Thursday, August 9, 2018

C-130 Hercules Carrier Landing

Here’s an interesting bit of carrier and aviation history.  The A-3 Skywarrior is the largest naval aircraft to operate routinely off a carrier deck but larger aircraft have landed and taken off.  One such example was the C-130 Hercules which landed without an arresting hook and took off without a catapult – and did so with room to spare!

The experimental landings and takeoffs were part of an investigation into the use of supersized aircraft for logistics support.  The choice of the C-130 was fairly obvious given its excellent flight characteristics, stability, range, and cargo capacity.  The event took place on 30-Oct-1963 on the USS Forrestal (CVA-59) in the North Atlantic a few hundred miles off Boston.

As described in a Aviationist website article, the C-130 was only slightly altered.

Lockheed’s only modifications to the original plane was a smaller nose-landing gear orifice, an improved anti-skid braking system, and removal of the underwing refueling pods. (1)

The test was not just a one-time, lucky event.

The initial sea trials started on Oct. 30 1963 and were conducted into a 40-knot wind: however the crew successfully performed 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested full-stop landings, and 21 unassisted takeoffs at gross weights of 85,000 pounds up to 121,000 pounds. (1)

So, how did the aircraft perform?

At 85,000 pounds, the KC-130F came to a complete stop within 267 feet …

The Navy discovered that even with a maximum payload, the plane used only 745 feet of flight deck for takeoff and 460 feet for landing.

These achievements were confirmed by Lockheed’s Ted Limmer, … “The last landing I participated in, we touched down about 150 feet from the end, stopped in 270 feet more and launched from that position, using what was left of the deck. We still had a couple hundred feet left when we lifted off.” (1)


C-130 Operating From USS Forrestal


What was the ultimate conclusion?

The analysis of data collected by the U.S. Navy during the tests highlighted that the C-130 Hercules could carry 25,000 pounds of freight, fly for 2,500 miles and eventually land on a carrier. However, the procedure was considered a bit too risky for the C-130 and the Navy decided to use a smaller COD aircraft. (1)

We tend to forget just how much was accomplished and how much is possible today.  Reminders, such as this, help us recall what we were once capable of.

Hmm ………..  V-22 Osprey COD or C-130 Hercules COD?  I know which I’d want!


Note:  If you're interested, there are videos of the event readily available on YouTube.


____________________________________

(1)The Aviationist website, “Look Ma, No Hook: how a C-130 Hercules managed to land on an aircraft carrier”, Dario Leone, 16-Jul-2014,



53 comments:

  1. Stranger things have landed on carriers :

    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/yes-the-cia-flew-u-2-spy-planes-from-aircraft-carriers-ce2b020bfab6


    BTW witch brings me to a more serious question , why the hell did they not select the CH-53K for COD instead of the V-22 ??
    That Helo has a max. payload capacity close to a tactical airlifter and has in flight refueling besides it would drive the price down.

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    1. Range. The Carrier operates thousands of miles out and the COD needs to be able to reach it. Even the V-22 is marginal.

      Delete
    2. Ok, another idea, why didn't they propose a serious maritime version of the C-27J for COD

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    3. The idea has been floated but never pursued by the Navy. No idea why not.

      Delete
    4. while the range and cargo load of the C-130 is great to have, there is one issue: the wingspan. Note the videos of the C-130 trials: that's a lot of space taken up by the wingspan; you'd need to clear the deck and park everything in the hangar before you could do resupply ops. The C-2 and MV-22, at least, don't disrupt normal operations as much.

      That said I've always had a certain "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality towards the COD mission. The C-2 was good enough. About the special thing from using an MV-22 for COD is that you can now do COD flights to amphibs, I suppose.

      Delete
    5. Add a dedicated BLC turbine like that on the ShinMaywa US-2 to blow the flaps, outboard wing leading edges, and tail of the C-27 and you'd really be cooking with gas!

