AHC: Strong post-war Royal Navy?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by King_Arthur, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Which can be done if they kept to the Medium Fleet CV or the Hybrid.
    And not spiralled away into OR.346 machines and full spectrum war EoS.

    If the 35Kton/45kton option is built it can easily deliver Audacious (modernised) levels of capability for less cost. If only thanks to using 3 sets of Y300 and three shafts and because generally her design and materials are of a higher standard.

    Just being 850ft at the flight deck would be about 50ft more than Eagle.
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  2. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    I agree.

    My guess is that a 35,000 ton CV would cost about the same as the rebuilt Victorious if fitted with electronics of the same standard.

    However, because it was a new design and was 15% larger (i.e. 35,000 tons v 30,500 tons) it would have many advantages over Victorious.

    The most obvious would be at least one deck edge lift. The Admiralty wanted the rebuilt Victorious to have at least one, but the DNC couldn't work one in because the ship's freeboard was too low. The lifts would also be bigger, which was less obvious. The steam catapults would also be longer, which was less obvious as well.

    As the ship was a clean sheet of paper design it's likely that better use could be made of the internal volume of the ship (if that's the right expression). IOTL the hull was bulged by 4 feet on either side, which AFAIK increased the displacement without providing any more useable space. If that is correct then a new hull of the same beam would have more useable space. It would also have a modern torpedo defence system. The increase in displacement probably allowed higher clearances in the hangar, which would make it easier to accommodate aircraft like the E-2C.

    IOTL the hangar of the rebuilt Victorious was cut into two by the forward lift. AFAIK the Admiralty also wanted a hangar extension behind the aft lift, but the hull wasn't big enough. ITTL moving the forward lift to the deck edge would increase the length of the hangar by 58 feet, which is enough to stow folded 3 folded Buccaneers or 2 folded Phantoms. If the aft lift could be moved to the deck edge too an additional 54 feet would be added, which is enough space for another 3 folded Buccaneers or 2 folded Phantoms.
  3. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    I'm standing up for HMS Whitby.

    If it was useless, why was it's hull and machinery the basis for 41 ships built for the Royal Navy, 8 for the Indian Navy, 6 for the RAN, 6 for the RNLN, 4 for the RNZN, 3 for the SAN and 2 for the Chilean Navy? That's a grand total of 70 ships, including 52 built in British yards.

    Furthermore if the Whitby class was useless the Rothesay class was also useless because it had the same armament and electronics as the Whitby class. 9 ships costing an average of £3.6 million comes out as £32.5 million.

    IOTL the Rothesays were refitted 1966-72. One of the Squids was replaced by a hangar and flight deck for a Wasp helicopter, while the single Bofors 40mm gun was replaced by Sea Cat.

    I suspect that the Whitby's would have been refitted to the same standard as the refitted Rothesays IOTL had the money been available.

    I also suspect that the relatively short service lives of the Whitby class had more to do with the constant contraction of the Royal Navy than any inherent "uselessness" in their design.
  4. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    I'm also going to stand up for the Blackwood class.

    Although I think that the RN would have been better off building 12 additional Whitby class frigates (in spite of the extra building and operating costs) they were hardly useless.

    As Leo Marriott wrote in Royal Navy Frigates 1945-83, "The whole class found themselves employed on the many peacetime duties which are the lot of the Royal Navy, but which do not require a full size major warship." They served in the Fishery Protection Squadron and the training squadrons at Londonderry and Portland.

    In common with the Whitby class their relatively short service lives had more to do with defence cuts than any inherent "uselessness" in their design.


    The Indian Navy bought 3 Blackwood class so it did help the export drive.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  5. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    Finally I'm also going to stand up for the Salisbury and Leopard classes.

    Although (with hindsight) I wouldn't have built them (because they weren't fast enough to operate with fast carrier task forces) they weren't useless.

    The armament and diesel engines made the Type 41s suitable for the colonial sloop role and they initially formed the 7th Frigate Squadron in the South Atlantic.

    Although they were slow the RN seems to have valued the Type 61s for their aircraft direction capabilities. It looks as if 3 of the first 7 Leanders were ordered as Rothesay class and the other 4 were ordered as Type 61s. Although the Leander was fast enough to operate with fast carrier task forces their AD capabilities weren't as good as the Type 61s.

    In spite of being "useless" the OTL Royal Navy saw fit to modernise all 8 Type 41/61 frigates in the 1960s. The Type 41s received the Type 965 radar with the AKE-1 aerial and the Type 61 received the Type 965 radar with the AKE-2 radar. All 8 were to have received Sea Cat, but only Lincoln and Salisbury were so fitted. This was due to lack of money, not because the ships were useless, which they weren't.

