Author Topic: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design  (Read 6159 times)

Offline Volkodav

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Instead of designing and building the Armoured Fleet Carriers the UK standardised the Ark Royal with various improvements indicated during the build of Ark, as their war emergency carrier design.

It was already in production, it carried for more aircraft, it could have continued to have been built without interruption of a new design.  More carriers built, more aircraft at sea, doctrine behind the design was more inline with US and Japanese, i.e. closer to ideal than the Armoured Fleets.  When time permitted the expansion of the design with lessons learnt would have resulted in an even larger more capable design than the Implacable or following Audacious designs.  Enough of the ships could have been built to supply to allies during the war, more ships available could have saved Force Z.

Late war construction would have been closer to Midways in size and capacity leaving the RN with a far more capable legacy fleet going into the Cold War.  These larger, roomier ships would have been far better at operating jets then the Armour Fleets and would have been far easier and cheaper to upgrade and modernise.

Offline Weaver

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2014, 04:28:20 AM »
The problem with the Ark as designed was narrow lifts. Her longitudinal strength lay not just in the edges of the deck but also down the middle, so the lifts were narrow rectangles to either side of the centreline to avoid breaking the "beam". An "Ark Royal Mk.II" could certainly have got around that by having big centre lifts and all the bending loads taken by the hangar sides, but then you'd be approaching the condition of the armoured fleets with a lot of weight in the hangar walls, and that would drive you to reduce the hangar heights, with unfortunate consequences post-war.

Hangar height was the defining problem in post-war modernisations. The situation had actually got worse through the war, with the pressure to carry more aircraft resulting in Implacable and Indefatigable having double hangers with just 14" under the beams (too low to store an F-4U Corsair, never mind later jets!). This is why the re-build program started with Victorious, since her single-deck hangar was easier to strip down and re-build. Vicki's re-build turned into a nightmare and that's why they never attempted in on the later, harder hulls.

"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 10:02:54 AM »
The problem with the Ark as designed was narrow lifts. Her longitudinal strength lay not just in the edges of the deck but also down the middle, so the lifts were narrow rectangles to either side of the centreline to avoid breaking the "beam". An "Ark Royal Mk.II" could certainly have got around that by having big centre lifts and all the bending loads taken by the hangar sides, but then you'd be approaching the condition of the armoured fleets with a lot of weight in the hangar walls, and that would drive you to reduce the hangar heights, with unfortunate consequences post-war.

Hangar height was the defining problem in post-war modernisations. The situation had actually got worse through the war, with the pressure to carry more aircraft resulting in Implacable and Indefatigable having double hangers with just 14" under the beams (too low to store an F-4U Corsair, never mind later jets!). This is why the re-build program started with Victorious, since her single-deck hangar was easier to strip down and re-build. Vicki's re-build turned into a nightmare and that's why they never attempted in on the later, harder hulls.

Yes the Implacable modernisation would have seen the hangers amalgamated into one.

My thinking on Ark was her greater size and volume avoided the constraints of the Armoured Fleets, as a war emergency post escalation clause the design could have been strengthened and improved from lessons learnt without having to worry about displacement limits.  Structural strengthening to permit larger or even relocated lifts, diesel generators etc. for improved damage control.

Back on the Impacables, they could have operated and hangered Grumman Tigers and Super Tigers with the low hangers  ;D

Offline Weaver

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 10:25:31 AM »
Back on the Impacables, they could have operated and hangered Grumman Tigers and Super Tigers with the low hangers  ;D

Good spot - I never noticed that!  :)  13'10" to the tip of the fin in parked condition: two inches to spare!  No folded wing problem to complicate matters either because the Tiger only folded a short section of it's wingtip downwards. Mind you, I intend to fix that for my RN versions, with the wing folding upwards level with the tips of the tailplanes, but moving though about 270 deg so that the tips end up just resting on the fuselage.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 07:09:42 PM »
One thing I have never understood is with the RNs two largest and most capable carriers being limited to aircraft that could fit in a 14" high hanger, why they didn't just write specifications for aircraft that would fit?  If they fit in a 14" hanger they would fit in all the other carriers, the UK could have future proofed themselves saving huge sums on money spent on modernisations and invested that money instead on a new generation of carriers with taller hangers that could cross deck US aircraft.  Had the UK been able to retain Victorious, Indomitable and the Implacables with minimal structural modifications along side Eagle, Ark, they could have sold the Centaurs and Hermes to Commonwealth navies in place of the Majestics, in turn future proofing them as well.

Design the aircraft to fit and the RN could have retained four of the Armoured Fleet Carriers through the 50s into the 60s with minimal affordable angle deck and steam catapult refits.  I don't understand why they didn't do it.

That aside the Sea Vampire and Venom fit, unfolded the Seahawk fit (they could have unfolded it on the lift before moving it into the hanger; from the mid 50s the Fury, Tiger and Skyray fit and the Sea Vixen should have been fairly easy to design to fit as well, the Gannet fit with an inch to spare AEW did not so would have been a deck park option.  Too bad the RN didn't look outside the square and keep these ships in service much longer, freeing up cash for a new generation in the 60s.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 07:26:51 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Weaver

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 10:39:47 PM »
LOL - I typed something just like that last night, then lost it, gave up and went to bed... ::)

You could certainly have designed useful fixed-wing aircraft to fit in a 14" hangar: what'd wrong with folding fins? The Viggen had one. Helos seem a little more difficult: all of the desirable types were too tall (Wessex = 15"). I think though that there was an assumption that all naval aircraft were heading towards Phantom territory and that a size limit would automatically limit capability.

