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Would The USN Sell Used Aircraft Carriers?  
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4681 posts, RR: 3
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5999 times:

Hi guys,

the question is purely hypothetical. I currently don't know which Navies could use one, but let's assume one would be interested. Would the USN (or should I rather say: the politicians in charge) be willing to sell? Of course, not to Iran or similar countries!

It seems there is enough supply: The Forrestals and the remaining Kitty Hawks could be sold. I know some of these will become museum ships or will be sunk as artificial reefs, but somehow that's a bit of a waste.


I'd like to hear your opinions on this.

A342


Exceptions confirm the rule.
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16857 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5995 times:

Not at all, for a variety of reasons.


Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5967 times:
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I don't see it ever happening for two main reasons.

Number one: No one else can afford to operate US style carriers. Dude...seriously....who's got 75 planes they can spare for a carrier besides us? More than that who's willing to buy three new frigates with AAW and ASW capabilities, and the submarines that have to accompany it? Not to mention the AOE type vessels to keep it supplied? We haven't even gotten to the shore based schooling and logistics system needed to keep the thing going. There was a rumor that the Saratoga was going to be sold to the Brazilians, but they got the Foch instead and keep it flying half the airplanes it was intended to carry.

Number two: We don't want anyone else operating US style carriers.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineLumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 20
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5963 times:

In a word: no.

First, it's not just a question of buying the ship, a very old ship at that. Even if one were willing to invest in the SLEP required to re-fit the carrier to fighting trim, there's the question of training a crew, sustaining the force, purchasing the air wing, training the air wing, the incredible logistic tail involved in the care and feeding of the ship, it's aircraft, and the crew. It doesn't spring up overnight. It's not just a question of having the financial means, but having the infrastructure to support it after acquisition.

Then there are the political issues of selling the thing. For example, say the Japanese wanted to buy the JFK. Wouldn't the Chinese have a fit? Or the Russians?

Better we make reefs.



"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
User currently offlineKevinSmith From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5896 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 2):

Number one: No one else can afford to operate US style carriers.

I agree. I think that is the primary reason why.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 2):
Number two: We don't want anyone else operating US style carriers.

I can see some exceptions. One might be the UK of they ever decided to get back in the "big" (CVF aside) carrier game. I could also see the French wanting to buy one from us. I can especially see that happening after the new US carrier class CVX takes to sea.


User currently offlineLumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5855 times:

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 4):
I can see some exceptions. One might be the UK of they ever decided to get back in the "big" (CVF aside) carrier game. I could also see the French wanting to buy one from us. I can especially see that happening after the new US carrier class CVX takes to sea.

They could, but both of these countries are concerned with their indigenous shipbuilding capability atrophying. Not to start a tiring and annoying debate such as we've got on USAF Tankers Part XLIII and Part XLIV, but they feel that this is a capability they would like to retain and nurture. The French have build the only non-US nuclear carrier. I suspect the Brits would collaborate on a new one, rather than adopt a cast-off.



"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
User currently offlineKevinSmith From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5844 times:

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 5):
start a tiring and annoying debate such as we've got on USAF Tankers Part XLIII and Part XLIV,

And how!!!!
No worries. You won't see me starting one of those.


User currently offlineTexL1649 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 295 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5830 times:

Heh, I just had to chuckle at the thought of the last time the US Navy was involved with a Japanese carrier.

User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5795 times:
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Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 4):
I can see some exceptions. One might be the UK of they ever decided to get back in the "big" (CVF aside) carrier game. I could also see the French wanting to buy one from us. I can especially see that happening after the new US carrier class CVX takes to sea.

But the difference between French/British type carriers, both extant and on the drawing board, is that they're the size of our LHD vessels or a little larger at best.

The CV's we have are 40 to 60k tons heavier and can carry two to three times the aircraft.

The only real exceptions we'd make about who we'd sell the things to wouldn't buy them....Japan or Germany can't due to their constitution, and the French and British have their own deals.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29795 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5789 times:

Quite a number of ex-USN escort carriers ended up in other countries hands after WWII.

But I don't see any other countries being able to make the investment.

In fact seeing how careful they where about where they disposed of the Oriskany and the America I doubt they would consider it today.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3588 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5729 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
In fact seeing how careful they where about where they disposed of the Oriskany and the America I doubt they would consider it today.

I can see about being careful of the America, but the Oriskany design, I would think had lost it value.


User currently offlineRTFM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5708 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
But the difference between French/British type carriers, both extant and on the drawing board, is that they're the size of our LHD vessels or a little larger at best.