      It's a pretty interesting time for STOL aircraft in general due to the power density of modern axial flux electric motors. There are all kinds of different configurations being proposed. A relatively straight forward one could be to uprate the alternators on the C-27 and, during takeoff and landing, use the extra electrical power to drive small electric motors and props distributed along the wing leading edge outboard of the turbine propulsor, kinda like NASA's X-57 but using a hybrid approach.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_X-57_Maxwell

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkBhPWFM1uk

      -Maxis

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    6. "MV-22 for COD is that you can now do COD flights to amphibs, I suppose."

      Two things:

      1. It remains to be seen whether the V-22 can actually land on other ships routinely, in terms of heat effects on the deck.

      2. The V-22 is NOT a helo. It can briefly and with barely adequate safety margins enter helo/hover mode while landing and taking off. In this mode it is tricky to fly, prone to accidents, consumes enormous amounts of fuel, and requires large, clear areas. It is NOT the aircraft you'd choose for vertical operations and is the reason it is not filling the MCM, ASW, and SAR roles. It is a barely adequate choice (almost certainly not the best choice) for carrier COD and a poor choice for supplying other ships. It appears that the Marines/manuf have crammed this down the throat of an unresisting Navy leadership.

      Delete
    7. "during takeoff and landing, use the extra electrical power to drive small electric motors and props"

      Are you, possibly, solving a problem that doesn't/wouldn't exist? Based on the C-130 test, a C-27 could likely take off and land without any extra aids.

      Delete
    8. Are you, possibly, solving a problem that doesn't/wouldn't exist?

      Test pilots landed a C-130 on a carrier with a 40 kts of wind on the nose. There’s no mention of what speed he touched down at. The less wind on the nose and the lower the touchdown speed, the less control authority the flight surfaces have. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s practical. Or safe. The features I’m talking about would greatly increase lift and control authority at very, very low airspeeds while providing high efficiency at cruise conditions. They could improve the safety margins enough to make it practical and routine to land aircraft that are too heavy for the arresting gear. They could also for the same performance as the c-130 with a shorter wingspan and thus making such landings more practical.

      - Maxis

      Delete
    9. "Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s practical. Or safe."

      Fair enough!

      Delete
    10. "They could also for the same performance as the c-130 with a shorter wingspan"
      You could get the same performance with a shorter wingspan if the C-130 was fitted with a C-Wing rather than a straight wing. If the outer third of the wing is bent up and back toward mid-line you have a C-wing. You can have the same lift with less vortex drag (really big winglets). The wingspan would be 83 feet if the outer third of the wing was formed into a C-Wing, just slightly greater than the wingspan of the E-2 Hawkeye.

      Delete
    11. @ComNavOps: I think we're getting a few things mixed up? When I'm talking about COD flights to amphibs, I'm talking about using a V-22 to send cargo/personnel to an LHD/LHA, not to other ships. You couldn't do that before with the C-2, but a Wasp/Tarawa/America has enough deck space to land and launch V-22s. If the amphib can run F-35s, it will take V-22 exhaust - I'm given to understand the F-35's exhaust is significantly hotter than the V-22. And V-22s seem to be pretty regularly deployed from amphibs.

      The VERTREP platform to other ships isn't the V-22, since 2002 it's been the MH-60S Knighthawk. This is the first i'm hearing of the V-22 being used for VERTREP operations.

      Delete
    12. "I'm talking about using a V-22 to send cargo/personnel to an LHD/LHA, not to other ships."

      Fair enough. That will work.

      "This is the first i'm hearing of the V-22 being used for VERTREP operations."

      Well, this is why you come to this blog - to learn new things! The Navy has been looking at supplying all ships for some time now. For example, from a 2015 Breaking Defense article,

      "Instead of only landing on the carrier, as with the current COD, V-22 could make runs directly to any ship with a large enough helicopter landing pad."

      Whether the Navy will actually attempt that remains to be seen.

      Delete
    13. Well, off the top of my head, the only ships with large enough helo pads to accommodate V-22s are amphibs and LPDs, and the mobile seabase ships? So that would still work, I think. That quote basically fits with what I was saying: a V-22 can do COD runs to a CVN, or LHA, LHD or LPD. It's definitely not doing a COD run to a DDG, I seriously doubt it's fitting on the fantail helo deck lol!