    Once again their relatively short service lives, that was once again due to defence cuts rather than their design being inherently "useless".

    They also contributed to the export drive because the Indian Navy bought 3 Type 41s.
  6. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    When? Is this the 1950s or 1960s?

    I can't remember where I read it, but IIRC a Type 15 refit cost £600,000 and a Type 16 £150,000. That seems cost effective when compared to £3 million for a Whitby and £1.5 million for a Blackwood.

    IIRC the 4 Battle class fleet picket conversions (of 8 planned) cost £2.25 to £2.5 million each. The Royal Navy wanted to rebuild them to a higher standard, but couldn't afford to.

    The Royal Navy also considered rebuilding the Daring class in the 1960s. The result was faster and more heavily armed than a new Leander. However, the RN decided that building more Leanders was more cost effective.
  7. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Well as I have already said their estimate was 18 million, and unlike Victorious being a clean sheet design built from the keel up, there would be no expensive revisions of major changes midway through the process. It's unlikely to be 30 million. More like with a overspend of 20% some 22 million (rounding up).

    So this is were life gets hard...
    Firstly for a deck edge lift one needs a freeboard (from waterline to hanger deck floor) of ideally 24ft. Though during the ponderings over Implaccable it's 23.5ft was deemed acceptable....for the upper hanger.
    Which is not a problem unless you want to maximise the use of space and have a full gallery deck, because if you do (DNC did) then you need a waterline beam of ideally 120ft or more
    This is one of the potential issues with the 1952 CV since they were aiming to drydock at Gladstone, whose entrance was 120ft, that's why she was 116ft, the very maximum possible to safely move through the entrance and only after DNC pestered the authorities there to accept a 1ft increase in beam.

    Otherwise if they'd accept only Davenport No.10, then they could get to 118ft, maybe 119ft. which is close enough

    Of course you can trade that Gallery deck off and your beam requirements drop.....though now for the arrestor engines and the catapult gear you either have to carefully design the hanger to leave ordinary decks underneath them or you have them hanging from the beams and accessed by ladder....

    OR you can say to hell with deck edge lifts, we need that space the full Gallery Deck gives.
    Or you go the partial route, which has some benefits of both, but could also leave the mid section of the hanger over 25ft high, were no Gallery deck would be.

    There was quite an argument over catapult lengths too during the 1952 process. DNC 'won' that battle, they accepted just 2 catapults for a deck edge lift, though he made one 200ft long.
    But I think 2 catapults, one of 210ft and the other at 177ft stroke would actually fit the aircraft requirements they were looking at.
    But this even on the '52 impacted on their ideal of being able to launch and land simultaneously.

    Hence why I say 850ft, because the crude calculus I have shows you could just fit a 151ft on the bow and have a 10 degree angle deck overshoot clear the wingtip of a Scimitar by a few feet. All dictated by the locus of minimum ship motions at around 75% of waterline length from the bow.
    Or you just accept you cannot do simultaneous ops, only cyclic, which is in fact what was accepted for Eagle and Ark Royal and Victorious and Hermes.

    35,000ton options
    So an Implaccable type hull would be about 112ft beam (as per planned improvements), but by using three shafts instead of four, there is more space in the ship, and say 750ft length in the water. implying a LFD of 800ft..... about the same as Eagle and a draught of 30ft or more.

    A Hood or Akagi type hulll would go to 800ft in the water and stay 104ft beam, but would be say somewhere between 32ft draught or more. This might exceed the 33ft limit, but it would give a 850ft flight deck.

    But I have to say the F4K is an expensive system and potentially could still kill the CV fleet.
    The F8 is cheap, but perhaps too much a compromise.
    The P1154 doesn't really need catapults despite the RN.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  8. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

    Nov 7, 2014
    I don't disagree with that because some sources say Victorious cost £20 million to rebuild and others £30 million.

    IIRC It's Brown & Moore that say Victorious cost £30 million to rebuild.

    However, the sources I was using say it cost £20 million, which is close the costs of a new 35,000 ton ship, which you were quoting. That's why I wrote that a new 35,000 aircraft carrier would cost about the same as the rebuilt Victorious.

