CVF and Carrier Strike thread

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Equally, if you want something that can do a task out to a certain distance but your existing cabs don't have the legs... you're still fùcked.

You can solve the serviceability issue (parts and £££s). You can't necessarily solve the range issue.

The Merlin was designed to supersede the Sea King and with specific criteria in mind. The answer isn't always Seahawk (even if, eventually, it might be...).

except it’s not a distance issue, it’s a time on station issue.

and as at one point we were going to carry two helicopters and ended up with one very big one.... and Merlin is a very much bigger helicopter than the RN had in mind, very much bigger.
Park a Merlin by a Chinook for an example of just how exceedingly big it is.

and we’re back to where we started.

if Merlin is the answer, and the RN is very short of ASW cabs, why has it sternly refused over 20 years to buy any more, and cut some of the existing to small fleet up the first chance it got.
 
if Merlin is the answer, and the RN is very short of ASW cabs, why has it sternly refused over 20 years to buy any more,

For the same reason it hasnt bought Sea Hawks or NH90 or modified Lynx with a sonar fit (a la the Koreans )

Money and the peace dividend


Of course the RAF did by some 2nd hand 101s to increase the fleet - but im sure that wont count for some inane reason
and cut some of the existing to small fleet up the first chance it got.

By 1st chance you got you mean - the number of HM1 it wasnt able to upgrade to HM2 that had spent years in storage and then used them to provide parts for the fleet transfered wholesale from the RAF thus enabling mods for shipborne service that were otherwise unaffordable.

Not sure id agree with cut up at 1st oppertunity
 
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bob231

War Hero
except it’s not a distance issue, it’s a time on station issue.

and as at one point we were going to carry two helicopters and ended up with one very big one.... and Merlin is a very much bigger helicopter than the RN had in mind, very much bigger.
Park a Merlin by a Chinook for an example of just how exceedingly big it is.

and we’re back to where we started.

if Merlin is the answer, and the RN is very short of ASW cabs, why has it sternly refused over 20 years to buy any more, and cut some of the existing to small fleet up the first chance it got.
This may have something to do with the RN's stern refusal to buy any of the other things it wants, other than the carriers.
 

Mattb

LE
much bigger helicopter than the RN had in mind, very much bigger.
So how come it fits nicely in ships built with its spec in mind, laid down two years before its first flight?
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
So how come it fits nicely in ships built with its spec in mind, laid down two years before its first flight?

that’s the ships that had to be expensively modified to barely fit on?
Hint, everything after the T23’s have MUCH bigger flight decks.

you might also care to note that the rotor disc diameter was fixed by the size of the Frigates, ‘no bigger than a Sea King’, meaning as the things Hull got a lot heavier, and bigger, (see Italy wanting a troop transporter), the rotor disc couldn’t grow to improve lift. The only option was to spin it faster, putting a lot of extra load on the transmission - the ongoing and unrecoverable bane of the Merlin.

50% heavier on the same disc area - How not to design a helicopter.

Sea King
Main rotor diameter: 62 ft 0 in
Main rotor area: 3,020 sq ft
Weight: 21,400lbs

Merlin
Main rotor diameter: 61 ft 0 in
Main rotor area: 2,922.5 sq ft
Weight: 32,200lbs
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
This may have something to do with the RN's stern refusal to buy any of the other things it wants, other than the carriers.

I think you’ll find its everything to do with their blistering cost and ongoing desperate availability.
no ones bought Merlins as ASW helos after the launch orders two decades ago. There’s a reason for that in a very bouyant ASW helo market.
 
I think it's fair to say that the T23 hangar is a tight fit. The reason later ships have bigger flightdecks is nothing to do with Merlin and everything to do with other cabs - and/or the relative proportions of their upper works, which affect allowances for scatter.

It is similarly fair to say that until recently, ASW didn't really have any sort of market. It was all about ASuW. Now there is ASW concern again, the question is whether you're doing proper "force" ASW, with multiple screen stations, or whether you want a short range cab to drop LWT.

The clue is probably in the number of navies that actually do the former, compared to the latter. But you knew that anyway.
 
I seem to recall reading articles which suggested that in future rotary wing "drones" will be used to drop weapons (e.g. torpedoes), while the manned platforms will focus on finding and tracking the submarines and other targets.

That would seem to imply an emphasis on manned helicopters that can feed target coordinates to the "drones" and remain on station while conducting multiple attacks via the drones. I suppose that a single helicopter could be providing targets for multiple drones.

