AHC: Carrier justification thread.

It's crafting the circumstances in a believable way that's the hard part. Closely followed by justifying how the money is spent once it's found.
Yes, I wish I knew more about the USS America and JFK so I could wrangle them into nuclear power.

The French PA58 would be another good story to know, at the very least it could replace the Arromanches.
 
Yes, I wish I knew more about the USS America and JFK so I could wrangle them into nuclear power.

The French PA58 would be another good story to know, at the very least it could replace the Arromanches.
America and JFK are rather simple actually. You need to control the costs on Enterprise. That's what scared Congress off of nuclear power for carriers. At least until the Navy was able to show hard data to them on how much more capable The Big E was over conventionally powered decks. That and the design for Nimitz went from eight reactors, to two. If you can control the costs on Enterprise better and find a way to reduce the number of reactors on JFK to further cut costs , it should be fairly easy to get at least JFK ordered as a nuke. Control costs well enough, and the original order for America as a sister ship to Enterprise may be allowed to go through as well. (Though I still think America gets reordered as a Kitty Hawk unless Enterprise comes in below budget, Congress really didn't like her price tag)
 
I wonder what, if any, replacement would have been built if Invincible had taken the hit for Atlantic Conveyor in the Falklands war and gone down. Short term Bulwark gets patched up and Hermes isn't sold until Ark Royal Commissions.
 
Perhaps by ordering 2 sets of Enterprise machinery and doing a rapid 1-2 series build nuclear America becomes feasible.

The JFK went from 8 reactors to 4, but I don't know about the up front costs.
 
Perhaps by ordering 2 sets of Enterprise machinery and doing a rapid 1-2 series build nuclear America becomes feasible.

The JFK went from 8 reactors to 4, but I don't know about the up front costs.
I'm not sure you could get that through Congress. Hell, look at the recent uproar over ordering two Fords together. And this is after the US has been building nuclear carriers for 65 years and the first in the class has already been commissioned with the second getting close to sea trials. I don't see them approving a two ship buy for an unproven concept.
 
I'm not sure you could get that through Congress. Hell, look at the recent uproar over ordering two Fords together. And this is after the US has been building nuclear carriers for 65 years and the first in the class has already been commissioned with the second getting close to sea trials. I don't see them approving a two ship buy for an unproven concept.
IIRC the plan was to order a new CVA every Fiscal year starting with the Enterprise, but then this was pushed to every second f/y and the big E was built without armament. I think America was ordered in 1960 under this plan and then reordered as a conventional carrier.

I don't know what happened to the plans after that, JFK wasn't ordered until 1963 or 64, so maybe they pushed the planned building cycle out to every 3rd f/y.
 
IIRC the plan was to order a new CVA every Fiscal year starting with the Enterprise, but then this was pushed to every second f/y and the big E was built without armament. I think America was ordered in 1960 under this plan and then reordered as a conventional carrier.

I don't know what happened to the plans after that, JFK wasn't ordered until 1963 or 64, so maybe they pushed the planned building cycle out to every 3rd f/y.
I think we can again look to Enterprise for the answer. She was originally projected to cost about $400 million combined for the ship and reactors. She ended up costing over $600 million when all was said and done. To put that in perspective, that is equivalent to 5.1 billion in 2020 dollars. You could buy two Nimitz class for that and still have money left over. Enterprise wrecked the naval construction budget
 
OK how about the E doesn't get the SCANFAR 'billboard' radar system, perhaps on the grounds that it was too immature for the carrier? I'm guessing this would drop the price, but would it be enough to bring the cost down enough for Congress to authorize another nuke?

When was the A3W reactor ready, could America be delayed by another year and ordered with A3W reactors?
 
OK how about the E doesn't get the SCANFAR 'billboard' radar system, perhaps on the grounds that it was too immature for the carrier? I'm guessing this would drop the price, but would it be enough to bring the cost down enough for Congress to authorize another nuke?

When was the A3W reactor ready, could America be delayed by another year and ordered with A3W reactors?
As far as I can tell, it was never "ready." Westinghouse had the basic design and configuration completed by 1963. But it's my understanding that they were still finalizing some details in 64 after JFK had been laid down. America was laid down in January 1961. So the A3W would have to be mostly done by sometime in 1960. I don't think that's possible
 
I agree building the planned for three maintenance carriers from the start makes sense. I just don't think the role justified building armoured carriers to fulfil. I have a soft spot for Unicorn but think she was wasted as an auxiliary. The later, cheaper and less resource hungry Colossus class were much better suited to the maintenance ship role.
Was there any truth to the argument she was designed to be shifted to an operational carrier if necessity, funds or circumstances warranted? Outwardly she appears an austere version of a full operational ship, with an open purse she could be made operational faster than a new build.
 
