Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Nobody ever said that the light carrier [CVL] concept is not fraught with difficulties. NONE however so major it might seem whatever problems as exist cannot be overcome.
1. Navy will have to provide as mission required escorting vessels [surface and submerged] for each light carrier? The number of warships able to function as escorts organic to a carrier strike group is already adequate? Cruisers, destroyers, submarines, logistical vessels all exist in sufficient numbers? My assumption here is that the CVL is operating NOT as augmentation to a CVN strike group.
2. That lack of supporting warplanes organic to a light carrier operating in an independent manner has to be overcome. Air Force in coordination with the Navy can perform this task with land-based aviation assets. I AM TOLD THIS IS ALREADY BEING DONE!
Understand those additional warplanes in support of a light carrier to include EW, AEW, ASW, tanker.
EW = Electronic warfare, AEW = Airborne Early Warning, ASW = Anti-submarine-warfare.
3. Short-take-off vertical-landing [STOVL] warplanes of the F-35B variety are mission limited by two factors:
A. Problem I am told with the landing platform type of carrier or amphibious assault ship is that the vertical take off consumes a lot of fuel. That means you can carry less ordnance. Consumes a lot of fuel on landing too? That means even less ordnance. F-35B operating off of a LHA(R) amphibious assault ship will use the STOVL capability? NOT ONLY will use but MUST use!
B. The F-35B for a while [if not forever] so I am to understand will have to carry ordnance on outside pylons rather in the internal bomb bay. That means the warplane will approach the target not clean. So negating the stealth feature of the F-35!! This is a serious flaw!
4. An advantage to the CVL concept is that the requisite warships in form of the amphibious assault ships are already found in the inventory. Some modification as with the USS America needed and the CVL is ready to go. NOT as potent it realized as a CVN but nonetheless a force in the sea control mission as to be taken into account.
Cost too is a major factor? One CVN of the Ford class costing $13 billion as compared to an CVL at about $3.4 billion. Vulnerability about the same?