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hemispheres
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Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:04 am

I seem to remember reading in a post a while back, (which I can't find), that a couple of Russian fighter aircraft got close enough to buzz the deck of the Kitty Hawk. Does anyone know anything about this?

Merry New Year
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vzlet
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 4:57 am

Capt. Kevin Wensing, a spokesman for the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, said during the Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 [2000] incidents the Russian aircraft came only within several miles of the ship as it cruised in the northern Sea of Japan, between the island of Hokkaido and the Russian mainland.

During the Oct. 17 incident, Wensing said, the Kitty Hawk was in the midst of an underway replenishment in the same area. The Washington Times, quoting unnamed Navy sources, said the two Russian aircraft — an SU-24 Fencer and an SU-27 Flanker — buzzed the Kitty Hawk’s tower at an altitude of about 200 feet.


Entire article at: http://www.pstripes.com/dec00/ed120900a.html
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:11 am

Wow, someone really dropped the ball on this. Granted, the boat was in an UNREP situation, with VERTREP being accomplished on the flight deck, but still...where were the Combat/CIC/CATCC guys? Where was the BARCAP? I guess since this is "peacetime", they don't have to be looking as hard.

If anything the Russians did us a favor....showed us our fly is down.

DeltaGuy
 
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keesje
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:40 am

It was a Fencer and a Flanker..

They made some low level high speed passes

After some time the Kitty managed to launch a Prowler to intercept them.

The Flanker a off course a good time circling the Prowler in a all imaginable ways.

The pilot of he Prowler is yelling for assistance,

Next day the Commander of Kitty receives a few high-res photos by e-mail.

They show the deck of the Kitty with lots of people looking up and running around in panic..

The several miles story ended when Russian leaked the photo´s on internet.
 
PPGMD
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:42 am

Sure it didn't look good, but if we really wanted them shot down, they would have been without launching a single fighter.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:44 am

Erm...a Prowler to do an intercept? I think you need to get your facts straight, Keesje - a pair of Hornets were scrambled. Maybe read the actual news article that was posted?
 
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keesje
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:02 am

One of the pictures of the Fencer I mentioned:



Eye witness report:
Anyways, I'm sitting there bullshitting with my XO who is also getting his qual and we hear on the CO's squawk box a call from CIC (Combat Info Ctr). They said,"Sir, we are getting indications of Russian fighter activity." His first response was,"launch the alert fighters." Combat told him the highest alerts were Alert 30's.

The Captain got pissed and said "launch everything we got ASAP!" I ran to the Navigators phone and called the SDO. Our squadron didn't have alert duty that day, bummer, so I told him to find out who did and to get their ass moving up to the flight deck (only alert 7's are you actually sitting on the flight deck ready to go, alert 30's means you are in the ready room). Anyways, 40 min after the CO called away the alerts, a Russian Su-27 Flanker and Su-24 Fencer made a 500 knot, 200 foot pass directly over the tower...it was just like in Top Gun, shoes on the bridge spilled coffee and everyone said,"Holllllllly shitttt!". I looked at the captain at this point and his face was red. He looked like he just walked in on his wife getting boned by a Marine. The Sukoi's made 2 more high speed, low altitude passes before
we finally launched the first aircraft off the deck...an EA-6B Prowler! That's right. We launched a ****ing Prowler and he ended up in a 1 v 1 with a Flanker just in front of the ship. The Flanker was all over his ass (kind of like a bear batting around a little bunny right before he eats it). He was screaming for help when finally a Hornet from our sister squadron (I use this term in its literal sense because they looked like a bunch of ****ing girls playing with the Sukoi's they way they did) got off the deck and made the intercept. It was too late. The entire crew watched overhead as the Russians made a mockery of our feeble attempt of intercepting them albeit totally OBE. The funny part of the story was the Admiral and the CAG were in there morning meeting in the War Room and they were interupted by the thundering roar of the Russians buzzing the tower. A CAG staff dude told me they looked at each other and looked at our Airplanes, noticed we didn't have flights scheduled until a few hours from now, and said," what was that?" "Four days later the Russian intelligence agency emailed the CO of the Kitty Hawk and enclosed pictures they had taken of dudes scrambling around the flight deck frantically trying to get airborne. I'm quite sure the ****ing loser shoe boy in charge of our battle group's air defense was fired

http://www.mipc.net/Flyby%20by%20JO.htm
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:39 am

Also note at the top Without vouching for the accuracy of the following, it's always interesting to get the junior officer perspective (I have no idea who the teller is)

I just find it a bit unbelievable that an aircraft with zero air-to-air capability would be scrambled...
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:04 am

Well, if that's all they had, that's pretty sad that they send a Prowler up..what are they gonna do, jam them to death? Not to mention, pilots on that jet don't really get ACM training like the Hornet/Tomcat boys do.