That in turn would seem to imply that small manned helicopters with limited capability may be headed for the dustbin of history and that larger helicopters with lots of sensors and with the operators to process the incoming data are going to fit the bill better.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I seem to recall reading articles which suggested that in future rotary wing "drones" will be used to drop weapons (e.g. torpedoes), while the manned platforms will focus on finding and tracking the submarines and other targets.

History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes... has anyone got any old QH-50 Drone Anti Submarine Helicopters around?
1614210118184.png



That in turn would seem to imply that small manned helicopters with limited capability may be headed for the dustbin of history

DASH fell over because it was too difficult to control with the means available back then (lots of landing accidents and in-flight losses) and having a pilot aboard the paraffin budgie (e.g. Wasp) worked out better... back then.

Doesn't mean it's not worth dusting the idea off and having another look. (The Japanese apparently made DASH work quite well for them by good attention to maintenance, not a strong point in the 1960s US Navy)
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
I think it's fair to say that the T23 hangar is a tight fit. The reason later ships have bigger flightdecks is nothing to do with Merlin and everything to do with other cabs - and/or the relative proportions of their upper works, which affect allowances for scatter.

It is similarly fair to say that until recently, ASW didn't really have any sort of market. It was all about ASuW. Now there is ASW concern again, the question is whether you're doing proper "force" ASW, with multiple screen stations, or whether you want a short range cab to drop LWT.

The clue is probably in the number of navies that actually do the former, compared to the latter. But you knew that anyway.

and yet, despite being desperately, as in it could do with @ another 20, the RN studiously refuses to buy a single extra Merlin over its ‘it had no choice in the matter’ launch order. In fact, quite the reverse, it’s taken every opportunity it can to shrink the Fleet, even turning down the offer to rebuild 6 in storage to newer HM2 spec.
it’s almost like it hates them and is trying to shrink them away out of existence.

Merlin - it doesn’t sell because even the launch partner and designer/builder can’t get it reliable and doesn’t like it.

meanwhile, sales of NH-90’s and SH-60’s are very brisk, with even former operators giving up on Merlin and moving to them. Even the Italian Navy won’t buy any more Merlins and has bought 46 NH-90’s.
 
and yet, despite being desperately, as in it could do with @ another 20, the RN studiously refuses to buy a single extra Merlin over its ‘it had no choice in the matter’ launch order. In fact, quite the reverse, it’s taken every opportunity it can to shrink the Fleet, even turning down the offer to rebuild 6 in storage to newer HM2 spec.
it’s almost like it hates them and is trying to shrink them away out of existence.

Merlin - it doesn’t sell because even the launch partner and designer/builder can’t get it reliable and doesn’t like it.

meanwhile, sales of NH-90’s and SH-60’s are very brisk, with even former operators giving up on Merlin and moving to them. Even the Italian Navy won’t buy any more Merlins and has bought 46 NH-90’s.
Does Italy ever deploy outside of the med?

Merlin has got an out of service date in 2030 has it? Opportunity to right the wrongs, when would they start scoping a replacement?
 
and yet, despite being desperately, as in it could do with @ another 20, the RN studiously refuses to buy a single extra Merlin over its ‘it had no choice in the matter’ launch order. In fact, quite the reverse, it’s taken every opportunity it can to shrink the Fleet, even turning down the offer to rebuild 6 in storage to newer HM2 spec.
it’s almost like it hates them and is trying to shrink them away out of existence.

Merlin - it doesn’t sell because even the launch partner and designer/builder can’t get it reliable and doesn’t like it.

meanwhile, sales of NH-90’s and SH-60’s are very brisk, with even former operators giving up on Merlin and moving to them. Even the Italian Navy won’t buy any more Merlins and has bought 46 NH-90’s.
This will be the RN that is flush with cash then?

As opposed to the RN that is having to consider retiring frigates early, retiring certain minehunters, shove a chunk of the RFA into ER, disband 736NAS. That RN?

The eight HM1 in storage may or may not be worth doing. It may actually be better to get LH to build new frames (with suitable attention paid to known frailties) as part of the rotorcraft strategy. But right now there are crocodiles closer to the canoe. A couple of proper CSG deployments will focus minds on what the priorities are.

What is certain is that a 40 year old design - in production or not - with limited payload / range (what is the endurance of a Seahawk on a dipping profile with sonobuoys and 4 LWT?) is not the answer.
 

Mattb

LE
that’s the ships that had to be expensively modified to barely fit on?
No. The hangar and flight deck are exactly the same size as they were when they were built.

