726088

Not only have the individual numbers of the air wing been dramatically reduced, but the distance the aircraft can fly is nearly half of what it was in the final years of the Cold War. Yet for some reason, these large carriers are still being built and deployed without a full complement of aircraft.
that the days of deep-strike missions have been passed by as the Navy chose instead to focus on “lower maintenance costs and higher aircraft sortie rates” while nations such as “China and its pursuit of anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) strategies and capabilities
The size and power of the carrier air wing reached its pinnacle in the mid-1980’s when America’s Nimitz-class carriers went to sea with nearly 90 aircraft embarked. Nine squadrons made up the air wing then, and it was not unusual to see a carrier deploy with ten squadrons.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
CVWs are the size they are today due to budget constraints. FA loves to airshow-geek-out about hardware but then completely ignores the budgeting and programming side of the house. Focusing on what we "should have" (or even "could have") is easy when you don't have to find out a way to pay for it or build it.
 

hscs

Registered User
pilot
CVWs are the size they are today due to the Handler's Union.
Fixed your first sentence.

Article completely ignores what has happened in the way of PGMs. In the late 80s (think raid on Libya), we had to use 3 CVWs to drop 180 x dumb bombs / cluster bombs. 84 x dumb bombs were programmed for a barracks for USN a/c whereas USAF used 36 x PGMs on a separate barracks target. Not to mention, that if the same raid were to happen today, it would be handled by 2 x DDGs or 1 x SSGN with TLAMs.

BL: 1 x CVW that uses PGMs for a majority of its attacks has more firepower than an CVW in the 80s that had minimal PGMs.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
Handler's Union? Ask the LHD guys how that worked out with the footprint of V-22s and F-35s...

Also, not all Rhino squadrons have "only" 10 jets. There are 12 jet squadrons in the fleet, and 12 jet advanced Rhino squadrons on the MAP. Also, the PAA of Growler squadrons has been increased to 7 aircraft. The strategic planners seem to be doing what th

Will it happen? I hope so. But because Congress can't pass a budget, we've been getting the shaft for years. I'm sure I'm not the only one expecting a food fight in September. But apparently it's more important to talk about those Russians...
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
It was in reference to the "Handler's Union", which I interpreted as the fight to reduce footprint on the deck. A buddy of mine who was on the Bon Homme Richard used to talk about how the footprint is out of control on LHDs with the F-35 replacing the Harrier (admittedly more of a problem in the hangar bay), and the V-22's crazy footprint- e.g. footprint is not trending down across all types of carrier. (Also interesting that the article in the OP didn't address LHA/LHDs at all.)

Apologies for the obscure reference.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
I don't know if this is accurate or real but the idea of an SV-22 strikes me that the navy is trying to find a mission for a platform rather than build the right platform for the mission. Also, if the MQ-25 really works I imagine more and more of the top columns will eventually be unmanned as well.

IMG_0314.JPG
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Boeing's been tinkering with roll-on Plopter packages for years, including a tanker package and an adaptation of the Crows Nest AEW when they tried to sell the Royal Navy on the V-22. I think if there's a mission niche to be filled, the Navy will be more tempted to go that route than modifying the Stingray or the Perennial Hoover Revival. And the Stingray's mission set, as of the last RFPs, has been the twilight-years S-3 mission set anyway - tanking with some ISR.

 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
MQ-25 is allegedly stealthy. Why? To make it harder for the FNG to find the tanker in the stack?

Also, it's going to allegedly use an ARS. Why? having an internal pod wouldn't be more fuel efficient?

I highly suspect we'll see a lot of mission creep with this platform, and that there are political reasons it's being rammed down the Navy's throat.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
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Super Moderator
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MQ-25 is allegedly stealthy. Why? To make it harder for the FNG to find the tanker in the stack?

Also, it's going to allegedly use an ARS. Why? having an internal pod wouldn't be more fuel efficient?

I highly suspect we'll see a lot of mission creep with this platform, and that there are political reasons it's being rammed down the Navy's throat.
LO was taken off the RFP a while ago. And there isn't a specification about internal vs pod for the tanking package.

I'm not sure what political reasons you're referring to. Mostly at this point I think it's a matter of getting a return on the UCLASS investment (they figured it most of the hard parts of fixed-wing carrier UAS), and using it for suitable UAS missions, while taking stress off the Rhino fleet by relieving it of some or all of the overhead tanker mission. Mission creep is a risk, definitely. The current project leadership has avoiding it as one of their primary objectives. Not to say it won't happen with a change in leadership, but hopefully not.
 

hscs

Registered User
pilot
It was in reference to the "Handler's Union", which I interpreted as the fight to reduce footprint on the deck. A buddy of mine who was on the Bon Homme Richard used to talk about how the footprint is out of control on LHDs with the F-35 replacing the Harrier (admittedly more of a problem in the hangar bay), and the V-22's crazy footprint- e.g. footprint is not trending down across all types of carrier. (Also interesting that the article in the OP didn't address LHA/LHDs at all.)

Apologies for the obscure reference.
Thanks, appreciate the info. I don't even want to think about that mess.

I was referring to the constant fight to get more a/c on the flight deck to fly but having the flight deck put the brakes on. In the flight decks's defense, flight deck bumper cars costs a lot more now then it did in the 80s.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
LO was taken off the RFP a while ago. And there isn't a specification about internal vs pod for the tanking package.

I'm not sure what political reasons you're referring to. Mostly at this point I think it's a matter of getting a return on the UCLASS investment (they figured it most of the hard parts of fixed-wing carrier UAS), and using it for suitable UAS missions, while taking stress off the Rhino fleet by relieving it of some or all of the overhead tanker mission. Mission creep is a risk, definitely. The current project leadership has avoiding it as one of their primary objectives. Not to say it won't happen with a change in leadership, but hopefully not.
That's good news. I heard a very different rumor a few months ago from inside the test community.
 

Uncle Fester

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Super Moderator
Contributor
That's good news. I heard a very different rumor a few months ago from inside the test community.
I dunno; I work in UAS test, but we don't own that part of it. I think the program prefers pods over internal as a risk-reduction thing, but as of the last draft RFP, the only performance parameters are that it can operate off the Boat and do tanking.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
I dunno; I work in UAS test, but we don't own that part of it. I think the program prefers pods over internal as a risk-reduction thing, but as of the last draft RFP, the only performance parameters are that it can operate off the Boat and do tanking.
No mission give or range/loiter time requirement? Seems risky in itself, especially since requirements generation is where we tend to F ourselves.

"Here's your 500# of mission give... Boss, we need to recover the MQ-25 in 15 minutes or it'll have to divert..." I kid, but not really. As a project officer I literally had to push back on stuff that was even more fucked up than that.
 
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