CV-18 Fujian/003 CATOBAR carrier thread


Blitzo

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Hi just a little offtopic will PLAN in future be able to carry on in coming 6/8 years time without VTOL aircrafts
as one can see how much in need these VTOL are specially even been able to operate from less tonnage ACC
and need not turn churn out heavy metals with lot of time and resources
is it not possible to take on Russian Yak 141 project and from these invest in it within shorter time to get it done quickly
thank you

There are no indications of a vstol fighter aircraft being developed.

Not worth speculating about.
 

TK3600

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That entire livestream was quite informative. It seemed to me that China really rolled a lot of 5 or 6s in how it closed the gap with USN from when it decided on taking the plunge in 2004 to now. I remember reading a former USN officer saying that China had managed compress 100 years of USN carrier op lessons into 10 years. That's clearly an exaggeration, but it gives an idea of how USN views the advancements in Chinese carrier operations since 2012.

1) It got the most recently constructed CV from Soviet Union and paid very little for it. When CV-16 first joined service, I heard a lot of Western analysts calling Admiral K class a terrible design to copy. Well, guess what? Not everyone gets access to decades of US experience in designing Aircraft carriers. The fact that China got Varyag (with its power plant in tact) was a huge coup and they were able to do some small modifications to make it a pretty reasonable entry level carrier. The only other option they had were Spanish shipyard offers of 30k sized carrier back in the 90s. I wouldn't say China took advantage of Ukraine, but it was fortunate that such a ship was available for them to try out.

2) Apparently, there was big discussions going on inside China about whether to build a whole new carrier based on Varyag as the first carrier or modifying Varyag to put it into service. Again, a lot of western analysts said that it made perfect sense for China to put Varyag into service as a training carrier. Even so, it wasn't an obvious choice for PLAN brass, who did not have full knowledge of the difficult of carrier op. it turned out, the choice of modifying Varyag into CV-16 was entirely correct. Putting CV-16 into service sooner allowed them to start training at the sea much sooner than if they had decided to build a new carrier from the get go. And they found that carrier ops is really hard. I think Shilao's podcast said that CV-16 only believed it achieved operational status in 2019 or even more recent than that when it comes to high tempo carrier operations.

3) The decision to build a Type 002 in CV-17 before proceeding to Type 003 looks to be correct too. There is a whole new lesson to be learnt about building a new carrier from scratch that had to be learned before they can proceed to a more complicated design in Type 003. Given how smoothly Type 002/003 projects have progressed, I would say these were correct decisions. Otherwise, they'd still need a Type 003 to test out EMAL catapult.

4) The full indigenization of flankers + availability of T-10K prototype meant they were able to develop J-15s pretty smoothly. I think it's a testament to China/Russia relationship that Russia did not throw a fit at China for not buying Su-33s. As it turned out, Shilao/Yankee have said several times that Su-33 wasn't fully developed as a naval fighter. SAC had to really test and sort through many issues for J-15 to be where it is. If they had chosen to buy Su-33 or was not indigenizing flankers or picked naval J-10, I don't think it would have turned out as well. As things stand, J-15 is a great platform to support J-35.

5) Having SAC first work on J-15 and FC-31 prototype meant they are ideally prepared for J-35.

6) I didn't realize this but, they got extremely lucky with JL-9H. PLAN had not planned or paid for JL-9H development. Someone that was retired went out of his way to suggest GAIC to develop a naval version of JL-9 in case PLAN needed a trainer naval. GAIC found 100 million RMB to do the development (a lot of money for GAIC). And when PLAN realized J-15S two seater development would've cut too much money, they were happy that the much cheaper JL-9H option was available.

7) Somehow, they were able to complete EMAL development/testing almost as the same time as steam catapult, which allowed them to catch up to USN in catapult technology. Even now, Ford class is still struggling with it.

8) GWOT forced very high level of attrition/early retirement on carrier aircraft which forced USN to place very larger orders of Super hornets and very few F-35Cs. As a result, Type 003 and follow on carriers are likely to have a big 5th generation aircraft advantage over its USN counterpart (by pure numbers).

I might be missing a few, but a lot of things have gone right for PLAN.

How can there be 5th gen number advantage? How many f35c are there?
 

gelgoog

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Thanks for the update. I think all of these decisions that turned out to be correct reflect a great deal of core competence inside the PLA. Contrast this with the many failures of the U.S. Navy. From what I heard, the J-35 will turn out to be a much better platform(After the proper engine is installed) compared to the F-35C. Can you elaborate about what you know on this area?
The major issues with the Ford, and for that matter the F-35, can all be blamed on concurrency. There was a lack of testing to iron out issues and moving forward with the programs regardless of what happened. Take the EMALS. They never launched an aircraft with EMALS on a land based test harness. Not even a mass payload simulator of similar bulk. They expected the electric weapon elevators to work like a charm without bothering to make a test rig to see if they did. As for the F-35 much the same kinds of issues happened. Cramming too much untested or poorly tested components into the platform. Supposedly to save time. In fact concurrency wasted time and resources. Problems were caught late, and the fixes caused impacts on the rest of the system which were hard to retrofit, and in some cases they decided not to even bother fixing the issues and accept the problems.