      Delete
    14. "the only ships with large enough helo pads to accommodate V-22s are amphibs and LPDs, and the mobile seabase ships?"

      And all the LCS. The Burke class has a flight deck around 63 ft long and operates the xH-60 helos which are actually around 7 feet longer than a V-22 so, theoretically, the Burkes could receive V-22s.

      Delete
  2. Presumably a 'J' version would perform even better. I also didn't see any mention of JATO (Jet assisted take off) which some Hercs have used and would improve take off performance further. Folding wings could be possible but I suspect the tail is too high to fit in the hangar.

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  3. With that much payload.... what about a KC-130? Even if it had less payload than the regular KC-130 a naval variant could be your mission tanker.

    I like this a lot.

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  4. Even if they just train with it and keep the basic capability.... it gives you real options if you Osprey COD is down, or the group is out of range, to send a C-130 from time to time.

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    1. "to send a C-130 from time to time"

      That's a possibility!

      Delete
  5. You'll notice in the video that there were no other aircraft on the deck during the C-130's takeoff and landing. In practice, a carrier would have to suspend operations and clear the flight deck which is not practical in any circumstance.

    In the early 1980's the Navy looked at a modified Fokker F-28 for the COD role, but no flight tests were conducted.

    I've long though the Navy should develop a variant of the E-2 for COD, ASW, and a light gunship is a possibility too.

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    1. "In practice, a carrier would have to suspend operations and clear the flight deck"

      No. They were being exceedingly cautious, and rightfully so, in the test. If they actually wanted to do it, yes, they'd have to move aircraft but not clear the deck. All the normal parking starboard of the landing area would still be usable as would some of the forward island spots. Further, with today's reduced air wings the number of aircraft needing to be moved wouldn't be nearly as many!

      This kind of resupply would be a moderately major event with the carrier pulled back from ops so it would be no big deal to temporarily suspend normal flight ops. The concept is quite doable.

      The C-2 Greyhound is a derivative of the E-2. I don't know whether the E-2 was examined as a possible ASW or gunship. It's interesting that the Navy has never exhibited much interest in a gunship although, admittedly, the gunship requires a pretty permissive environment. I know a gunship variant of the S-3 Viking was proposed but never got beyond the paper study stage.

      Delete
    2. The C-130 landed and took off running the length of the carrier, you could see the line drawn on the carrier deck, which would prevent a carrier from simultaneously launching and recovering other aircraft. That's what I meant by suspending operations. Sure some aircraft could be stored on the starboard side, including using the starboard elevators, but that seems like a lot of work for the effort.

      But, why pull a carrier back from operations for resupply from a C-130? Other than carrying an overly out-sized payload, what advantage does the C-130 have compared to the C-2? The only advantage I see is that fewer resupply flights would be needed. While the concept is doable, having to pull a carrier out of combat and shuffle the aircraft around makes the concept impractical in my opinion.

      The Navy needs a long-range ASW platform, whether they bring back the S-3 or use a derivative of the E-2 doesn't matter much to me. I offered the E-2 as an option since it is in production and operation and figured a derivative would be easier than restarting the S-3 production line.

      Delete
    3. @Anon: From what I've heard from a navy acquaintance of mine, who was a carrier sailor, whenever their carrier (Big E) needed long range ASW support, they received round the clock coverage from P-3s. P-3s were better able to provide long range ASW to support the carrier vs the S-3, on account of being a larger aircraft with more loiter time, range, and operating independently of the carrier's launch and recovery cycles.

      Delete
    4. Yeah sure Goose, when P-3s were able to reach the Battle Group to participate. Tough to make a 250kt 1800 nm, transit one way from DGAR to where we used to operate in the 70's and 80's in an Orion. The S-3A/Bs were perfect for inner, middle and outer zone ASW. BGs and CVNs from my day could care less about some P-3 trying to gain CZ contact.. BGC's wanted a quick track-attack and re-attack on an enemy ss/n! That's what the S-3 gave carrier aviation... Nice to have MPA assets available for persistence but like all shore-based assets they are NOT to be depended on when the chips were down. P-3's may be Navy but they aren't organic to the BG.... Its that simple.