I'm amazed that they only thing they had going was an Alert 30, not a Ready Alert 15 or something....5 would be too much for such conditions, but still....the Ruskies just wanted to mess with us, and they enjoyed it well. I'm suprised the CO/CAG/Admiral weren't handed their asses on this.

Now my question is, where was the boat/where did the Russians come from/Why did they feel like doing a flyby? I thought we were supposedly "friends" with them for now. This should be a serious wakeup call, because next time, it could be Iranian/Chinese fighters.

DeltaGuy
 
LMP737
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:42 am

I question the validity of that "first person" account. In my four years in the navy I never heard the island of a carrier called the "tower". I've heard it called the island or even the bridge. Or the "war room" , what the hell is that. If the author said captains cabin, CIC or pri fri that would be more believable.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:50 am

LMP - To further muddy the issue, the Stars and Stripes article also refers to the island as the "tower."
 
dl021
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 10:20 am

I don't really care if we launched a Prowler or a Bearcat. The incident happened and to allow an unknown aircraft to approach to within launch range of our multi-billion dollar battle group is not just embarrassing but inexcusable. I have to assume that the escorts were tracking the Russians and could have removed them if called upon, but we should not ever...EVER...allow non-US aircraft that close without permission and escort.

The Russian who directed this should be given a medal for making us wake up and pay attention.
 
SATL382G
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 11:23 am

Not likely the Russian aircraft were unknown targets...

Was battle group even present? Was Kitty Hawk on a day trip? Keep in mind Kitty Hawk is homeported in Japan...

Too many unknowns, based on the information presented, to draw any conclusions...
 
IntruderPC
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 12:49 pm

I find it hard to believe that there was not an "alert 5" A/C if they were in those international waters. Yes the Russkis are our "friends" right now but outside of CONUS aren't they supposed to have at least one? I know they have to have "alert 15's" so what was the foul up? It sounds like our military is less ready than our home forces. I would think the Admiral?CAG/CO all took a some flak from the top brass over this one.
 
L-188
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:33 pm

I'm quite sure the ****ing loser shoe boy in charge of our battle group's air defense was fired

Translation:He got promoted.

I can only hope there where a couple of escorts lighting up those aircraft with their systems.

Of course the russians had to figure that there was no chance they would shot anyway, so what if their RWR gear was going nuts.
 
AAR90
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:50 pm

I question the validity of that "first person" account. In my four years in the navy I never heard the island of a carrier called the "tower".

Supposedly he's an "airdale" and Pri-Fly is often refered to as the "Tower." However, the island structure is never referred to as the tower.

Or the "war room" , what the hell is that. If the author said captains cabin, CIC or pri fri that would be more believable.

Admiral's country contains an operations area commonly called "the War Room" [been there many times]. However, a morning CAG/Admiral meeting would normally be held in the Admiral's quarters... there are few chairs in the War Room [many maps/charts/computers/etc...].

There is much else in that "first person" account that does not jive with a junior airdale's life aboard an aircraft carrier [i.e. there are no seats to be "sitting" on the bridge; one does not "bs" with a squadron XO getting his underway replenishment shiphandling qualifications (he's definitely not staying in one place or "bs-ing" with anybody; the CO of a ship always knows the alert status of his airwing, etc., etc., etc.

I find it hard to believe that there was not an "alert 5" A/C if they were in those international waters.

Peacetime rules normally set by State Department (civilians). USN is constantly arguing their CV's "posture" with State Dept. folks who think they can "order" CV's (they can not directly, but they can and do pressure Defense Dept. to direct specific CV readiness postures). As noted elsewhere, K.H. is forward deployed in Japan so a Sea-of-Japan "cruise" without escorts or airwing in A-5 status is not unusual [JASDF normally provides coverage if the CV is in A-30 status].

