CV-18 Fujian/003 CATOBAR carrier thread


Blitzo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
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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"

Wait wait.

First of all, your post in 8434 did not say anything about when EMALS land testing was finished.
What you wrote was "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."

You suggested there was no land testing of the EMALS at all.
My point is to first establish that there was extensive land testing of the USN EMALS on land before they began shipboard testing.


Now, to address your question here. Yes, the USN finished land based testing in 2014, after the carrier was launched in 2013.
I think that's fairly reasonable.

After all, for the PLAN, they've just launched Fujian a week ago -- we only have evidence that they've tested the dedicated catapult testbed frame J-15T from the land based EM catapults. We have no evidence of them having begun EM catapult launch testing of J-XY/35, or KJ-600. Heck, we can't even confirm if the service-intended J-15B catapult compatible variant has begun EM catapult testing.



So if you want to talk about concurrency, the PLAN right now as actually in a slightly worse position than the USN was back in 2013 when Ford was launched -- because at least the USN at that period already had E-2C/D be mature and in service, with F-18E/F and F-18C/D mature and in service in large numbers, and with F-35C's flight test program well underway (first flew mid 2010, which is three years before Ford was launched, whereas J-XY/35 only first flew a year before Fujian).
Now, this isn't to say I expect that Fujian and its airwing will suffer issues, because I think the PLAN has probably managed its programs fairly well in a stepwise manner.

But to suggest that the Ford and its EMALS and airwing was an example of the failure of concurrency is the pot calling the kettle black because Fujian and its EM catapult and its airwing is in someways as concurrent if not more concurrent in their development -- and it is also categorically incorrect to suggest that the EMALS did not have extensive land based testing prior to shipboard testing.
 
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gelgoog

Colonel
Registered Member
Extensive my foot. The US did not test launches with a full combat load until the ship was launched. And it is well known there were issues when using all catapults at max design load even after the ship was delivered. The EMALS also did not fulfill the required MTBF criteria as specified. Doing worse than the legacy steam cats. The expectation was they would solve it later. As if it would be easier to get the required MTBF in a marine environment.

Sure, the Chinese did not test the EMALS with the J-XY before carrier construction started. Because the aircraft was not ready yet. So they tested it with the J-15T. Which is a heavier aircraft. Several times. Before constructing the carrier's flat top. Not afterwards. There was design risk because they had to redesign the top half of the ship. But then again they had not started constructing that yet. They paused the carrier construction until they were sure the EMALS design was viable.

And we have satellite photos of the J-XY next to the J-15T in the EMALS land test facility. So there is a high probability they already tested it. KJ-600 is also not far away at the same site I think. Now, are those aircraft even in their final production configuration? For all we know they might not be. Will the Chinese carrier EMALS run without hickups? We do not know that either. I also kind of doubt it will. But I doubt it will take 4 years from launch to commission like the Ford did, and this is the first CATOBAR China has ever made. Well, we will see.
 

Blitzo

Lieutenant General
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Extensive my foot. The US did not test launches with a full combat load until the ship was launched. And it is well known there were issues when using all catapults at max design load even after the ship was delivered. The EMALS also did not fulfill the required MTBF criteria as specified. Doing worse than the legacy steam cats. The expectation was they would solve it later. As if it would be easier to get the required MTBF in a marine environment.

Sure, the Chinese did not test the EMALS with the J-XY before carrier construction started. Because the aircraft was not ready yet. So they tested it with the J-15T. Which is a heavier aircraft. Several times. Before constructing the carrier's flat top. Not afterwards. There was design risk because they had to redesign the top half of the ship. But then again they had not started constructing that yet. They paused the carrier construction until they were sure the EMALS design was viable.

And we have satellite photos of the J-XY next to the J-15T in the EMALS land test facility. So there is a high probability they already tested it. KJ-600 is also not far away at the same site I think. Now, are those aircraft even in their final production configuration? For all we know they might not be. Will the Chinese carrier EMALS run without hickups? We do not know that either. I also kind of doubt it will. But I doubt it will take 4 years from launch to commission like the Ford did, and this is the first CATOBAR China has ever made. Well, we will see.