The CV's we have are 40 to 60k tons heavier and can carry two to three times the aircraft.

Not quite... the new UK/FR CVF design is planned at 65k tons versus 90k tons for Nimitz class. Apparently when the UK government started looking at options for a future carrier, one of those options was purchasing one or more second-hand USN carriers. The main issue that counted against it was the cost of conversion at the end of which the RN would still end up with a 20/30 year old basic design.

There's some more history of the RN's CVF project on this thread:

BBC: CVF Officially Confirmed (by N328KF Jul 25 2007 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 846 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5699 times:

Could you imagine if Australia bought one, it would take our entire F/A-18 fighter force to man that one ship!

Quoting Lumberton (Reply 3):
First, it's not just a question of buying the ship, a very old ship at that. Even if one were willing to invest in the SLEP required to re-fit the carrier to fighting trim, there's the question of training a crew, sustaining the force, purchasing the air wing, training the air wing, the incredible logistic tail involved in the care and feeding of the ship, it's aircraft, and the crew. It doesn't spring up overnight. It's not just a question of having the financial means, but having the infrastructure to support it after acquisition.

Exactly, there are few western navies with the required manning for their own vessels, let alone the acquisition of a supercarrier.

On a side-note...

Quoting RTFM (Reply 11):
Apparently when the UK government started looking at options for a future carrier,

Any idea where HMS Invincible will go? I have heard varying reports that post 2010 she will be sold to the Indians, used as a museum or simply scrapped. Most nations now see the value of a large Amphib type vessel that also supports aviation assets up to a VTOL although how much of this will translate into F-35B sales is another matter. Could the Invincible be altered such as Ark Royal to do this role for a smaller nation wanted the capability cheap?

I guess this is the only carrier capable ship to be up for sale in the next few years and a more realistic size than a USN carrier.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5672 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
Any idea where HMS Invincible will go? I have heard varying reports that post 2010 she will be sold to the Indians, used as a museum or simply scrapped.

There is a campaign afoot for her to be turned into a museum ship. It's something I would happily lend my support to, not least because she's actually quite important historically, being a rare modern example of a genuinely fighting warship, given her history. And the Invincibles are an outstanding instance of design ingenuity in the face of the beancounters objections.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13184 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5648 times:

I agree with Banco on HMS Invincible.

When the CVA-01 project was scrapped in 1966, the US did apparently offer a couple of carriers, but this was not taken up for a number of reasons, (this is also often mixed up with the Falklands in 1982).

1) Cancelling CVA-01 (aside from it's expense and very unsatisfactory design), was in part, a change of strategy as well as recognising a reality. That the UK in the 60's could no longer afford both a very substantial commitment to NATO as well as a large 'East Of Suez' presence. This was not a intention of the Wilson government on taking office in 1964, but then the books were opened, as well as the general tide of opinion against Western forces being stationed, even with local governmental consent, was starting to fray.
For example, the rulers of Bahrain nominally supported UK forces, but also funded a (peaceful) campaign to have them removed.
Then there was Aden....

2) These US ships, though any offered would be in good condition, totally differed from the RN fleet in just about every way, not just weapons and sensors. Sticking Type 965, 992 radars and SeaCat SAM's on them would have been a tiny amount of the work involved.
The RN had F-4K's and Buccaneers, the Buccs could operate from them (a small number, 6-8 operated off 30,000 ton HMS Hermes), but F-4K's would be problematic. One reason the USN was not using them, lack of 'Phantomisation'.

3) These vessels would last in 1966, another 15 or at best, 20 years. Not much longer than at that time, than existing RN Carriers would. (Ark Royal did until 1978, Hermes could of well into the 1980's, HMS Eagle's early 60's re-fit, finishing in late 1964, gave the vessel another 20 years of life. But for some reason, a small, extra re-fit, to operate F-4K's was not done, and she went in 1972. The Ark Royal, mechanically inferior, was instead run on to operate F-4K's)

4) Another reason CVA-01 was axed, was that even the RN admitted they would have great difficulty manning just one CVA, even running the existing force meant other ships were denied crews.
This would have been the same for ex USN carriers.