America and JFK are rather simple actually. You need to control the costs on Enterprise. That's what scared Congress off of nuclear power for carriers. At least until the Navy was able to show hard data to them on how much more capable The Big E was over conventionally powered decks. That and the design for Nimitz went from eight reactors, to two. If you can control the costs on Enterprise better and find a way to reduce the number of reactors on JFK to further cut costs , it should be fairly easy to get at least JFK ordered as a nuke. Control costs well enough, and the original order for America as a sister ship to Enterprise may be allowed to go through as well. (Though I still think America gets reordered as a Kitty Hawk unless Enterprise comes in below budget, Congress really didn't like her price tag)
Wasn't part of the reason Enterprise ended up so much overbudget was that they tried to save money by not designing a new purpose built carrier sized reactor and went with using eight smaller reactors designed for one of the early USN SSNs? Maybe have them just try and design a new reactor from the start?
 
Wasn't part of the reason Enterprise ended up so much overbudget was that they tried to save money by not designing a new purpose built carrier sized reactor and went with using eight smaller reactors designed for one of the early USN SSNs? Maybe have them just try and design a new reactor from the start?
Enterprise had A2Ws, which were a development of the prototype A1W, which was always intended for carriers. She had 8 in part because 8 reactors replace the 8 boilers the conventional supercarriers had, simplfying design to a degree. When JFK was designed for 4 reactors, the changes to this design really screwed her up and remained when she was converted back to a conventional design, which are part of the reason she was considered sub par compared to her near sisters. Building Enterprise with fewer reactors would likely screw her up, though the USN probably needs a screwup before getting things right with the production class
 
Wasn't part of the reason Enterprise ended up so much overbudget was that they tried to save money by not designing a new purpose built carrier sized reactor and went with using eight smaller reactors designed for one of the early USN SSNs? Maybe have them just try and design a new reactor from the start?
What Ramscoop said. The Navy was still feeling their way with nuclear propulsion and they kinda just figured 8 reactors equals 8 boilers and ran with it. It wasn't until the Navy realised just how much power they could get out of a nuke that they started to downsize the plant and convert what would have been engineering spaces into other uses. The French however did exactly what you asked and repurposed two submarine reactors to power de Gualle
 
Mmm, making America and JFK nukes seems harder than getting CVA01 & 02 built.

If they are handwaved in to nukes what happens? Are more nuke cruisers built, or do they get one each of the 3 that made up E's nuclear squadron? Is Nimitz such a jump from E or is it a repeat of JFK?
 
Mmm, making America and JFK nukes seems harder than getting CVA01 & 02 built.

If they are handwaved in to nukes what happens? Are more nuke cruisers built, or do they get one each of the 3 that made up E's nuclear squadron? Is Nimitz such a jump from E or is it a repeat of JFK?
Assuming we just handwave both ships into nukes, America would be Enterprise class while JFK would be her own class. First off, the Navy is much happier with the nuke JFK than they were with the original. The modifications to convert her to a conventional plant AFTER she had been laid down seriously screwed her up. I actually think that if both ships are built as nuclear powered, we see a pause in nuclear construction for quite a while. Costs for the nuclear Navy had been skyrocketing. And the DoD (and Congress) will want to get a handle on them before authorizing any more new builds. FDR may actually get her midlife refit in this scenario to keep numbers up until a new (cheaper) design comes along. Nimitz is still probably a major improvement over Enterprise, but that will be down more to tech having advanced in the 10-15 years since Big E was built.
 
So the plan was to lay down an E every F/Y from 59, but this was pushed back to every 2nd f/y and America met that, then JFK was laid down 3 years later and Nimitz 4 years after that. Then the gaps were 2, 5, 6, 3, 2, 5, 2, 5 and 5 for the rest of the Nimitz class.

I could imagine that as each ship gets built they become better value for money.
 
Was there any truth to the argument she was designed to be shifted to an operational carrier if necessity, funds or circumstances warranted? Outwardly she appears an austere version of a full operational ship, with an open purse she could be made operational faster than a new build.
The plan was that she be able to provide her own C.A.P. for local defence. When she entered service in 1943 the need for carriers was so bad that she was used as an operational carrier. Fun fact, though she was used as a supply carrier in Korea and had no aircraft of her own, at one point she was used to bombard North Korean positions with her guns.
 
The plan was that she be able to provide her own C.A.P. for local defence. When she entered service in 1943 the need for carriers was so bad that she was used as an operational carrier. Fun fact, though she was used as a supply carrier in Korea and had no aircraft of her own, at one point she was used to bombard North Korean positions with her guns.
Sounds like she could augment the fighter CAP while with a transiting force or at the train anchorage. So something more than mere auxillary but a more costly one.
 
I'm in the process of writing a TL called 'Send me Victory or send me Revenge' where a slightly richer UK builds 3 Ark Royal or Armada class CVs in the 30s

HMS Ark Royal
HMS Victory (The name becomes available as Nelsons famous flagship HMS 'Kindling' catches fire during her rebuild in 1928 just days before the King was due to unveil a tablet commemorating the completion of said rebuild)
HMS Revenge (The name is available as the Battleship of the same name is scrapped in the early 20s due to heavy damage incurred in a hard won 1917 battle honour and while the ship survived - it was patched up and paced in reserve and deemed uneconomical to repair post war)

All 3 names are ships of the English commanders during the famous battles against the Spanish Armada
 
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