To the best of our knowledge, the construction of carrier Fujian was paused to be redesigned from steam catapults to EM catapults, when the PLAN made the decision to swap.

If you want to call the USN's land based EMALS tests with their airwing prior to the launch of Ford as substandard and suffering from concurrency, then by definition the PLAN's land based testing of its EM catapults and its intended airwing prior to the launch of Fujian is as substandard and as concurrent, if not even worse.

There were other program management and engineering issues with the USN's EMALS, however a lack of land based testing and concurrency was not one of them.



Some of your arguments have merit, but you have overreached on a number of them, namely:
- You shouldn't have suggested that the US had never done land based testing of EMALS with aircraft. Your argument should have been more specific to refer to the period of time between milestones of land based EMALS testing and carrier construction/launch milestones.
- It is fair enough to argue that concurrency is not a good thing, but trying to hammer the Ford and EMALS for it without also acknowledging that the Fujian carrier and its EM catapults and its intended airwing (J-XY/35, J-15B, KJ-600) all have not been observed to have completed land based EM catapult testing, is hypocritical and selective.
 

gelgoog

Colonel
Registered Member
Geez. Just think of things this way. Are you getting MORE capability with the new system or LOSING capability?
In China's case being able to launch the J-15T with full combat load in the EMALS is MORE capability.
In the US's case being able to NOT launch any of the things they can already launch in existing prior carriers is LOSING capability.
So sorry, but the client's standards are not the same and cannot be the same.

The US Navy had plenty of other options. Like refurbishing one of their existing carriers for one more cycle. Pausing the construction of the Ford until the kinks were sorted out. They chose to continue. And double down on it.

I am not asking for the US Navy to test the EMALS with their non-existent drone refueling aircraft MQ-25A and delay the entry into service of the carrier because of that either. Nor do I expect the PLAN to stop construction on the unreasonable expectation of an aircraft which, at the time, probably had not even been downselected yet i.e. J-XY.

There is a limit to how independent you can make each element of a program without impacting the overall system design negatively in some way. I think China thus far has chosen a better program approach with 003 than the US did with the Ford class given their resource base. But there are still unknowns. And yes the 003 was a compromise. The design was changed late in to EMALS. But at least they paused it long enough that most of the risk should have been retired. Emphasis on should. The proof will be in the tasting.

China still has huge gaps to fill in terms of the aviation wings on all their carriers and LHDs. This will require a massive effort over the next decade and the US Navy's air complement is not a stationary target.
 
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Blitzo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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Geez. Just think of things this way. Are you getting MORE capability with the new system or LOSING capability?
In China's case being able to launch the J-15T with full combat load in the EMALS is MORE capability.
In the US's case being able to NOT launch any of the things they can already launch in existing prior carriers is LOSING capability.
So sorry, but the client's standards are not the same and cannot be the same.

The US Navy had plenty of other options. Like refurbishing one of their existing carriers for one more cycle. Pausing the construction of the Ford until the kinks were sorted out. They chose to continue. And double down on it.

I am not asking for the US Navy to test the EMALS with their non-existent drone refueling aircraft MQ-25A and delay the entry into service of the carrier because of that either. Nor do I expect the PLAN to stop construction on the unreasonable expectation of an aircraft which, at the time, probably had not even been downselected yet i.e. J-XY.

So what you are saying, is that in terms of expectations of program management, milestones, and concurrency, is that we should have different/lower standards for the PLAN's concurrency of EM catapults and airwing testing, compared to the USN's concurrency of EMALS and airwing testing, because of what capabilities they had prior?

That's certainly a unique argument, and one that I've never come across before.


Frankly, your original post 8434 seemed to be discussing the management and concurrency of the Ford's EM catapult and airwing on its own faults and merits.


Certainly, all of the discussion about 003's EM catapults and the development of its airwing over the last few years all discussed it on the basis of their own merits and the ability to prosecute a successful program in general, rather than accepting that we should accept concurrency and immaturity on the basis of 003 simply being a step up from the STOBAR CV-16/17.


In any case, I think you do now accept that your original post in 8434 was factually incorrect. Perhaps you had meant to make a different, less ambitious argument in that post, which is fine.
But the words written were not true.
 

