CV-16 Liaoning Thread II ...News, Views and operations

Discussion in 'Navy' started by Jeff Head, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

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    I don't see the need for world wide tour other than showing the flag But China's interest is only 1st and 2nd island China plus western pacific. So this tour close to Guam is appropriate respond to FON then she circle Phillipine and reentered the SCS thru Palawan straits
    Wouldn't it be sigh to behold if Liaoning drop anchor in one of the big three island base maybe Subi?

    Next China should sail the Liaoning to pass thru Straits of Malacca to Sri Lanka retracing admiral Cheng He journey
    Get those CV 17 commission soon
     
  2. schenkus
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    schenkus Junior Member
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    I'm not sure this is true - I would guess that China would also be interested in its SLOC through the indian ocean.

    Though unless they want to stir up indian nationalism I would suggest to keep a polite distance from India.
    Going through the Sunda straight to the Seychelles might be less controntational than a visit to Sri Lanka.
     
  3. AndrewS
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    AndrewS Senior Member
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    There's no point in worrying too much about distant SLOCs, if the waters in the Western Pacific are still contested.
     
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  4. Anlsvrthng
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    Anlsvrthng Senior Member
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    making one Kuz class carrier in every 1-2 year will secure the western pacific in few years time.

    Two-three Kuz class is more usable than one Nimitz.
     
  5. Bhurki
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    Bhurki Junior Member
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    Kuz are better at securing an area against pure SAG and certain submarine threats. However , as soon as you put a full size carrier in the area, having even multiple Kuz doesn't provide the advantage one might expect.
    Kuz is essentially an air defense cruiser with extended launchers( jets). These 'launchers' can act offensive( launching missile at long range) but are mostly used as defensive (disabling enemy's extended 'launchers').
    The Nimitz on the other hand is mostly power projection offensive tool.
    Even the carrier complement tell the same story. Kuz during syria deployment carried at most 8-10 fighters while Nimitz regularly carries 40+ fighters.
    Also it wouldn't hurt to put a CATOBAR system on the future Kuz copies. That takeoff ramp steals away half the shine of every jet that launches off of it
     
  6. Red Moon
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    Red Moon Junior Member

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    But three "type" 003 carriers, with catapults, etc, beats two Nimitz. And it's already designed and under construction.
     
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  7. AndrewS
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    AndrewS Senior Member
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    QUICK DRAFT

    If we're talking about securing the Western Pacific, I think that can be divided into 3 interlocking missions.

    1. Neutralise the land bases on the First Island Chain. This can be achieved with missiles and aircraft launched from the Chinese mainland
    2. Neutralise the land bases on the Second Island Chain (namely Guam). But to do so, the Chinese Navy will have to past the First island Chain, and get close enough to Guam.
    3 Clear the waters between the First and Second Island Chains of US warships, which includes CSGs.


    Mission 1
    Neutralise the land bases on the First Island Chain. They're within 1000km of Chinese mainland, which is within range of missiles and aircraft launched from bases. So what's the point of a carrier?

    Mission 2
    Neutralise the land bases on the Second Island Chain (namely Guam)
    Guam is some 3000km from mainland China, which is too far for low-cost missiles or fighter aircraft to reach
    So the Chinese navy would have to sail out (for 2days), to get close enough to launch large numbers of lower cost missiles.
    But that requires getting past the US Navy and AIr Forces operating between the First and Second Island Chains

    Mission 3
    Clearing the waters of the First and Second Island Chains of US warships, which includes carriers.

    If we look at the latest thinking from the US Navy, carrier aircraft are no longer suited to offensive strike missions, as missiles are simply better; being quicker, longer ranged and cheaper.
    That leads to a Distributed Fleet Architecture where there are lots of ships capable of launching offensive strike missiles from VLS cells.

    So the carrier would stand off at a long distance, and serve as an a launchpad for long-range (and slow?) reconnaissance aircraft, and also fighter aircraft to maintain air superiority.
    That is because the US only have a few vulnerable airbases available in the Western Pacific, and how carriers are too vulnerable to long-ranged missiles.

    In comparison, China has a lot of secure airbases deep in the interior.
    So long range drones will still have enough endurance to range deep into the Pacific past the First Island Chain and the Second Island Chain.
    The J-20 stealth fighter is also being designed with operations in this area, but range will still be an issue.

    That means Chinese carriers should focus on fighter and obtaining air superiority.
    That air superiority will prevent opposing airborne drones from finding you, and allow your own drones to find opposing naval units.

    Large numbers of long endurance and stealthy SSNs also come to mind, as carrier strike groups are composed of numerous vessels and are noisy.
    So the SSNs can cue surveillance drones on which areas to look at.

    ---

    So what do Chinese CSGs actually have to do?
    • Go on a sortie past the First Island Chain and back
    • Get close enough to Guam (say 1200km) to launch fighter jets to maintain local air superiority, and for the accompanying ships to launch lots of low-cost cruise missiles.
    • Prevent US aircraft and submarines from finding them. And support their own submarines and aircraft in finding US Navy ships.