In 1982, there were rumours, that have persisted, that if need be, a USN LPH would be given to the UK if things in the Falklands went bad.
Here the same issues with incompatibility come up, lead times too.
While the LPH HMS Bulwark, retired the previous year, was looked at, it was in very poor condition. However a new carrier was emerging, the brand new HMS Illustrious. Massively accelerated sea and acceptance trials, had it commissioned by July 1982, nearly a year ahead of schedule. It would provide air cover post war, in the South Atlantic, before the Port Stanley runway was extended as a temporary base for RAF Phantoms, from October 1982.


User currently offlineLumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5584 times:

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 7):
Heh, I just had to chuckle at the thought of the last time the US Navy was involved with a Japanese carrier.

Last time maybe; first time wasn't fun, for sure.  Wink

I genuinely hope the UK stays with CVF all the way. At some point, these large programs become huge targets for budget cutters.



"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5571 times:

I doubt any country will want to go through a very expensive refit of a 40+ year old ship. When the USN decommissions a CV, it is very worn out. The cost to extend the life of a 40 year old CV for another 20-25 years would be approaching the cost of a new build CVF.

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 846 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 5467 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 13):

Thanks for the info, it would be a shame to see it scrapped. I had heard though that HMS Invincible would be very little value as a museum as it will have been stripped bare by 2010 to ensure Illustrious and Ark Royal are usable.

Quoting GDB (Reply 14):

That's a great history of the UK carrier drama, perhaps you should think about writing a book about it all when (if) the new carriers finally hit the fleet?

Quoting GDB (Reply 14):
In 1982, there were rumours, that have persisted, that if need be, a USN LPH would be given to the UK if things in the Falklands went bad.

Would this have added to the lend lease debt?  Wink

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
I doubt any country will want to go through a very expensive refit of a 40+ year old ship

Are the USN carriers built to a different standard than other US ships? They see heavy use over their lifetimes and yet are expected to remain in service for 50 years (in the case of the CVNs). Compare this to a DDG-51 which are expected to serve for 35. Do the multi billion SLEP refit really extend the life of a CVN that far?


User currently offlineDa man From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 887 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5432 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 17):
Would this have added to the lend lease debt?

I would imagine so, especially since I remember a few years ago it was a big deal in the news that Great Britain had finally paid off all of their lend lease debt.



War Eagle!
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5425 times:
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Quoting GDB (Reply 14):
When the CVA-01 project was scrapped in 1966, the US did apparently offer a couple of carriers,

I thought we offered a couple of the older attack carriers, Bennington and Hornet IIRC. They were in good shape at the time and could have been used with F-4s which the RN was employing on their fleet carriers.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13184 posts, RR: 77
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5342 times:

DL021, interesting, would they have needed modification for F-4's though?
I understood the ones offered retained F-8's.

Even so, the die was cast, the Defence Minister who (reluctantly) axed the carriers, gave the RN every opportunity to make a case for carrier retention, if not the flawed CVA-01, than an extension as far as possible for Eagle and Ark Royal .
They only came up with a prolonged battle with Indonesian Migs, just at the limits of the RAF force in Singapore operating ranges, but in early 1966, the 'confrontation' in Borneo was being won, soon after, the Indonesian regime that started it, collapsed and turned away from the USSR sphere of influence.

What they did not do, was wargame an Argentine invasion of the Falklands!
In fact the RN's attitude was 'the Navy is the Navy, if you do not understand that, you're in the wrong job', something they'd repeat in the run up to the planned cuts announced in 1981, that only the Argentine Junta prevented the worst of.
By contrast in the mid 60's, the RAF had able legally trained officers, full of flip charts and graphs, they even got away with 'moving' Australia several hundred miles north to demonstrate they could, from bases there post UK pullout from Singapore, support any RN task group if one were needed!

Ark Royal, was given an on the surface big refit to operate F-4's, but this did not include upgrading it's cranky machinery, unlike on HMS Eagles one a few years before.
Also, the sensor and C3 fit was not to the same standard as Eagles.
The incoming Tory government of Edward Heath, in 1970, went back on pre election pledges to re-fit Eagle for F-4's (a quite small task), and improve Ark Royal, allowing them both to operate until the end of the 1970's, perhaps a bit longer that that even.

If the RN had played it's cards better in 1965/66, it still would have lost CVA-01, but retaining longer and investing more in carrier aviation, might well have meant bigger versions of the Invincible Class, around the size of HMS Hermes.
As well as a more dedicated Maritime VSTOL, derived from the kind of improved VSTOL that Hawkers at Kingston were designing for the RAF in the late 60's/early 70's, not over- ambitious supersonic VSTOL like the cancelled P.1154, rather types around the same size as Harrier, but with bigger wings, revised internal design, for more range, more payload.
Sort of like a proto-AV-8B with better performance beyond being a (very good) bomb truck.


