Harriers for ASW?

Reading The Hunt for Red October, and thinking about it, the USN has a carrierborne maritime patrol aeroplane, the Viking, kind've like a mini Nimrod that'll take off and land on one of their floating bird farms, as well as their ASW helos. But what do we have, only Merlin pingers. Nothing really that can operate outside that radius, as well as the fact that the MPAs go faster, further, for longer, and can be used for other things (anti shipping, surveillance, guiding OTH missiles, SaR, even refuelling other aircraft...)

Now we probably would never have the money to buy Vikings, or our own more-modern replacement, and even if we did, CVFs and the Invincibles are going to most likely be too small to operate them from (why Hawkeye AEW wasnt suited). But there could be a cheaper way of getting the MPAs - convert 2-seater Harrier trainers (need the backseater to run the engagement, thats why you need the trainers) with a sonobuoy pod and a couple of lightweight STINGRAY torpedoes. Why wouldn't that work - the Russkies have used fast jets in the ASW role before - and if your up against someone who doesn't use subs, the Harriers would be able to drop the ASW kit and go out with Paveways or Brimstone or whatever else might be needed of the rest of them... When JSF/JCA/F35 comes along we could get a few two-seaters of those as well for the same role - like getting some two seater Typhoons for the RAF to do air to ground a la GR4...

Or would it be about as much use as tits on a fish?

The Hoovers are going out of service. Seaborne ASW in the US is now the purview of helicopters only. They had four-man crews to do the job the proposed Harrier variant would do with two. Granted, however, that modern automation might reduce the workload, and that if you focus solely on the ASW role to the exclusion of the other things the S-3 is capable of, it might well be doable.

You then just have a factor of size. How many sonobuoys is a Harrier going to carry? The S-3 is designed with high-bypass civilian-style engines, for good, low-speed performance.

I'm not going to say the idea is impractical, it probably could work. I just don't think the effort is worth it.

Gook said:
But what do we have, only Merlin pingers.
Except that you can put a much larger and more expensive sensor head into the sea from a Merlin than you ever will in a sonobuoy. And you can keep on changing its depth. And you've got much more power available for longer to drive the transmitter (big f***-off whirly thing generates electricity, sonobuoy has to carry it all).

As ever, it's a mix, not a single uberwunderwaffen that does everything. Our brave, stout-hearted, steely eyed submariners will of course be joined in the fight against their cowardly, lily-livered underhand submariners, not to mention towed arrays from the frigates in the BG, MPAs flying from land bases, etc, etc.

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