      My world was different than what they teach you today Goose about the past... Our blue water Navy capabilities worked against the USSR, a peer adversary by any ones estimate lol, and it could work again if you newbies would look to the past for some (not all) of the answers today...

      BTW I did two, full, CVN-65 deployments with Beer Days and the "burble" back in the day and I used to actually get paid to do that type "work".

      b2

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    5. "round the clock coverage from P-3s"

      A few points,here:

      1. The survivability of a P-8 just getting to a carrier group in a peer level war is a pretty iffy proposition. Those are big, slow, non-stealthy, defenseless platforms. As a very general statement, big, slow, non-stealthy, defenseless platforms are going to have very short life spans in a peer war.

      2. Round the clock coverage by P-8s is dependent on weather, enemy presence, overall task loading, and other factors. In other words, it's like comparing close air support to a battleship. CAS is sporadically available, eventually, and they'll do their best to get to the problem but with a battleship you're 2.5 minutes (the old standard) from rounds impacting, 24/7, regardless of weather.

      3. We built around 750 P-3s (not all for the US). We're building around 100 P-8s, as far as I know. P-8 availability will simply not be as great as back in the old days. 24/7 coverage is simply not going to happen.

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    6. *shrug* I'm just relating what my guy told me - they had no problems getting P-3 support out of the Azores, Bahrain, etc, and that was during the GWOT when the P-3 fleet was about 100~ ish aircraft.

      The carrier and the desron already have Seahawks for close in ASW, and maybe there is a need for organic midrange ASW, but if that's the case then the carrier based ASW program will need better, more consistent support - support which the P-3 received, and the S-3, by accounts, did not. I don't have particularly strong feelings on this one way or another. *shrug*

      Delete
    7. The P-3 numbers dropped to around 100 just prior to the P-8 introduction and only around 110 or so P-8s are planned. We once were serious about ASW and had many more P-3s. From Wiki,

      "At its height, the U.S. Navy's P-3 community consisted of twenty-four active duty "Fleet" patrol squadrons home based at air stations in the states of Florida and Hawaii as well as bases which formerly had P-3 operations in Maryland, Maine, and California. There were also thirteen Naval Reserve patrol squadrons identical to their active duty "Fleet" counterparts, said Reserve "Fleet" squadrons being based in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts (later relocated to Maine), Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, California and Washington. Two Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS), also called "RAG" squadrons (from the historic "Replacement Air Group" nomenclature) were located in California and Florida."

      Today, we're down to around a dozen active duty squadrons and those squadrons have been reduced to around half a dozen aircraft each.

      24/7 coverage is not going to happen today!

      Delete
  6. Yeah, and we also had U-2's land aboard in the same timeframe, too. All one of a kind, can-do "stunts".

    I have viewed the 1970s documents and requirements for Carrier On-Board Delivery aircraft. Some touched on it above but here are the basics.

    Shortsighted as usual, even then post Vietnam, they went with the C-2 vice the Fokker/C-130/or dedicated US-3 proposals.

    However, facing the blue water challenges of the Iran N.A.S. station after 1977, the USSR, etc, the US Navy modified some (6-7) S-3As (180 built) into US-3As that then served as CODs until the 1990's (those aircraft accumulating about 18K flight hours ;-)).. Basically,they were a better performing S-3 cheaply stripped of mission weight/drag with a PAX carrying capability along with a CNU-264 cargo POD with up to 2800nm range (all true)..... less than a mil a copy modification.

    You know CNOPs, they did it so they could have support long range, blue-water type operations we did back then (and can't now...).

    Since then (40+ years...) the best future for a COD (Pax/Cargo) aircraft or even CV overhead tanking was this proposal 2013/14:

    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-navy-should-bring-the-40-year-old-s-3-viking-back-f-1561134099

    Of course, that idea, along with a "new" Grumman C-2 was jettisoned for buying some more V-22's and putting an HF on them and calling them Navy CODs.. This is how we do business today....Awarded sole source and without any competition, eh?