...but outside of CONUS aren't they supposed to have at least one? I know they have to have "alert 15's" so what was the foul up?

Not always true on both counts. Even during the Cold War we [Big-E/CVW-11] were often ordered to maintain A-30 status only. The way we handled those situations [after the admiral finishes blowing his stack at "higher authorities"] was to send an E2C on a PMCF [amazing how we always needed a maintence flight at those times  Big thumbs up] and the aircrews who would normally make-up the A-5/A-15 crews would be receiving survival gear "refresher training" [requires doning full flight gear] in their ready rooms.  Wink/being sarcastic Plane captains would even "exercise" their planes' avionics [have them flight ready]...all coincidentally of course. I'm sure the flight deck crews' spotting of airplanes was coincidental as well.  Big grin

I would think the Admiral?CAG/CO all took a some flak from the top brass over this one.

If memory serves: Admiral was "allowed" to retire prior to the scheduled end of his tour; CAG and CV CO's were "passed over" for promotions (rumor had it they were the only selectees not actually promoted); CAG Ops and CV Ops officers were "allowed" to retire early [FitReps would have killed their careers anyway] and a couple of squadron CO's received less than stellar FitReps.

USN policy is NO UNESCORTED FLYBYS... EVER! NO EXCUSES!!!
 
dl021
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:35 am

Well the policy may be in place, but the execution was lacking.

If JASDF was supposed to be flying air cover, where were they? WHy are we relying on someone else to provide air cover? I would think the Navy would be reluctant to rely on our own Air Force for force protection, much less someone elses...even our well trained and equipped allies in Japan.

Can you explain to me why we would send out a carrier to the Sea of Japan without even an escort? I read you to say that cruises there commonly do without escorts....what protects the carrier against someone with a Kilo class sub waiting for it? Not to sound paranoid but its a possibility.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:29 am

I´ve got a colleague, who used to be a colonel in the Soviet and later Russian airforce as a fighter pilot (he flew MiG-21, Migs-23 and Migs-27). From what I´ve heard from his stories, Russian fighter pilots like hot rodding and taking the p*ss just as much as their western counterparts.

Jan
 
dl021
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Thu Dec 30, 2004 6:56 am

I think it is a safe assumption that fighter pilot attitude is universal and transcends language and culture.

A 24 year old man wearing a mach two capable flightsuit. I know I would have done something eternally cool that I hoped not to be caught doing.
 
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keesje
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:14 am

OK, my source might be not the most reliable.

If its make you feel more comfortable please stick to the "Stars & Stripes" version of the Incident.

Who would doubt the "Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet"

BTW, good picture from "several miles"

 
Woodreau
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:34 am

Well it doesn't help then, but now it's Pacific Fleet policy to have every carrier escorted by at least one escort west of 180.

If the CO gives an order to launch anything, someone doesn't just call the squadron. It may seem to make things happen, but the squadron can't really do anything, because someone also needs to let the flight deck know that aircraft need to get launched. If the ship is not at the appropriate point of the deck cycle, it takes a lot momentum to change things to get an aircraft launched. The carrier isn't set up to do 24 hour ops.

There is a organization which takes care of the items required to implement the CO's desire to launch the alert aircraft.

A typical sequence that should have happened: The OOD on the bridge calls down to the TAO in CDC to order the launch. The OOD would also let the Air Boss know that an unscheduled launch is coming up and relay the CO's order. If the winds are favorable, you could launch alongside, but if not, the OOD would have to coordinate a breakaway to get winds for launch. Then figure out the course and check with navigation to ensure that the course required is clear of navigational hazards and for how long that course is clear.

In CDC, the TAO then lets the Air Defense Commander and the Composite Warfare Commander know that Kitty Hawk wants the alert fighters launched because of the enemy aircraft indication. At the same time XPLOT/JWO should be calling the ADC with the same intel that the CO received about the enemy fighters. From there the ADC orders the alert launched if the alerts are on the airplan. Normally there will be at least Alert 60's on the plan, maybe Alert 30's. Anything with a shorter response time requires the flight deck to be manned and flight quarters set, and it's not possible to have flight quarters set 24 hours a day. Alert 60 or 30 because that about how long it takes to get the flight deck set up to launch.

