Hercules (yes HERCULES!) landing on carrier

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by SONAR-BENDER, Dec 28, 2015.

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  1. Impressive but I think the Mitchell bombers (although smaller) that took off from the USS Hornet for the Dolittle Raid on Japan is more impressive.

    The Hornet was 200ft shorter than the Forrestal and had 16 bombers on the deck. Now that took balls of steel IMHO.
     
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  2. This is pretty unusual as well...



    Regards,
    MM
     
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  3. Were any modifications needed to either aircraft or ship?
     
  4. There's a lot we take for granted, (being cynical old Jack), but when I stop to think about what's involved I'm impressed with any aircraft landing on a ship.
     
  5. You've got to land here son, its where the food is - USN Carrier Captain to struggling pilot
     
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  6. Not sure about the ship but the U-2 was modified with additional spoilers, an arrestor hook and strengthened undercarriage. Only 3 of these U-2G variants were produced and a similar U-2H was also conceived (but not produced I believe) with the addition of AAR to offset the reduced fuel load demanded by carrier launches.

    Ultimately, even early versions of the the U-2 had a very long range. Carrier launches therefore offered few advantages once the requirement for AAR (and I suspect the disruption to normal carrier ops) was considered. The U-2’s long span wings would also have been susceptible to over the deck gusts and deck movement. Similar factors have precluded Predators and Reapers being used from carriers today.

    Regards,
    MM
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
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  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    ....and not having operational aircraft carriers due to the premature scrapping of the Harrier.
     
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  8. Errr, apart from Ocean and formerly Invincible, both of which have/had decks long enough for RPAS to technically fly off.

    However, as stated, it's wind and deck movement which realistically preclude Pred and Reaper ops. WK may be an option with the QEs but that UAS has more than enough issues to be contending with before we think about sticking it on a carrier methinks! The Army would've been much better off with Scan Eagle (as the RN has opted for) or Blackjack.

    Regards,
    MM
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
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  9. I`ve seen them take off from a Carrier but how did they fly there?

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    Carrier Launched ICBM prototype.
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    "September 6, 1947 in the "Bermuda Triangle" on board the aircraft carrier going full speed, "Midway" were launched "V-2". The rocket took off at a sharp angle to the horizon, almost demolished the superstructure, 9 miles flown and successfully broke into three pieces, which, tumbling, fell into the sea."

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  10. Well stab me sideways! I put up a cracking dit, complete with photos, and all these black catting gits come out the woodwork.

    Bloody Christmas - Bah Humbug.
     
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  11. Err, please leave the sideways motion to those of us better qualified SB! :)

    Regards,
    MM
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
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  12. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Didn't GA build Mariner for a USN competition (ultimately won by Triton) - they must think carrier operations are feasible. Why do you think RPAS as so susceptible to wind/deck? (not digging, genuine question)
     
  13. Mariner and Triton were both designed purely for land based ops.

    I didn't say all RPAS are unsuitable, just RPAS in the class of Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk designed for long endurance. These have long span wings which are susceptible to gusts and it would not take much swell to risk clipping a wingtip on take-off or recovery. Additionally, the undercarriage of both are long, very bouncy and unsuited to a moving deck. In short, many RPAS are considered an utter bitch to land - even when the runway is not moving in 3 dimensions.

    WK has slightly beefier landing gear which may ease things on the QEs. However, it still has long wings and the autonomous landing system would probably need an entire redesign for carrier ops.

    The USN Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Programme aims to develop an RPAS for carrier service from the mid-20s. Although it will in no way be able to replicate manned assets such as F-35 and FA-18, it will augment them very usefully for a variety of ISR and 'simple' strike missions; essentially a re-usable TLAM. The Northrop Grumman X-47B tested this concept and was successfully trialed on several USN CVNs including catapult launches and arrested recoveries. However, this is a very different class of RPAS to Pred and Reaper.

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    The X-47B also conducted autonomous AAR.

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    The X-47B Programme has now officially ended but its technology is feeding into UCLASS development.

    In summary, RPAS can be operated from carriers. However, just as with manned aircraft, the demands of carrier operations limit the types which can do so.

    Regards,
    MM
     
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  14. MM

    U2 landing on/taking off from carriers - pretty impressive. For take-off, did they have any extra power apart from ship's speed and wind over deck? (Some years ago, the C130 supporting the US Navy's Blue Angels display team used rocket assisted take off)
     
  15. No, I don't believe so. The U-2 always had a phenomenal rate of climb thanks to its wings and a powerful J75 engine (the same fitted to the F-105 and F-106 albeit without reheat). I believe it just made allowances for the short takeoff by reducing fuel load (hence the need to consider an AAR capable variant).

    As an aside, I've now found reference to at least one U-2G operational sortie flown from a carrier. This was in 1964 against the French nuclear tests in the South Pacific. This seems slightly odd as the USAF had recce satellites by then. I can only assume therefore that it was either an air sampling mission or Mururoa Atoll was too far south for sat coverage.

    Regards,
    MM
     
  16. Ahem.... air sampling.
     
  17. Apologies sparky. Air Sampling is simply when an aircraft deliberately flies through an area to collect liquid or solid particulates and/or gaseous samples for scientific analysis. There are many types of sampling used to gather intelligence on nuclear and chemical weapons, pollution, industrial and other emissions. It is often used for UN verification tasks.

    In the case of nuclear explosions, particulates and radiation can give an indication of the efficiency, type and yield of the explosion as well as the purity of uranium or plutonium used. Think of it as being able to forensically examine the 'DNA' of a nuclear weapon.

    As far back as 1949, a specially equipped USAF 'Weather Service' WB-29 flying in the Sea of Japan indicated that the Soviets had detonated their first nuclear weapon years earlier than predicted by Western intelligence. Fallout was detected over the Sea of Japan despite the explosion having occurred thousands of miles away in Kazakhstan. That allowed President Truman to announce the Soviet test before Moscow had done so, much to the shock of Stalin! You can just see the air sampling scoop above the fuselage on this USAF WB-29.

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    The U-2 used in the sampling of French nuclear tests would probably have a had an air scoop on the forward lower fuselage similar to the one seen in this link.

    Today, the USAF use specially configured WC-135 CONSTANT PHOENIX aircraft for air sampling and nuclear verification tasks. Note the air scoop on the side of the fuselage and ground crew wearing protective suits to avoid contamination!

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    It's been used for everything from collecting intelligence on North Korean nuclear tests to analysing the fallout from the Japanese reactor Fukushima explosions.

    Interestingly, following a North Korean nuclear test in 2010, the UK MoD stated:

    'Following the recent events in North Korea and to support the international community's efforts during this time of increased political tension, we can confirm that the UK is supporting in the associated verification efforts by deploying a VC10 aircraft to Kadena airforce base in Japan.'

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    That's not a refuelling pod under the wing! ;)

    Regards,
    MM
     
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  18. It could be argued that a VTOL tail-sitting combat aircraft had been tried as far back as 1945 by the Luftwaffe...

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    One of the Bachem Ba-349's test flights was even unmanned! Hopefully this proposal will be a tad more effective!

    Regards,
    MM
     

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