Atomicfrog

Senior Member
Registered Member
The article mentioned emals overstressing the planes, and their reliability is much lower than that of steam catapults. Does the Chinese system have the same problems?
We will see, They had problems on Ford about modulation of the emals power. It was designed to be able to do it but it have taken a while before it worked good on the carrier, problems are supposedly solved and all types can be launched from 2020.

Reliability is a mess tho. The electromagnetic-powered catapult system is supposed to operate 4,166 “cycles,” or launches, between operational mission failures. Instead, it went 181 cycles between failures in post-delivery trials from November 2019 through September 2020. They are working to solve these issues.

We will see if the Chinese system will work good or not in sea trials but i'm not sure if they will be vocal about troubles or not. They probably looked upon the problems the US Navy have passed through.
 

ashnole

New Member
Registered Member
So installing EMALS as a waist catapult on Liaoning and Shandong would have eaten up more space, and is very likely that the launch position of the waist EMALS catapult would interfere with the arresting gear systems loacted at the rear part of the flight deck.

Secondly, compare and contrast the flight deck layout of the Ford (above) and Fujian (below).
View attachment 91390

Not sure if this information is true, but I have heard that the EMALS catapults that were later added onboard Fujian are considerably longer than the steam catapults that were originally part of the initial design plans. The increased length of the new EMALS catapults means that the jet blast deflector (JBD) right behind the launch position for the 2nd catapult (front port side) is actually interfering with the landing deck of the flight deck.

Which isn't exactly ideal, so to speak.
Yes, that true. During simultaneous launch & recovery operations, only one bow catapult will be available for use on the Fujian.

It's a design flaw that I'm sure will be rectified in the next Carrier PLAN builds. Perhaps they will increase the length of the Carrier a bit more to solve this problem.

Also they will need to change the alignment angle of the port-side bow catapult with respect to the starboard-side bow catapult. It will free up some space between the landing deck and the port-side bow catapult as a result of which the unavailability problem of port-side bow catapult during simultaneous landing will be solved. US Navy Carriers have solved this problem just by tweaking the alignment angle.

FujianVSFord.png
 

ashnole

New Member
Registered Member
The CDG is a much smaller CVN in every respect - shorter, narrower and at 42,000 tonnes, decidedly smaller than 16 and 17, let alone 003.

The PANG on the other hand, with a projected displacement of 75,000 tonnes, will be a closer comparison to 003. It'll be at least 5,000 tonnes lighter still, but like the CDG it will also be nuclear-powered and employ EMALS (2 catapults) sourced from the US.
PANG is one of the stupidest new Carrier under development. Imagine paying for & building something as large as a 75,000t Carrier and then going for just two catapults, only one of which shall be available for use most of the time because the waist catapult overlaps the landing strip. *FACEPALM*

Even the Indians, who have done preliminary design of a future 72,000t+ catobar carrier even though they aren't going to start building it before 2032-33, are looking at three catapults (2 bow + 1 waist) and three aircraft lifts (2 starboard + 1 port).
 

Helius

Junior Member
Registered Member
Geez. Just think of things this way. Are you getting MORE capability with the new system or LOSING capability?
In China's case being able to launch the J-15T with full combat load in the EMALS is MORE capability.
In the US's case being able to NOT launch any of the things they can already launch in existing prior carriers is LOSING capability.
So sorry, but the client's standards are not the same and cannot be the same.

The US Navy had plenty of other options. Like refurbishing one of their existing carriers for one more cycle. Pausing the construction of the Ford until the kinks were sorted out. They chose to continue. And double down on it.

I am not asking for the US Navy to test the EMALS with their non-existent drone refueling aircraft MQ-25A and delay the entry into service of the carrier because of that either. Nor do I expect the PLAN to stop construction on the unreasonable expectation of an aircraft which, at the time, probably had not even been downselected yet i.e. J-XY.

There is a limit to how independent you can make each element of a program without impacting the overall system design negatively in some way. I think China thus far has chosen a better program approach with 003 than the US did with the Ford class given their resource base. But there are still unknowns. And yes the 003 was a compromise. The design was changed late in to EMALS. But at least they paused it long enough that most of the risk should have been retired. Emphasis on should. The proof will be in the tasting.