If there aren't any alerts scheduled (rare), then the ADC has to haggle with AREC to get aircraft for the mission. AREC assigns the assets (and lets the squadrons know) for the mission and releases the aircraft to the ADC. The carrier has to launch the aircraft, ADC then passes tactical control of the fighters to an air control unit either an AIC on a surface ship or an E-2. From there the air controller can have keep the fighters under close control (in this case close control doesn't make sense since the enemy fighters are already on top) or give the fighters loose contol and let the fighters deal with it since they're already visual.

In any case if the ship is not at flight quarters, it takes time to get it there. Normally it does take about an hour, the 40 minutes in the account does seem pretty realistic if things were accelerated. If the CO really needed to launch sooner, then do an emergency breakaway and sound General Quarters, the flight deck crews should be manned and ready within 10 minutes. Do your FOD walkdown, move all the crap from the vertical replenishment to clear the flight deck, get the aircraft spotted for launch. If the catapults are cold, then it will take more time. Warm up the catapult steam piping, drain down the condensation within the pipes. You don't want to admit hot steam into a cold pipe. Water hammers and bad things happen if you do put hot steam in a cold pipe.

Anyways, my rundown of all the things it takes to make that simple "launch everything we got ASAP" order happen.

Edit:

Of course the russians had to figure that there was no chance they would shot anyway, so what if their RWR gear was going nuts.

If the escort is an AEGIS ship, the RWR does not give the incoming fighter any warning that you're lit up because AEGIS can launch and guide a missile without going into CW. The only warning a fighter will get is a visual of the inbound missile if the pilot is looking in the right place. The RWR will go off about 2-3 seconds before missile intercept when the missile illuminator lights up the aircraft for terminal guidance.

[Edited 2004-12-30 17:45:18]
 
AAR90
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Fri Dec 31, 2004 6:54 pm

Well the policy may be in place, but the execution was lacking.

That would be an understatement. :-|

If JASDF was supposed to be flying air cover, where were they?

The answer to that has been pretty well covered up... politics.

WHy are we relying on someone else to provide air cover?

Contained in the US/Japan forward deployed forces treaty (horrible read and I don't think I ever fully understood all the political mumbo-jumbo stuff contained therein). Essentially there are specific numbers of "joint exercises" required as specific intervals with specific objectives. One of those specifics is for the forward deployed CV to operate "at-sea" utilizing JASDF assets providing air defense. My friends from CVW-5 say these treaty requirements were usually complied with by having the CV conduct underway replenishment training (difficult to do fixed wing flight ops at the same time) with a number of different ships during a short "at-sea" period (there are treaty requirements covering those as well = "two birds with one stone").

I would think the Navy would be reluctant to rely on our own Air Force for force protection, much less someone elses...even our well trained and equipped allies in Japan.

Yes, which is why I suspect the consequenses to the previously listed folks were not unjustified... they didn't do all they could have done to prevent an unescorted overflight --no matter who was supposed to be providing coverage.

Can you explain to me why we would send out a carrier to the Sea of Japan without even an escort? I read you to say that cruises there commonly do without escorts...

The same US/Japan treaty requirements.

...what protects the carrier against someone with a Kilo class sub waiting for it? Not to sound paranoid but its a possibility.

Always a possibility and one the CV BG staff is supposed to prepare for even with treaty limitations. Reread what I wrote about how Big-E/CVW-11 handled artificial A-30 posturing per D.C. "orders." There is almost always a way around the artificial political limitations imposed by civilians 1/2 a world away.

...and it's not possible to have flight quarters set 24 hours a day.

