13 thoughts on “Aircraft Carriers”

  1. Didn’t we technically do this (well, not exactly this, but the same idea — launch and recover an airplane from another airplane) back in the 1950s with the B-36 and the XF-85?

  2. Not what the title implies, but a thought provoker.

    Immediate reaction to title? Bad idea. Once I found out what they meant? What’s the point? If you can send a drone you can send in a munition. A drone will be slower and easier to shoot down.

    The real question is how to make real aircraft carriers more effective? Make them submersible. While they could surface for launch and recovery, planes that pop to the surface for take-off and could land on water would allow the carrier to remain hidden in hostile territory. They might even have a pop-up tender for fuel and munitions. Instead of one or two aircraft landing and taking off at a time, the whole wing could come and go at once. Nothing below land based radar level at any time?

    1. The Navy tested a fighter plane that could land on water in the 1950s, the Convair F2Y Sea Dart. Only five prototypes were built before the program was cancelled. By that time they had gotten the hang of landing high-performance jets on carriers. One was destroyed in an accident, and one is on static display just a couple miles from my house. I drive past it frequently.

      1. Interesting. The Sea Dart appears to be something that could have been developed into a successful fighter. The real problem is they didn’t seem to have a workable solution for the submersible carrier? I was thinking of an airlock arrangement with winch rather than elevator (foreseeing the structural integrity issue.) The aircraft would be positive buoyant and waterproof, winched into the airlock. Making an engine waterproof might or not be a problem?

    2. I agree with your first part Ken (I really don’t have much to say about the naval part…). I saw the title elsewhere and quickly figured it was not what the title implied, the idea also has been well discussed in a series of Dale Brown books, and from reading those books, I’ve come to realize that smart munitions make pointless the need for drones as penetrators. If the penetrators can neutralize enemy AD, then the C-130 has no vulnerability. If the penetrators can’t neutralize AD, then the C-130 has the same problem it always had.

      What we need is a replacement for orbital recon and communication satellites they are vulnerable due to their fixed (and typically well known and established) flight vectors. We don’t need a flying aircraft carrier. We need a flying antenna with a few flying sensor arrays.

      Essentially we have that with the JSF, but not sure why it is manned for that purpose, as we also need in the flying antenna and sensors to long duration capability.

      Do that, and then we can talk about the best ways to do this at sea to give control of the large bodies of water.

  3. Life imitates the Star Fleet Battles game, sort of. SFB has a class of ship called fast patrol ships (PFs for short). They were short-range ships with a third of the firepower of a heavy cruiser (e.g. Federation Constitution-class). A PF Tender (usually a light cruiser variant) would serve as a sort of “carrier” for a flotilla of 6 PFs, taking them to theaters beyond their range. One rare PF variant replaces four weapons mounts with docking points for fighters.

  4. I’ve been kicking around an idea like this for some time now but vastly larger in scale and closely related to the current side project of a former Google person.

    1. Only with much better A.I. Humans are not quite obsolete… yet.

      A friend years ago told me about wargames held in Germany with ground to air missiles against low flying jets. The jets would pass overhead and the missiles kept getting kills so they talked to the pilots. “Are the missiles really that good?” Pilots: “No, we aren’t really trying to avoid them.”

      Then in the next few rounds they demonstrated and not a missile hit a plane.

Comments are closed.