    My point is proven again- we cant seem to buy anything we really need.

    b2

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  7. Since aircraft carriers always operate in a group, maybe there should be dedicated tanker/aerial refueling ship(s) as part of the group. The dedicated ship could have a simple flat top that would support a fleet of KC-130's to provide aerial refueling to the carrier's airplanes. No need for catapults or arresting gear. UAV's could use it, as well. UAV/KC-130 carrier.

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    1. Interesting. Expensive for the capability but worth consideration. What size do you envision this ship being?

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    2. Hell you could have it as a logistics ship. Carries more supplies and fuel for all the vessels in the group. Can transfer fuel as well as carry out launches of supplies and such.

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    3. If you add the AEW and ASW tasks (possibly also based on the same airframe) it makes more sense and would give an increase in capability as there would be longer time on station. I don't believe most of the helicopters can refuel from Hornets so that would be another capability uplift, especially when amphibs are in company.

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    4. Converting an existing ship would be my first choice. I was thinking to repurpose one of the Tarawa class (LHA) ships since there are two in reserve. So a ship of 834 feet. The large well deck could be converted to storage of fuel and supplies. I would remove the bridge from the flight deck and put the command and control within the hull like the Wasp class and if needed have a secondary bridge on either or both sides of the flight deck, near the bow where the deck is recessed, for look outs/piloting. The helicopter elevators could be used for moving UAV/UCAV's below deck. The aft could have two cranes attached (stored below deck level) which could be used to move supplies from the well deck to other ships or capture returning UAVs. Once the last two Tarawa class ships are place on the block for scrap or sinking, run an experiment with ships that we already have. If there is value to the Navy that can be demonstrated by the experiment, then stop doing mid-life refurbishments on the Wasp class and convert them to UAV/tanker carriers/logistics ships. Increase the build rate of the Wasp class to replace the converted ships.
      The C-130 is a very versatile aircraft (aerial tanker, gunship, bomber, transport) and being able to land it at sea allows you to use those capabilities, most of which have likely yet to be envisioned in the naval context. The KC-130 exists and is not a design study for the ultimate naval tanking aircraft that may or may not be built. The MQ-25 program aircraft could refuel in air from the KC-130 if designed for that capability and would not have to land on the carrier as often to refuel, freeing up slots in the air traffic/landing pattern, thus increasing the ability to put more ordnance in play with strike aircraft.

      Delete
  8. Re- "The dedicated ship could have a simple flat top that would support a fleet of KC-130's"

    The devil is in the details and the untold billions. No such thing as simple..I don't want to pi$$ on any ones parade but that is "Popular Mechanics" level of brainstorming(IE-glossy- power point-3d printer type).

    US Navy carrier aviation is already supported by "Big Wing tankers" every hour of every day, 24/7- they come from the USAF. Its how we've been getting by since 9-11. And before to a lesser extent.

    No. It's a better idea to design capable performance, purpose built, naval aircraft in order to have a robust "organic" tanking capability. Look to the past for examples and do not accept proposals that do not perform.... Do no think we need to create another underperforming surface ship and ideal SSN target..

    Gee, wide ranging posts- C-130 stunts from the 60's to CODs to US Naval Aviation tanking!

    Here's that U-2 link:

    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/yes-the-cia-flew-u-2-spy-planes-from-aircraft-carriers-ce2b020bfab6

    b2

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    1. "US Navy carrier aviation is already supported by "Big Wing tankers" every hour of every day, 24/7 - they come from the USAF."

      Someone should tell the USAF.

      https://news.usni.org/2015/08/12/navy-getting-smarter-about-tanking-mission-as-super-hornets-approach-6000-hours

      https://news.usni.org/2016/02/12/cno-navy-should-quickly-field-cbars-to-ease-tanking-burden-on-super-hornets

      Delete
    2. "US Navy carrier aviation is already supported by "Big Wing tankers" every hour of every day, 24/7- they come from the USAF."

