Sunday, 29 November 2009

Small Versatile Carrier

The carriers produced in the largest numbers ever where the United States Escort Carriers of the Second World war. Today several carriers of this size still exist the smallest is Thailand's HTMS Chakri Naruebet,  which operates 6 Harriers and 6 Helicopter, and is based on US Sea Control Ship design, that was never built.
At 11,485 this is only some 3500 tons heavier than the new Type 45 destroyers.
A next generation Small Carrier would carry F-35 Lightning II and V22 Osprey or perhaps UAV, such a ship is under consideration for the Royal Navy as the UXV Combatant based on the Type 45 destroyer and carrying UCAVs
Whilst the UXV combatant seems like an interesting concept it seem to be to small to offer a truly flexible ship capable of multiple roles. The ship would be designed to perform several major roles depending on the composition of the air wing carried. Whilst the Casablanca class of WWII carried 28 aircraft, the increased size and weight of modern aircraft means that i operation a modern carrier in the same class would carry between 12 and 18 aircraft.
This embarked air wing would be split into two parts, the permanent defence of the ship would be based about the on board defensive air wing that would primary be based around anti submarine and AEW aircraft. It is likely that each of these roles could be filled by 3 aircraft. The mission equipment would take up the rest of the ships capacity and could either be used for addition aircraft of other equipment.
The Royal Navies current AEW capability is provided by Sea King ASaC7 helicopter. The Royal Navy has plans to replace the Sea Kings for the next generation of carriers the candidates include systems based on the Merlin helicopter and the V22 Osprey.
The ship will need to have the basic ability to defend itself including a CIWS and a SAM installation.
This size of carrier has served in large numbers escorting convoys and supporting other operations in world war to it's great advantage in these cases is the ability to build them quickly. That quality is essential for any future ships of this size, like HMS Ocean the ships should be built to commercial standards and the basic design should be kept up to date allowing production to start quickly should a major threat emerge which requires the escort role to be performed in large quantities.
The inclusion of a large stern door would allow access to the large volume of the hangar deck allowing the ship to ferry equipment and act as a defended transport. The use of containerised accommodation in the hangar deck and on the flight deck would allow the vehicle to act as a  troop carrier still with a large flight deck of moving the personnel on and off.
In addition to these roles the smaller carriers can be but more in harms way providing close support as they did in the pacific theatre during WWII and providing platforms for the delivery of relief supplies in the event of natural disaster.

No comments:

Post a Comment