Actually it is, but it requires everybody being on the same page... the Captain's page. Captain Luschner(sp?) pushed his "Battle Flex Deck" plan from the first day he reported aboard Big-E and his plan eventually evolved into an entire deployment spent operating with 30 minute cycles and nothing longer than A-30 status (usually A-15) whenever Big-E was at-sea (air defense package minimum, but often a war-at-sea package as well). In a foreign port we set A-60 packages. Great for this junior CAPC as I flew more than twice what the average J.O. pilot flew during a cruise/tour.  Big thumbs up So it (24 hour ops) can and has been done for very long periods. But most folks simply don't go the extra mile to make such committments happen. Luschner was one such person who did.  Wink/being sarcastic
 
Woodreau
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Fri Dec 31, 2004 11:15 pm

We did run a flex deck for ops in the Persian Gulf, it wasn't something we did during workup, we implemented it as a change that was required for the circumstances we encountered and it did enable us to run 24 hour flight ops. We put our flight deck crew into a day/night section. With this arrangement we couldn't do full ops, but we were able to support the ops that were ongoing during the summer. Fatigue was the big factor we monitored and if we really needed to we found a quiet time and shut down. But we passed it on to the next deck in our lessons learned.

You'd think they'd study what your commander did and do evaluations and come up with new document to support those kinds of ops. So in a way we did do some workarounds to get around the flight deck operating window imposed by NATOPs.

...where were the Combat/CIC/CATCC guys

I read this earlier and I didn't address it so I'll clarify the difference between guys in CATCC and guys in CIC (also known as Combat or CDC on a carrier)

The FAA hires ADCs (Air Direction Controllers) that work in CATCC. The FAA definitely will NOT hire AICs (Air Intercept Controllers) that work in CIC.

CATCC is purely an air traffic control function manned by ACs (Air Traffic Control ratings) who keep our own aircraft separated from each other. It's purely an administrative function. CATCC has control either after the aircraft have come back from a mission or before the aircraft are depart on a mission. There's two modes of control, positive and advisory, and they equate with the civilian ATC function, positive control (operating under IFR, e.g. fly heading xxx, descend and maintain xxx), and flight following (airplane assumes responsibility for navigation and separation).

CIC (CDC/Combat) handles tactical operations. The air controller is an OS (Operation Specialist) who is trying to make two radar contacts merge - the reason why the FAA won't hire him. He may be located on a surface escort, but can be found on aircraft carriers as well. The two modes of control are close and loose. Close control equates with GCI. The controller controls the intercept, telling the fighters what heading to fly, what speed to fly, where to look. This allows the fighters to keep their radars off and close in "undetected." Loose control is when the controller tells the pilot where the enemy is probably using BRAA (Bearing-Range-Altitude-Aspect from a bullseye), and the pilots acquire the target on their own and determine how to make the intercept.
 
dl021
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Sat Jan 01, 2005 2:36 am

AAR90 and Woodreau....good stuff. Thanks for the answers.

Still pissed off that people allow politics to interfere with common sense (not so common) self defense measures where our multi-billion dollar CV's and personnel are concerned. It reminds me of the civilian imposed restrictions on when you can load your weapon, or when your chain of command can supply you with live ammo while in a combat zone. Stupidity. Of course, that's why we got the big bucks...... right?  Big grin
 
AAR90
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:45 am

You'd think they'd study what your commander did and do evaluations and come up with new document to support those kinds of ops.

I know they (USN "analysts") did because his main objective was to find a way to increase the operational range of the early model (just entering fleet service) F/A-18A's. Of course we (CVW-11 aircrew) had trouble understanding all the effort since we didn't have any F/A-18's and regularly flew 1,000+nm Alpha Strikes (heck, anything closer was considered "too close"). Of course we also couldn't imagine an all-F/A18 airwing back then either.  Sleepy
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Russian Fighters Buzz Kitty Hawk?

Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:44 pm

CIC (CDC/Combat) handles tactical operations

I know of CDC's functions rather well, my dad was the CDCO on the Carl Vinson, late 1990's....spent a Tiger Cruise and a ton of other times aboard when he was CDO for the night, learning everything I could that was non-classified. Kinda pissed him off being there though, a brownshoe stuck in a blackshoe's world lol.

I know they (USN "analysts") did because his main objective was to find a way to increase the operational range of the early model (just entering fleet service) F/A-18A's.

The way I've heard it told from the Lantwing Hornet guys (and the former Commodore himself), is that the Navy originally asked for X amount of additional gas/range/payload, but were pretty much told to take a hike about it...what they asked for is (for the most part) what the Super Hornet is now...took em 20 damn years to figgure out that the Hornet can't do what our A-7's and A-6's used to do for us!

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