      To qualify that, tanking is available from the AF for special missions. It is not routinely available for mundane tasks.

      Even when available, the biggest drawback to AF tanking is the sheer, immense cost in dollars and time required to set up a mission. Given the limited and dispersed nature a AF basing from whence the tankers operate, tanking missions usually involve major diplomatic efforts to get overflight permissions if the mission involves actual combat strikes and, all too often, one or more countries decline to provide such permissions (France and Turkey are common examples). Thus, the time, effort, and cost to obtain tanking makes it almost prohibitive.

      Further, the effort required guarantees that the associated mission will not be a secret!

      The Navy needs organic mission tanking.

      Delete
    3. M.W.-

      Carriers providing sorties to any Joint Combatant Command ATO (how war is actually fought) will use USAF mission tankers, almost exclusively, be it in 5th fleet, 7th fleet AORs, or worldwide. Yep- That's how its done today.... Read my comments on both those posts...yep, the same guy.

      CNOPs? RU telling (lecturing) me about organic (overhead) carrier tanking? ;-) Yeah its sure a "mundane" flight on a dark night, no horizon, pitching deck. Nothing routine about it...
      Especially from a 5 wet SuperHornet heavy enough to drop outta the sky any minute... LOL

      Delete
    4. "Carriers providing sorties to any Joint Combatant Command ATO (how war is actually fought) will use USAF mission tankers, almost exclusively, be it in 5th fleet, 7th fleet AORs, or worldwide. Yep- That's how its done today"

      You just summed up the problem we face. We've been fighting nothing but utter domination conflicts with total aerial supremacy. That will not be the case in a peer war (you understand that I'm talking about China, right?). We'll be lucky to achieve aerial parity. We'll be fighting an enemy air force with air-to-air missiles with two hundred+ mile range designed specifically to take down AWACS, tankers, and other high value targets.

      Our current combat model of nice neat ATOs delivered each day to the various participants who have the luxury of taking them home to study the night before will be a thing of the past. There won't be a viable ATO. We'll be fighting for our lives, our bases, our fuel, our munitions storage, etc. We won't have any idea from moment to moment what resources we have available. That nice neat ATO that tasks a carrier to send xx aircraft to support some mission will be rendered irrelevant when the enemy opts to attack the carrier and tie up or shoot down the ATO-tasked aircraft.

      You're correct about how we fight currently but you're completely wrong about how we'll fight in a true peer war. This, of course, begs the question, why are we "practicing" a combat model that isn't viable in a peer war? Even in a no-threat, low end conflict shouldn't we be fighting the way we'll fight in a high end, peer war? Train the way you fight, fight the way you train?

      Delete
    5. I understand all that and more CNOPs. I am not wrong- I have seen Big Navy/Big Military operate and know what it takes to fight a conventional/tactical nuclear war against a peer adversary. I was part of it when we "won the Cold War" and waged a conventional war against occupied Kuwait we also won. The OOB against Iraq was formidable... At least that's what Time Magazine/CNN told us... Of course we had more and better stuff (performance-wise) back then and a chip on our shoulders from 'Nam...

      I've personally experienced the ongoing "smallness" and toothlessness develop over the years and even seen it exacerbate itself during the ongoing and necessary GWOT since 9-11.

      Just because I used the acronym ATO to discuss aerial mission tanking done by the USAF for a joint commander to prove my point, you assume too little about my actual knowledge of conventional peer war and how to fight it. especially at sea.. Yes, I have seen (ATO-less to boot sometimes...)in conventional war as an operator, commander, watchstander and staff officer.

      What we need in our arsenal(stuff), what we should organized to, and how we should strategize for, to prepare for future peer adversary conflicts is all "hiding in plain sight" from from that era. Be it strategy, plans, tactics or numbers/organization. Why reinvent the friggin wheel and create all this angst for yourself. It kills me that a genius like Mattis cant just sit down and tell people we must go back to basics, build up properly and re-implement lessons learned from the past, particularly how things stood for our military 1988-1991... In 3 years after years of preparation, we finished off the Cold War and handily took down Iraq's invasion by their 5th rated defense in the world... Scale that down and you can find a template in there for US defense today and in the future. Of course it should take into account the present/postulated threat and the nature of the enemy along with advancements in technology, but it should be purged of all that MBA and corporate blather....And there are no super weapons that will win without firing a shot like the movies- get over that fantasy...