    OTOH the source that said the rebuild of Victorious cost £20 million also said that Hermes cost £37.5 million to build, which seems too high.
  9. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    The critical estimate is in '53 when they added angled deck, Type 984, CDS, and DPT and I think the US sourced 3"/L50s
    That brought it to 14 million.
    Ironically in '47 they thought it would be 7 million for a new CV and they chose the cheaper option of reconstruction. ..
    But yes DK.Brown and Moore agree with Friedman. 30 million by the end.
    I would agree 20 million is a reasonable estimate for the new CV.

    CVA-01 process produced a 42,000ton study costing 45 million in '60.
    But this is with Type 988, ADAWS, 2 Terrier SAM systems, and new catapults and arrestor gear.
    Likely imposing much greater cost than known systems in production .
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  10. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    With Hindsight - I always wondered that had the British followed the US Designs instead of their own and built (or planned to build) a Forrestal 'lite' type class of Carrier in the late 50s/60s this wouldn't have served the UK far better than the ADHD approch they conducted in the late 40s - late 70s

    Smaller airgroup / crew and obviously a hull size capable of being built / drydocked in the UK - but other wise use the basic design of the US design

    The 4 Forrestals served the USN well and served into the 90s and having been built in the 60s these ships would have a more modern electrical system

    One of my darlings -and often rightly murdered
  11. Riain Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Mainly because there is nothing wrong with British ship design that US design would fix. The problem with CVA01 is political-financial, the desire to avoid a looming devaluation by focusing on details of defence expenditure. If CVA01 had been built from the mid 60s I have no doubt she would have been a fine ship in the mould of HMS Bristol or Fearless and Intrepid. A US design would have offered no advantage to Britain, indeed it would have been worse because it was designed for American conditions, a gamut of little things like spare parts policy and manpower availability where the devil is in the details.
    brazen likes this.
  12. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    Not really as Riain has typed. But also because it's not that simple.

    Starting with the fact the US wasn't designing such CVs at the time and only did so in the 70's. Which is too late.
    It's also true that the UK had limited dollar reserves, and spent them carefully. It was more important to get electronics and fuel (prior to the North Sea oil boom and even after).

    It's an assumption I've heard often that US equipment is better than the UK's. But closer inspection shows a much more mixed bag.
    Often people compare brochure figures for US equipment and quote experienced figures for UK equipment. Also they compare systems that are not the same and not used the same way.

    There is no point in a Forrestal being sold to the UK and any scaled down version would be a unique design, such that making it UK specific is a minor effort but of more relevance to the UK. It's only customer.
    So much so that the cost of building it in the US would be prohibitively expensive and cheaper to just design and build it in the UK.
    Riain likes this.
  13. Riain Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    I was interested to read the other day that the reaction time of the Sea Dart was 12 seconds while the Terrier was 30 seconds. Furthermore that the US 5"/54 gun was twice the price of the Mk8 4.5".
  14. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    Well firstly the Forrestals were obviously designed before the 70s as all 4 were laid down between 1951 and 1954 - so the 'design' would have been mature

    Secondly I was not suggesting for a second that the British buy them off of the US but instead build their own version of them using the 'design concept' rather than strictly copy the design, to the limitations of shipyard and Drydock capacity in the UK.

    The idea of such warships being built anywhere outside of the UK would not stand a snowball's chance in hell at the time (or now for that matter)

    So build as big a carrier as they could. The Forrestal design did far more on 60,000 tons than the CVA-01 promised on 55,000 tons - in fact far far more than the extra 5,000 tons would seem to imply.

    Granted I imagine such a ship might have a smaller hanger - smaller airgroup over all and be slightly smaller with a smaller crew - a much larger Island for CnC etc and capable of mounting the then most modern sensors - but in layout and scope I think the Forrestals 1950 design was a superior design concept to the CVA-01's 1966 design.

    As for the CVA-01 being a good design the designer of CVA-01 Louis Rydill would disagree with you both - its design was an eclectic ADHD abortion - and while I am sure that the ship had it been built would very likely have been different to the 'final' pre 1966 design with some of the nonsense 'unrealised' and that it would serve well in the hands of the Royal Navy - ancient masters of the muddling through - its basic design would have been hamstrung by this design legacy.

    A better design (and in that the Forrestal was a better design concept) if I can point out the bleedin obvious would have served them betterer - indeed said DNC then in charge of the CVA-01 claimed in an interview with the BEEB it was the happiest day of his life when it got cancelled such was his dislike of the design.
  15. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    So first off the 1952 effort is concurrent with Forrestal and really there is nothing special about the USN CV except size and money and manpower poured into her.