    So are 2-3 Kuznetsovs better than a single expensive Nimitz in the Western Pacific?

    • Given that a sortie will likely last much less than 2weeks in the Western Pacific, nuclear power does not confer much an advantage in terms of range
    • Such short sorties also mean the Kuznetsov's smaller supply of aviation fuel, ammo and supplies is likely not an issue
    • For lightly loaded air-to-air missions, a ski-jump confers less of a disadvantage than catapults for heavily loaded strike missions.
    • The lack of a catapult on a Kuznetsov can be mitigated by land-based AWACs support
    • It's better to have the same number of aircraft on 2 flight decks rather than just 1, in case one is out of action.
    So in the Western Pacific, it does look like 2-3 Kuznetsovs would be equal or better to a Nimitz.

    But for operation in the Deep Pacific, Nimitz type CVNs would be more suitable.
     
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  8. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    I agree with most of your argument up to here.

    I would argue that CVNs would still be suitable for westpac missions.

    While a ski jump in theory will allow a carrier to launch fighters with a respectable load, the mission of a carrier in this scenario should not ideally be limited to only launching relatively lightly loaded fighters with A2A payloads. Specifically, heavier loaded aircraft that a carrier may want to launch which may be vital to the westpac mission you describe, include:
    - fixed wing, organic carrier borne AEW&C, which will rely catapults to reliably launch. Relying on land based AEW&C 1000+km from Chinese shores is a far from optimal proposition -- if a carrier is able to maintain its own robust unit of AEW&C that would be far preferable for the carrier formation itself. In fact I would argue that fixed wing organic AEW&C is one of the most important capabilities that a carrier can offer to a naval formation.
    - large, flying wing UAVs/UCAVs (this will be somewhat in the more distant future perhaps post 2030, however I think such aircraft will play a very important role for increasing a CSG's ISR capability). Such aircraft would likely require catapults to reliably launch.
    - other heavy loaded fighters for certain missions such as for buddy refuelling, or if the carrier becomes enveloped in an unexpected combat situation that requires it to launch its fighters on a strike sortie etc, which will obviously necessitate catapults

    While such westpac deployments may be short, the benefits of nuclear powered carriers lies not only in the endurance of the carrier itself but also in the amount of additional space it has for aviation fuel (compared to a conventionally powered carrier which has to carry fuel for its own propulsion as well), as well as in having less need to refuel as often as a conventional powered carrier.

    There's also the matter of sortie rate. My understanding is that the sortie rate of a carrier has a relationship to the size of the carrier and the size of its airwing, however the relationship is not exactly linear because of efficiencies of scale.
    This blog post puts out a good thought experiment on the number of hypothetical CVLs needed to equal the sortie rate of a single CVN (https://blog.usni.org/posts/2009/08/27/the-monster-myths-of-the-cvl-concept). I think the idea can be extrapolated reasonably to our Kuznetsov proposal, where I would estimate you will need at least 2-3 Kuznetsovs to match the sortie rate of a CVN (holding crew experience and so on all equal) -- and this is all with the fact that the STOBAR Kuznetsovs won't be able to launch fixed wing AEW&C, heavy UAVs/UCAVs, or heavily loaded buddy tanking or strike loaded fighters if necessary.

    Finally, I would say that comparing 2-3 Kuznetsov-pattern carriers to a lone CVN is not quite fair, because of differences in total manpower, total tonnage, and possibly even cost (and this is even leaving out the question of how many escorts we would need for 2-3 Kuznetsov pattern carriers vs a lone CVN to achieve the same level of security for each formation!).




    So I would argue that in theory even if 2 or 3 Kuznetsov pattern carriers are able to carry the same number of aircraft as a single CVN, it would be more cost efficient to have a single CVN instead.
    After all, in terms of the overall manpower costs, overall logistics costs, overall additional escort costs that 2-3 Kuznetsovs will require vs a single CVN, I think it may be possible that 2-3 Kuznetsovs may actually be more expensive than a single CVN to achieve something near the same capability. This is leaving aside the question of procurement costs, where I would argue that 2-3 Kuznetsovs may even cost more than a single CVN if the CVNs are ultimately mass produced.
    Additionally, the CVN will naturally be capable of launching a much wider variety of important aircraft (force multipliers like fixed wing AEW&C, future large UAVs/UCAVs etc) that your STOBAR Kuznetsovs cannot, which will all be very important for the westpac mission environment that you described.
     
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  9. Hendrik_2000
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    Hendrik_2000 Brigadier

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  10. AndrewS
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    AndrewS Senior Member
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    Yes. Valid points, but we won't ever get a definitive answer because we don't have enough information. Plus a back of the envelope calculation suggests aviation fuel isn't a constraint for a 7day sortie by a Kuznetsov. I have read the CVL versus CVN debate before as well.

    In any case, there won't ever be 3 STOBAR Kuznetsovs :) because China is moving to CATOBAR carriers which address many of the issues.
     

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