Monday, March 25, 2013

Light & Escort.

This is coolbert:

From that prior blog entry some extracts with comment:

 "But if the supercarrier is sinking, what could rise to take its place? Smaller, cheaper flattops"

1. During that era of the Second World War [WW2] THERE WERE "smaller, cheaper flattops". To include:

The light aircraft carrier. The USS Cabot being the archetype.



 
The USS Cabot steaming during WW2. Subsequently when equipped with Harrier jump jets used by the Spanish Navy the vessel not scrapped until 2002!!

"A light aircraft carrier is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized or 'fleet' carrier. A light carrier was a similar concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers"

Smaller size, smaller number of combat aircraft, but higher speeds and able to move with alacrity when need be. Can be built faster, cheaper and in greater numbers but retaining a formidable combat capability.

The escort carrier. Even smaller than the light carrier. NOT capable of high speed and carrying even yet a smaller contingent of warplanes. Built during WW2 primarily as just that, an escort vessel,  providing convoy air support and protection. The USS Long Island the archetype vessel of this class. The Long Island during the Guadalcanal campaign those combat aircraft organic used for close air support [CAS] for the ground forces.



USS Long Island [CVE-1]. Limited role, limited capacity, but effective in the sense as envisioned by military planners. The CVE doing the job for which it was intended and nothing more!

"The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the USN . . . They were typically half the length and 1/3 the displacement of the larger fleet carriers. While they were slower, less armed and armored, and carried fewer planes, they were less expensive and could be built in less time. This was their principal advantage, as escort carriers could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce."

Escort carriers more can be built faster and cheaper acknowledging the limited combat capability as compared to a "fleet" carrier of the WW2 era. But not intended to fulfill a mission beyond that of escort duty and this understood to be so from the start.

"Those large fleet carriers even during the time of the Second World War [WW2] often described as heavy-weight boxers with a glass jaw. Able to administer the knock-out punch against the adversary but at the same time also very susceptible to damage EVEN FROM A SINGLE BLOW. As was the case with the USS Franklin."

2. Glass jaw. Once single punch and the formidable heavyweight boxer is stunned and helpless, even knocked out. "Glass jaw" a term pejorative, defensive ability questioned.

This fact having been observed with American aircraft carriers of the WW2 era. A single bomb hit in the wrong place at the wrong time and the warship render3ed ineffective and impotent, neither able to further defend or take offensive action!

This being the case most egregiously so with the USS Franklin. Two bombs from one plane and the ship disabled, in peril and nearly sinking, out of action for the duration of the war, casualties ONLY exceeded for a American naval ship during the war by the sinking of the Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

"a single aircraft . . . pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the ship to drop two semi-armor-piercing bombs. The damage analysis came to the conclusion that the bombs were 550 lb (250 kg) . . . One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the Combat Information Center and air plot.?

"Official Navy casualty figures for the 19 March 1945 fire totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded. Nevertheless, casualty numbers have been updated as new records are discovered. A recent count . . . brings [the] total 19 March 1945 casualty figures to 807 killed and more than 487 wounded . . . the worst for any surviving U.S. warship and second only to that of battleship USS Arizona"

Indeed, measures taken to douse the out-of-control and raging fires ONLY making matters worse, reminding one of the Normandie at dock, sunk while anchored by the enormous weight of water hosed onto the stricken vessel!!

"The enormous quantities of water poured aboard her to fight the fires further reduced freeboard (exacerbated, on her starboard side, by the list), and her stability was seriously impaired, such that her survival was in jeopardy"



For there to be a viable alternative to the modern super-carrier it is necessary for that F-35 Lightning in the vertical or short take-off mode to be successful? VTOL and STOL is what is needed, the issue at this exact moment in doubt, that F-35 in VTOL or STOL mode not perfected!!

coolbert.

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