    About the only thing useful to the RN would be her shafts and props. Because 65,000shp per shaft and prop is clearly above the limitations of the UK facilities.
    So we could have gotten a ship with 3 shafts for 195,000shp which leaves more volume available in the hull for other things.
    Even better would be 2 for 130,000shp.
    I'm not sure if this USN carried on with higher stressed hulls,the RN was generally scathing of that and rightly so.
    The steam plant performed well and maybe by this time the bugs had been worked out of it.
    RN low pressure plant ( on comparison) tended to work a bit more reliably.
    But the drydock limitations remain and still force us to a CV of at best 55,000tons Deep Load.
    Compared to Forrestal's 81,000tons.

    CVA-01 achieved a continuous operations design on a hull of supposedly 53,000tons. No mean feat considering Forrestal achieves this on 81,000tons. But this is the wrong comparison. Which would be the USS J.F.Kennedy.
  16. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    The Dry dock limitations could have been overcome for a lot less money than was squandered - I know of a least one very large dry dock that was considered for Portsmouth

    CVA-01 was supposedly 63,000 tons at deep load so something would have had to give and how much more would be a new dry dock or 3 capable of taking 81 kiloton + over 63 Kiloton + ?

    JFK was a slightly improved KH which was a slightly improved F - its the concept of the design that I am interested in over the CVA-01 - not an individual design

    Ultimately though be it CVA-01 or a British version of the Forrestal (which was considered) improved dock and drydock facilities would need lots of £ to support it

    If it was going to be done then go big or don't bother - we didn't bother - and my dry assessment of that decision, much as it pains me to admit.....that it was the right one

    The principle task of MOD was standing up a major land force and Air force in West Germany - BAOR and RAFG as part of Britain's commitment to opposing the Warsaw pact

    This was the big thing - the obvious thing - carriers were nice to have, BAOR and RAFG were must haves - Britain could afford only 2 of the 3 - particularly after dropping the east of Suez commitments in 66/67

    But if they were still going to build a more modern strike carrier design to replace Eagle, Ark and Vic - then lets build a gert great big one as big as we can, along with the necessary improvements to docking/drydock and support and stop ^%&$ing about with lesser designs like the CVA-01.
  17. Zen9 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2018
    And then there's manpower.
    Something like a Forrestal needs about 5,000 for crew, airwing etc...

    CVA -01 needs 3250
    The 1952 was 2,550
    Medium Fleet CV 2,400
    Victorious about 2,000
    1 Forrestal = 2 medium fleet carriers 2 Forrestals = 5 Victorious carriers

    Since the RN had not just affordability issues with something like the Type 82, it had manpower issues with trying to get 13 ships of 325 crew per ship.....

    While a pair of Medium Fleet CVs makes for 4,800.
    So 1 Forrestal type CV is going to accelerate the crunch point of funds and manpower and force an even more severe cutback. Let alone 2.

    Sustainment is the key here. Trying to be the USN is simply insane.
    But keeping a pair of Medium Fleet CVs going is far more affordable.
  18. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

    Sep 20, 2009
    Using those numbers what do people think a pair of 1952 carriers laid down 1953-54 and another pair laid down in 1956-57 might each end up costing? I know Zen9 has in a following post but I was curious to see what others thought as well.

    That depends on experience curve working as advertised, which research suggests might not always be the case, and building the ships in the same shipyard. IIRC the government often had a tendency to spread orders around the yards to try and keep the maximum number of people happy.
  19. PSL Information not passed on is lost.

    Mar 20, 2017
    You guys need to spend months/years reading Hansard's, then you'd know these figures are useless with out all the caveats. Simple example WW-II DD costs . I spent hour reading through a Royal Navy history site with every warship built. Here's a list of DD costs.


    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  20. PSL Information not passed on is lost.

    Mar 20, 2017
    My figures for warship costs....late 1940s to late 1950s.

    ............ DARING CLASS ........BLACKWOOD ........TYPE 16..........TYPE-15
    L40S ... £ 1.3 Million .........................................£300K..........£ 675K
    E50S... £ 1.75Million ........ £ 0.9 to 1.2 million.....£375K.........£ 850K
    M50S... £ 2.5 Million ........ £ 1.2 to 1.4 million.....£500K..........£ 1 million
    L50S... £ 3.0 Million ........ £ 1.6 million..............£600K.........£ 1.4 million

    BTW the cost quoted for CV-52A & CV52B are just for the ship and do not include all equipment & A/C or cost over runs. For example just the ship costs are projected but can't account for weapons inflation. Construction for CV52A was from 1953-1960 during which the cost would increase with inflation by 60%.


    The 1966 Cost estimates increase with time to £60-70 million not counting the £200 million for the phantom jets.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019