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5312 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 8):
The only real exceptions we'd make about who we'd sell the things to wouldn't buy them....Japan or Germany can't due to their constitution, and the French and British have their own deals.

Do you know something about the German constitution I don't?  Confused There would be no legal problem for Germany buying or building an own super carrier. Of course politics would prevent it.


There are at least a handful of nations who could technically afford operating super carriers, not in high numbers, though.
Size wise the difference between the Forrestals and the Kitty Hawks (which were mentioned by the thread starter and the CVF isn't that big. But as you said the French and the Brits have their own deals. The Chinese could afford operating super carriers, too - but obviously the US would never sell them one. I dunno about the Japanese constitution, but I would guess they would rather build their own carriers.

pelican


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4681 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5302 times:

Quoting Pelican (Reply 21):
Size wise the difference between the Forrestals and the Kitty Hawks (which were mentioned by the thread starter and the CVF isn't that big. But as you said the French and the Brits have their own deals. The Chinese could afford operating super carriers, too - but obviously the US would never sell them one. I dunno about the Japanese constitution, but I would guess they would rather build their own carriers.

What about India? The efforts to convert the Admiral Gorshkov for MiG-29K service seem to be substantial.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently onlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 878 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5296 times:

Quoting Pelican (Reply 21):
Size wise the difference between the Forrestals and the Kitty Hawks (which were mentioned by the thread starter and the CVF isn't that big.

15,000 tons is substantially bigger. The ships are substantially longer and wider as well.

CVF is about as close to a Forrestal as it is to the new class of Amphibious Warfare ships being built in the United States. So if you are going to say the difference is not that much then you would have to say it is not that much in the other direction as well.

You would have to add 23% to the size of a CVF to get it to the size of a Forrestal class ship, they are not all that similar when it comes to size. That being said it is a perfectly just criticism to say that for another 10-15,000 tons you could get a really capable ship rather than a moderatly capable one.


User currently offlineLumberton From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 4708 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5293 times:

Quoting A342 (Reply 22):
What about India? The efforts to convert the Admiral Gorshkov for MiG-29K service seem to be substantial.

The latest according to an article in Flight Global is that it will be delayed until 2011.
Indian Navy Carrier Delayed--Wiring Problems! (by Lumberton May 1 2007 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

Edit: another consideration for these old ships is that they have oil fired steam boilers. Not many people around that operate these things anymore, unless you want to scour around for a few old sea dogs!

[Edited 2007-08-10 20:49:51]


"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
25 GDB : BigJKU, absolute size, tonnage, is only part of the story though. CVF, with 50 years on technology, will be more space efficient, in terms of the prop
26 BigJKU : While this is somewhat true it ignores the fact that airplanes on a conventional carrier are substantially more capable in terms of range and payload
27 747400sp : USN carriers maybe the strongest, most sea worthy and best ships built today, a battleship is only ship I could think of, that can surpass an USN car
28 Pelican : Point taken. But I doubt a nation that can afford to operate a CVF could not afford to operate a Forrestal or Kitty Hawk class carrier. Sooner or lat
29 Da man : GDB is correct I believe. The Essex class carriers (of which Bennington [CV-20] and Hornet [CV-12]) were members of retained the F-8 when the rest of
30 GDB : BigJKU, but the RN last operated a conventional carrier in 1978, 36 years on from CVF's planned commissioning. To get the project approved, the aircra
31 Banco : Even that wasn't an option. The Sea Harriers have already gone, the RN taking the hit of a capability gap by foregoing a potential Sea Harrier upgrad
32 Jwenting : They did in the past... The USN sold quite a few carriers in the past, mainly ex-WW2 Essex class fleet carriers which were laid up in the 1950s and '
33 Post contains links Da man : I think you're mistaken. None of the Essex-class carriers were sold to foreign operators. The countries you listed operated surplus British carriers
34 L-188 : Those where all british carriers, vessels of the same class also ended up in the navies of Canada and Australia. Only the escort carriers where sold
35 DesertJets : Partially correct, the three CVs sold to foreign navies were Independence class CVLs, not the CVEs. CVL 24 USS Belleau Wood --> France as the Bois Be
36 GDB : I agree Banco, it was a mistake I think, to buy new Sea Harriers in the 1990's, instead the Sea Vixen radar/AMRAAM missile should have been integrated
37 L-188 : I stand corrected.
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