Height-compatible aircraft wouldn't have removed the need for refits, it would just have made them simpler, but that's a relative term. All of the ships had significant wear on them from war usage (Indomitable's flight deck was twisted!), and none of them had "atomic age" stuff like washdown systems and sealed control "citadels". Also, they would still have needed angled decks. The 5 1/2 deg "interim" angled decks that were basically just painted lines and small deck-edge additions also offered limited advantages compared to a proper structural re-build to an 8-10 deg deck. Elevators were another problem: the stressed flight deck design meant that they'd been made as small as possible in the first place and ensured that enlarging them was a non-trivial exercise. Likewise, their weight capacities were too low for the predicted future aircraft and would also need to be increased. The same predicted weight increase meant that new catapults and arrestor gear was needed too. Jets needed more fuel storage capacity, accomodation standards had to be increased to retain personnel in peacetime, radar fits had to be updated... the list goes on and on until you get to the point where you've practically built a new carrier on an old one, and it's still too small....
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2014, 01:08:20 AM »
It would have been good to get another ten years out of Indomitable and the Impacables without too much expense just to free up cash for new carriers.  Designing aircraft for the smaller hangers would have also helped the Centaurs and Hermes with more viable airgroups.  A RN FAA version of the Tiger would have solved a lot of problems, fit it with Ferranti Airpass and Fire Streak then Red Top with an Avon in place of the Sapphire and it would have made a nice viable and practical jet ino the 60s or even the 70s.  Actually if the RN went Avon Tiger it could have served through until replaced by the Sea harrier in the late 70s which also would have fit in the 14" hanger! ;)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 02:52:42 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Weaver

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2014, 02:10:38 AM »
My "FAA goes American" story uses an Avon-Tiger. Basically, the RN gives up on refits, gives up on big carriers, turns Eagle and Ark Royal (the latter completed earlier than IRL with an axial deck) into commando carriers, and uses all four Centaurs as small fighter carriers. They've already "gone Grumman" (due to the RR engines) with the Panther and Cougar, so the next generation is the Tiger, who's J-65 problams are fixed by giving it an Avon. They also take the Skyhawk for strike, giving that an Avon as well to ease maintenance. The Avon-Tiger is a big seller and with the USN shunning the Tiger, Grumman becomes somewhat dependent on it.

Then in the mid-'60s, with some Vietnam experience under their belt, the FAA decides that it doesn't like having penny packets of two different aircraft on it's small decks, so it asks for a multi-role replacement that can do both jobs. Grumman and HSA stick a Spey in the Tiger, move the wing to the high position, and create the Jaguar II, which serves through the '70s and '80s. I'm still debating whether to give the Jag II a swing wing or not, prompted by the fact that the best way of modelling it seems to be to use a MiG-23 centre and aft fuselage.....

Harriers in this world are the choice for the two Marine Corps and armies.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 02:39:13 AM »
My "FAA goes American" story uses an Avon-Tiger. Basically, the RN gives up on refits, gives up on big carriers, turns Eagle and Ark Royal (the latter completed earlier than IRL with an axial deck) into commando carriers, and uses all four Centaurs as small fighter carriers. They've already "gone Grumman" (due to the RR engines) with the Panther and Cougar, so the next generation is the Tiger, who's J-65 problams are fixed by giving it an Avon. They also take the Skyhawk for strike, giving that an Avon as well to ease maintenance. The Avon-Tiger is a big seller and with the USN shunning the Tiger, Grumman becomes somewhat dependent on it.

Then in the mid-'60s, with some Vietnam experience under their belt, the FAA decides that it doesn't like having penny packets of two different aircraft on it's small decks, so it asks for a multi-role replacement that can do both jobs. Grumman and HSA stick a Spey in the Tiger, move the wing to the high position, and create the Jaguar II, which serves through the '70s and '80s. I'm still debating whether to give the Jag II a swing wing or not, prompted by the fact that the best way of modelling it seems to be to use a MiG-23 centre and aft fuselage.....

Harriers in this world are the choice for the two Marine Corps and armies.

I like!

RMs more like USMC with their own organic air and armour?  I was toying with a RM ACR idea using light / medium tanks, i.e. a 76/62mm in a beefed up, up armoured CVR(T).

Love the Tiger always have, cant wait to see what you come up with but failing swing wing a Mirage F1 wing would look good, or even a Grumman / Mirage tie up to navalise the F1.

On the Skyhawk I would actually be tempted to go for the FJ-4B Fury instead, it fits in a 14" hanger and CAC had already AVON'd and ADEN'd the Sabre.  Would love to have seen an AVON Furys flying off Melbourne (and Sydney) instead of Skyhawks.

With the smaller strike aircraft would you keep fixed wing ASW or still go to helos?  I would be tempted to upgrade the more modern Gannet than to buy Trackers.  They take up less space and would have made an interesting addition to the airgroup with new tech, i.e. Martel, Sea Eagle etc in an anti shipping strike roles in the 70/80s.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 07:48:16 AM »
Possibly re-engine the Gannets with a turbo-prop version of PWAC's PT6T "Twin-Pac"? 

Weaver, regarding folding fins, look at how much of the A3J/RA-5 vertical find folds; properly designed, they shouldn't be a problem.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 11:06:53 PM »
Out of curiosity what is the folded height of a Vigilante?  Would it be under 14"  ;)

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 04:36:41 AM »
Out of curiosity what is the folded height of a Vigilante?  Would it be under 14"  ;)

Height:
    Tail Upright:  19 ft
    Tail Folded:   14 ft 6 in

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2014, 10:15:43 AM »
M...let the tires down, or a kneeling function for the undercarriage.....

Offline elmayerle

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2014, 10:24:35 AM »
M...let the tires down, or a kneeling function for the undercarriage.....
Or a nose gear extension for parking only?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: RN standardised the Ark Royal as their war emergency carrier design
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 10:36:07 AM »
Good thinking 99, just need bigger lifts now