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That would look quite good on the HMAS Canberra

By johnboy - 12 October 2011 13

As work continues in Spain on the immense HMAS Canberra we can’t help but get a little excited by this footage of a supersonic stealth fighter landing on a similar size flat top that doesn’t even have an enormous ski ramp on the front.

Here’s some video of the thing doing takeoffs too.

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
That would look quite good on the HMAS Canberra
Grail 3:53 pm 12 Oct 11

Ski ramps might also point to the possibility of joint exercises with Australian assets providing remote support for other countries who have VTOL craft in their arsenals: our assault carriers acting as range extenders, if you will. Cheaper to float the fuel and ammo supplies to range than have flying tankers hovering around (and you can’t rearm any aircraft inflight).

Not that any of our allies ever actually end up paying their bar tab, but at least the thought is there.

creative_canberran 1:49 pm 12 Oct 11

cubicle01 said :

Hi CC,
I’m interested by your comment re: defensive capacity – Why the omission of CIWS or evolved sea sparrow type systems? I can appreciate that it would be rare for Canberra to operate as a single vessel but stil…

As JB points out, typical operation is to have the capital ship (perhaps to strong a word for these LHDs) work in a group, with destroyers and aircraft providing a bubble around the area of operations.

It’s an odd omission to me, though I’ve not read the detailed reasons or projections so don’t want to claim any expertise. Consider that the new QE2 class and Ford Class carriers will both have Close In Weapons + longer range options despite having substantially more assets in aircraft and support ships to use to form a protective bubble. One would think it even more redundant on those vessels than on these ones.

The bubble too should not be confused with a shell, as in something that exists to protect on the periphery alone. Typically, it involves multiple layers and failsafes to protect the major asset. With no aircraft or CIWS, you’re taking away both the longest range and shortest range protections and relying entirely on what’s in the middle.

I do wonder though and perhaps JB could provide some insight on this. While CIWS is of course for missiles like those from other ships and aircraft, how effective is it for less convention threats like portable missile systems and RPGs?
What I wonder is… consider the LHD being deployed to land troops and assets into a trouble situation short of a war zone, as was the case in East Timor (during which I should note F-111s were put on standby to provide support).
It may not have the destroyer providing a bubble, or it may have but be too close to shore based threats for it to respond quick enough.
Of course there’s no guarantees, USS Cole showed that. Still, seams to be taking a bit of a chance.

Also interesting to see if they fit CIWS to the new Largs Bay, which doesn’t have it fitted.

johnboy 1:38 pm 12 Oct 11

there are better dogfighters in the world, it’s their electronic warfare capabilities that will make them special.

john87_no1 1:36 pm 12 Oct 11

Was lucky enough to see what i think were some F35’s ( the nearest airforce base was for experimental aircraft) in action while driving through Death Valley National Park in the USA. Amazing speed and maneuverability! Unfortunatly the camera phone didnt quite get pulled out in time.

cubicle01 12:54 pm 12 Oct 11

johnboy said :

that would be why we’re getting two, plus the Largs Bay (now HMAS Choules) to do more of the amphibious heavy lifting.

With their new radars the Anzac frigates are now not completely useless at air defence too.

Largs Bay is pretty lightweight compared to Canberra. True re: Anzacs, yeah CEA!

johnboy 12:48 pm 12 Oct 11

that would be why we’re getting two, plus the Largs Bay (now HMAS Choules) to do more of the amphibious heavy lifting.

With their new radars the Anzac frigates are now not completely useless at air defence too.

cubicle01 12:41 pm 12 Oct 11

johnboy said :

well if it’s flying a fleet of f35’s the plan would be to destroy threats from the air before they could launch. (standard plan for any aircraft carrier)

But an asset this big holding a fair chunk of the army, navy and airforce would not be sent out alone.

appreciate that but its principal tasking is amphib which means the deck tied up with choppers rather than fixed wing. even if its stand off distance is considerable for an assault it would still be pushing it to task sufficient additional vessels (Hobarts presumably?) to protect it, particularly whilst other things are going on and the second of the class is engaged as well…

johnboy 12:30 pm 12 Oct 11

well if it’s flying a fleet of f35’s the plan would be to destroy threats from the air before they could launch. (standard plan for any aircraft carrier)

But an asset this big holding a fair chunk of the army, navy and airforce would not be sent out alone.

cubicle01 12:24 pm 12 Oct 11

Hi CC,
I’m interested by your comment re: defensive capacity – Why the omission of CIWS or evolved sea sparrow type systems? I can appreciate that it would be rare for Canberra to operate as a single vessel but stil…

johnboy 12:07 pm 12 Oct 11

agreed it’s not going to happen tomorrow.

creative_canberran 12:06 pm 12 Oct 11

johnboy said :

published plans and real plans are not the same thing CC.

Exhibit A is that enormous ski ramp on the front of the ship. If they had no plans for fixed wing aviation they’d have bought the Mistral design instead of the Juan Carlos.

That’s true, but the first 14 F-35 orders to be approved are CTOL variants rather than the VSTOL variants. Admittedly that’s just for testing and training, but given they’ll likely enter service after the first Canberra Class is operational, it’s odd not to at least have some initial capability.
Surely if they decided to add VSTOL capability to the RAN/RAAF, there would be a considerable lead time before it was delivered at a later time.

johnboy 11:50 am 12 Oct 11

published plans and real plans are not the same thing CC.

Exhibit A is that enormous ski ramp on the front of the ship. If they had no plans for fixed wing aviation they’d have bought the Mistral design instead of the Juan Carlos.

creative_canberran 11:46 am 12 Oct 11

Unfortunately the RAN has no plans to operate fixed wing aircraft and neither the carriers nor the F-35s on order will be equipped to do so.
Also interesting is neither of the LHDs will have CIWS, relying instead on 4 remote 25mm guns each. Defence will be provided by those and the new Air Warfare Destroyers.
For the biggest ships ever to set sail with the Australian flag, seems to be leaving a lot of capability out, particularly in light of indications that RAN and RAAF operations will focus more on the North West of the country to work in tandem with US and allied forces. If they feel a need to be closer to where the perceived action will be, why then cut corners and limit the power projection capabilities? And why build such massive ships that then rely on other assets for protection?
The defence planners really don’t seem to know what they’re doing, and yet, they want to throw 24b at custom designs subs instead of proven, off the shelf designs.

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