      People will reply that's "easy to say B2, but..". It is easy to say, for me anyways, especially if you've seen it work in the past.. However, this present generation is going to have to figure it out themselves or lose our nations security. The "Easy Button" (not really)template based on the past winning combinations or more of this hysterical angst that leads no where...

      b2

      Delete
    6. I understand all that and more CNOPs. I am not wrong- I have seen Big Navy/Big Military operate and know what it takes to fight a conventional/tactical nuclear war against a peer adversary. I was part of it when we "won the Cold War" and waged a conventional war against occupied Kuwait we also won. The OOB against Iraq was formidable... At least that's what Time Magazine/CNN told us... Of course we had more and better stuff (performance-wise) back then and a chip on our shoulders from 'Nam...

      I've personally experienced the ongoing "smallness" and toothlessness develop over the years and even seen it exacerbate itself during the ongoing and necessary GWOT since 9-11.

      Just because I used the acronym ATO to discuss aerial mission tanking done by the USAF for a joint commander to prove my point, you assume too little about my actual knowledge of conventional peer war and how to fight it. especially at sea.. Yes, I have seen (ATO-less to boot sometimes...)in conventional war as an operator, commander, watchstander and staff officer.

      What we need in our arsenal(stuff), what we should organized to, and how we should strategize for, to prepare for future peer adversary conflicts is all "hiding in plain sight" from from that era. Be it strategy, plans, tactics or numbers/organization. Why reinvent the friggin wheel and create all this angst for yourself. It kills me that a genius like Mattis cant just sit down and tell people we must go back to basics, build up properly and re-implement lessons learned from the past, particularly how things stood for our military 1988-1991... In 3 years after years of preparation, we finished off the Cold War and handily took down Iraq's invasion by their 5th rated defense in the world... Scale that down and you can find a template in there for US defense today and in the future. Of course it should take into account the present/postulated threat and the nature of the enemy along with advancements in technology, but it should be purged of all that MBA and corporate blather....And there are no super weapons that will win without firing a shot like the movies- get over that fantasy...

      People will reply that's "easy to say B2, but..". It is easy to say, for me anyways, especially if you've seen it work in the past.. However, this present generation is going to have to figure it out themselves or lose our nations security. The "Easy Button" (not really)template based on the past winning combinations or more of this hysterical angst that leads no where...

      b2

      Delete
  9. If C-130's were able to take off and land from the Forestall without using cats and traps, they should be able to do it from the larger Ford without any problems? If they can't work out the launch and recovery issues on the Ford, it could become a logistics support aircraft carrier. We've discussed how during wartime, carriers will operate in groups. Would it be beneficial to add in a Ford class with heavy cargo aircraft?
    Army airborne units are routinely inserted by C-130. Could we use the Ford as a platform to give range and mobility to an airborne unit. (bet I just made some Marines squirm on that one)

    Any feedback on those ideas?

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    1. I'm not quite sure I understand what you're proposing? Are you suggesting a $15B logistics ship?!

      We're kind of all missing a key point. Just like reload is not needed in war, COD is not much of a requirement either. Carriers/ships will return to base so often that COD resupply (which can't really resupply any significant amount of anything) won't be needed. COD is a peacetime deployment artifact that's great for personnel movements and specialty item transport.

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    2. That $15B has already been spent, unfortunately, we're not going to get a refund. If the catapults and arresting gear can be made to work, then fine, we have an aircraft carrier but one we paid too much for. If we can't get the issues worked out, do we just write it off as a $15B loss? Even if billions were wasted, I'd still like to find some value rather than a total loss. Maybe there's not much value in a "logistic support carrier" but it doesn't cost much to evaluate the idea. Any thoughts on using it to mobilize Army Airborne units because they use C-130's. What other aircraft would be able to take off from the Ford's large flight deck without catapults? How about the A-10? That would add a lot of ground attack capability. I'm not saying these are the best answers, but the post was very thought provoking.