China still has huge gaps to fill in terms of the aviation wings on all their carriers and LHDs. This will require a massive effort over the next decade and the US Navy's air complement is not a stationary target.

So what you are saying, is that in terms of expectations of program management, milestones, and concurrency, is that we should have different/lower standards for the PLAN's concurrency of EM catapults and airwing testing, compared to the USN's concurrency of EMALS and airwing testing, because of what capabilities they had prior?

That's certainly a unique argument, and one that I've never come across before.


Frankly, your original post 8434 seemed to be discussing the management and concurrency of the Ford's EM catapult and airwing on its own faults and merits.


Certainly, all of the discussion about 003's EM catapults and the development of its airwing over the last few years all discussed it on the basis of their own merits and the ability to prosecute a successful program in general, rather than accepting that we should accept concurrency and immaturity on the basis of 003 simply being a step up from the STOBAR CV-16/17.


In any case, I think you do now accept that your original post in 8434 was factually incorrect. Perhaps you had meant to make a different, less ambitious argument in that post, which is fine.
But the words written were not true.

Not to debate what someone said or didn't say in their postings, but on the actual relevant matter to this topic, I don't think the PLAN's EMALS programme should be viewed with different standards to that of the USN simply on the perceived notion that just because -

- the PLAN is 'gaining capabilities' with their EMALS, or just catapults, period, steam or magnetic; and

- that the USN is 'losing capabilities' with theirs,

that their respective expectations attribute to this differing standards, and that concurrency for one is not the same as concurrency for the other, or, in Blitzo's words, that it is "hypocritical and selective".

The PLAN's expectations from their EMALS could very well be different to that of the USN, not least because of the obvious difference in intended airwings for either navies. Unlike the US EMALS programme, we can all agree we don't have as detailed of a timeline for the PLAN's EMALS testing history. We simply don't know precisely what the PLAN had tested or not tested with their ground rigs and the milestones therefrom, as directly compared to the milestones from the US side in the same timeframe.

On the face of it, an argument can be made the PLAN could be in 'worse' spot than the USN where concurrency goes, on the simple fact that none of the intended airframes for 003, as far as we know, are in serial production, let alone in active service. As such we have no evidence whether the PLAN had already tested any final production examples of J-15B, J-XY, KJ-600 etc. other than what few clues we have like the confirmed testing of the J-15T.

But all that i.e. the availability of airframes, is not particular to the readiness of the EMALS itself. An argument can also be made, like gelgoog mentioned, that for all we know the PLAN had indeed tested at least pre-production examples of each on the land-based EMALS, at the very least the J-15T, before re-design and construction/modification on 003's deck had begun.

This is evidently in contrast to the USN's timeline for their own land tests, as already discussed and we can also all agree, that has shown testing for their airwing, which had all long since been in service or readiness, did not begin until well after construction on the Ford, especially with the EMALS as an integral part of its design from the very beginning, mind, had already begun in earnest.

So if one were to argue concurrency, the PLAN may have a tougher hill to climb for having to tackle not just the EMALS and 003's re-design thereof at the same time, but also the airwing itself that both will accommodate; whereas the USN doesn't have that "excuse" in the airwing department for not testing them on their ground rigs before Ford's construction was already well underway, let alone finalising her design work in the first place.

Going back to the matter of applying a different standard on PLAN EMALS vis-a-vis USN EMALS, I don't think it would necessarily be 'hypocritical' to view each with their own faults and merits like Blitzo said, not least because of the inherent differences in realities for either programmes, despite their also inherent similarity that both are in fact EMALS. It can be as apples-to-apples or apples-to-oranges as we want to make them.

I reckon one of the simple outcomes we can infer when the PLAN gets around to properly testing the EMALS on the 003, in order to attempt to settle this debate, is to look at its eventual MCBCF as compared to the PLAN's own requirement of acceptable MCBCF. If the PLAN requirement is lower or higher than that of the USN's 4,000+ between failures (US EMALS failed every 400 cycles), then this apples-to-apples argument would be somewhat moot as the expectations and resulting standards would indeed be different.

Even if we were to bring concurrency into the debate still, all we have to see is whether the PLAN will suffer from the same ten-fold deficiency in mean cycles between critical failures against their own required standard, as the USN did.
 

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