In the case of the Ford, just like with the F-35, they didn't even wait until the problems with the first carrier were mostly sorted out before starting on a second carrier.

China seems to be doing things in a much more gradual fashion. By catching issues early on and fixing them as they show up they are reaching maturity a lot faster than they would otherwise.
 
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Blitzo

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What do you mean?

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Yeah, that's an absolutely bizarre comment.
I don't use wikipedia often, but the wikipedia entry for the USN EMALS page actually has a decent summary of the history of the testing that the US did for EMALS, and it was quite thorough.


Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) Phase 1 concluded in late 2011 following 134 launches (aircraft types comprising the F/A-18E Super Hornet, T-45C Goshawk, C-2A Greyhound, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and F-35C Lightning II) using the EMALS demonstrator installed at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. On completion of ACT 1, the system was reconfigured to be more representative of the actual ship configuration on board the USS Gerald R. Ford, which will use four catapults sharing several energy storages and power conversion subsystems.

  • 1–2 June 2010: Successful launch of a McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk.
  • 9–10 June 2010: Successful launch of a Grumman C-2 Greyhound.
  • 18 December 2010: Successful launch of a Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet.
  • 27 September 2011: Successful launch of a Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.
  • 18 November 2011: Successful launch of a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
ACT Phase 2 began on 25 June 2013 and concluded on 6 April 2014 after a further 310 launches (including launches of the Boeing EA-18G Growler and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet, as well as another round of testing with aircraft types previously launched during Phase 1). In Phase 2, various carrier situations were simulated, including off-center launches and planned system faults, to demonstrate that aircraft could meet end-speed and validate launch-critical reliability.
  • June 2014: The Navy completed EMALS prototype testing of 450 manned aircraft launches involving every fixed-wing carrier-borne aircraft type in the USN inventory at Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst during two Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) campaigns.
  • May 2015: First full-speed shipboard tests conducted.
 

gelgoog

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That picture was taken 2 years before carrier ship launch, 2 years after being laid down.
Ford carrier was laid down in 2009.
And I remember a lot of people saying the aircraft wasn't tested with combat weight.
 

Blitzo

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That picture was taken 2 years before carrier ship launch, 2 years after being laid down.
Ford carrier was laid down in 2009.
And I remember a lot of people saying the aircraft wasn't tested with combat weight.

Read my post above.

Your previous statement: "Take the EMALS. They never launched an aircraft with EMALS on a land based test harness. Not even a mass payload simulator of similar bulk" -- is categorically false.

They had an extensive land based testing program for the EMALS across the full spectrum of their carrierborne aircraft, before beginning shipboard tests.
 

gelgoog

Colonel
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Yes. They finished the ground testing of the EMALS with ACT Phase 2 after the carrier was launched in 2013. And you consider this normal?!
So you make a system and start installing it on the ship before knowing with ground tests if it will work reliably?

It is just like I said, they started building the carrier without launching anything on the ground test site.

Wiki also says this: In the test configuration, EMALS could not launch fighter aircraft with external drop tanks mounted. "The Navy has developed fixes to correct these problems, but testing with manned aircraft to verify the fixes has been postponed to 2017"

So, launching with external drop tanks isn't even considered important, when the US Navy doesn't even have a dedicated tanker aircraft anymore relying on buddy-buddy refueling with the Super Hornet? Is this several billion dollar carrier supposed to operate within range of land based anti-ship missiles to release its aircraft or what?

Are you ignoring the rest of my comment, of them putting untested or poorly tested components into a system, and that causing problems? Just selectively quoting my comment?
 
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tphuang

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How can there be 5th gen number advantage? How many f35c are there?
USN is planning to procure about 257 F-35C and it has something like 648 F-18E/F. Since some of those F-35Cs will be land based, the actual number of F-35Cs per carrier deck will probably be around 14 to 20. A 003 or future Chinese carriers that carries 40+ fighter jet might have 28 to 40 J-35s and 12 to 16 J-15s (a rough guess from me). PLAN would very much welcome that type of matchup.

And even if we compare that to Wasp class and America class operated by USMC. You are going to see at most 20 F-35Bs per deck. So, you could see as many 5th gen aircraft per Chinese carrier as you would on one USN CSG and 1 USMC strike group. It would have as many AWACs and probably as many EW aircraft. The only missing piece is tankers.
 

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