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    3. COD may not be the mission for the C-130. Maybe, aerial refueling is the sweet spot.

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    4. "If we can't get the issues worked out, do we just write it off as a $15B loss? ... C-130 ... A-10"

      There is no question that the EMALS and AAG will work, it's just a question of when. So, the Ford won't be a writeoff. However, your comment raises interesting thoughts about a ship aircraft landing base (I'm refraining from using the phrase 'carrier' because that connotes a specific ship type). Such a water-mobile landing base could, indeed, be used to operate C-xx, A-10, Army helos, etc.

      Rather than build such a vessel to a carrier model (and, hence, expensive!), a commercial 'barge' might be a better basis.

      An Army/AF aviation landing base ship would be well worth some serious thought. Good idea.

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    5. "COD may not be the mission for the C-130. Maybe, aerial refueling is the sweet spot."

      I think what you're describing is mission tanking as opposed to overhead/recovery tanking. Mission tanking, as the name implies, is tanking that is provided out along the mission path somewhere. As such, in a combat situation, the tanker must be fast and stealthy enough to extend out from the protective umbrella of the carrier group to accompany/meet the mission aircraft without being instantly spotted. I don't know that any C-xx aircraft can meet that requirement.

      We've grown so used to peacetime tanking that we've come to believe that KC-xxx can provide carrier mission tanking and that's simply not the case. China is not going to allow us to have KC-xxx roaming freely around the skies, tanking up combat aircraft.

      Our military needs to break out of its peacetime mindset and start thinking peer level, contested skies where nothing is safe.

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    6. I agree with the peacetime mindset being a problem. The only active naval tanker program I know about is MQ-25 program and the Navy removed the stealth requirements from the program. The MV-22B has been tested as a tanker but it's got the same barn-like radar signature as the KC-130 with shorter range and less payload. There are no great options for tanker aircraft. The most likely low observable aircraft that could function as a tanker would be the the B-21 or if any aircraft is produced out of the speed agile program. If a stealthy C-130 replacement were produced out of that program, it could also serve as a tanker. The use of the KC-130 could be a placeholder until a more survivable aircraft is available.

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    7. The need for a stealth tanker or longer range stealth strike aircraft is a known problem but unless there are secret stealth aircraft to mitigate these deficiencies, the USN and USAF have their heads in the sand.

      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/7012/the-air-force-desperately-needs-a-stealth-tanker

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    8. "The need for a stealth tanker"

      Of course, a tanker does not need the same level of stealth that a penetrating attack aircraft needs. It just needs enough to not stand out like beacon so that it can hang out around the periphery of a mission and have a decent chance to survive. In other words, we don't need a $500M, uber-stealth tanker - just a basic stealth airframe.

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    9. So many inexplicable decisions, false starts, program changes and cancellations. It's like they want to fail.

      https://aerospaceamerica.aiaa.org/features/grading-the-mq-25/

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  10. This post is why I lament that the USAF did not pursue the the YC-14, which had ~60 knot stall speed - landing would have been made at a relative speed of ~knots!

    The other trick that C-130s can do, but I do not believe that it has been done on a carrier deck is Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES).
    https://www.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000590220/

    If the Navy wants to pursue c-130 landings, the way to do it is to take a large, fast container ship like the MAERSK E-class, build a flush deck on her (pilot house in the bow) and not bother mucking about with the carrier wings.

    GAB

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    1. "Landing at a relative speed of ~30 knots!"

      GAB

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  11. The real benefit of operating a large fixed wing aircraft from carriers has little to do with cargo, and everything to do with tanking, AEW&C, and EW/ESM.

    The capability to operating an aircraft up to the size of a KC-390, and I am not endorsing Embraer, would be an order of magnitude increase in efficiency in air operations if we think in terms of keeping CAP aircraft aloft, and refueling strike packages, and God forbid - refueling USAF aircraft!

    GAB

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