You keep using Chinook as a point of comparison - compare the Chinook-capable flight deck of a T26 with the Merlin-capable flight deck of a T23.

I seem to recall reading articles which suggested that in future rotary wing "drones" will be used to drop weapons (e.g. torpedoes),
I struggle to see the point of a UAV whose only purpose is carrying torpedoes - if all you need is a bomb truck, why go to all the complexity of making something that has to land again?

Dust off the plans for Ikara, fit a nice, efficient new engine and just launch it on a one-way trip from the ship.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I struggle to see the point of a UAV whose only purpose is carrying torpedoes - if all you need is a bomb truck, why go to all the complexity of making something that has to land again?

Dust off the plans for Ikara, fit a nice, efficient new engine and just launch it on a one-way trip from the ship.
Timing and range issues, perhaps (if you want to be out a convergence zone or two, thats 30-odd/60-odd miles, if I remember right Ikara could do about ten or so?)

Having other uses (recce pod to go investigate surface targets with something expendable, instead of a torpedo? Drop some sonobuoys as well as torpedoes?)

Lots of possibilities, I can see some being superficially attractive & some turning out to be quite useful - be worth evaluating & getting evidence for which is which.
 

Mattb

LE
Aye, the reason I suggested Ikara was a compliment to ASROC, as both I think have a range of 10-12 nm or so. But a modern version of Ikara with a turbofan I’d have thought could push out easily to 50-100 nm, and indeed cover that distance at around 500kt making it much faster to react than a rotary asset.

Your second point would be a key limitiation though, I was thinking purely in terms of the attack.
 
“Bomb Trucks” are all the rage now in fixed wing, but they are stealthy and keep up with fast jets out to 200km plus.

I can’t see the same with rotary, there is no space on deck unless it’s a carrier, in which case, a small bespoke UAV seems completely unnecessary, if the amount of hard points are an issue, make another asset capable eg chinook, AW-64, F-35.

Similarly with over land, Incan imagine an Apache picking up 20’targets and a typhoon flying in with 12 Brimstone to finish off the targets.
 
No. The hangar and flight deck are exactly the same size as they were when they were built.

You keep using Chinook as a point of comparison - compare the Chinook-capable flight deck of a T26 with the Merlin-capable flight deck of a T23.


I struggle to see the point of a UAV whose only purpose is carrying torpedoes - if all you need is a bomb truck, why go to all the complexity of making something that has to land again?

Dust off the plans for Ikara, fit a nice, efficient new engine and just launch it on a one-way trip from the ship.

if we're in agreement that we need a largish helicopter with long endurance for the sensor payload, why not just carry the torpedoes under the helicopter with nuts and bolts or whatever like we do now? The point of the QH-50 was to make the USN's reserve fleet of WW2 era destroyers useful against a growing Soviet submarine force by giving them a bigger engagement radius although they didn't have room for a proper helicopter.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
if we're in agreement that we need a largish helicopter with long endurance for the sensor payload, why not just carry the torpedoes under the helicopter with nuts and bolts or whatever like we do now? The point of the QH-50 was to make the USN's reserve fleet of WW2 era destroyers useful against a growing Soviet submarine force by giving them a bigger engagement radius although they didn't have room for a proper helicopter.

I'd start with finding out if there's a list (& how long & important it is) of things like "wish we had more than one cab to do that", or "would be useful to have something to cover the role while the helo's off doing SOOTAX", or "surface investigate's easier & safer with a semi-disposable platform that confirms hostile when they shoot at it".

Then, start looking at what might address the top slice of the list - something nearly Wildcat-sized but unmanned, or something that's small enough to be a one-man lift (with half a dozen crated up in the hangar - if one gets wrecked, get the next...)? Does it need to carry a torpedo or two (spearcarrier for the ship's flight, or unmanned VECTAC)? A thirty-mile-range search radar, or just a housebrick-sized EO/IR sensor? What should be a permanent fit, what works better as RPAS Lego to fit as needed?

See if there's a requirement, what it is, and what options to meet it might be. Is there a space for "RPAS/UAS to replace or supplement ship's helicopter?" or are all the nice-to-haves not actually nice enough to merit the time, effort and money to field them?

It's easy to pick "here's an example" of some solutions, the danger is when someone crashes the process with a UOR for "want that shiny one!" (and then a few years later you're hearing the complaints about "what civilian idiot foisted this on us? bet they thought it was a great idea...")
 
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