Author Topic: Essex class aircraft carriers  (Read 12758 times)

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Offline roughneck06

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Re: Essex class aircraft carriers
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2006, 10:02:31 pm »
I had read recently somewhere that the USS Franklin ( CV 13) and USS Bunker Hill ( CV 17 ) had been held in reserve for years pending conversion into the " Ultimate Essex" CV. Does anyone know any details as to what this conversion would have entailed?

Also- a Wif- say @ 1968 both Cv 13 and CV 17 are available and work proceeds to bring them back as " Ultimate Essexs"- any thoughts as to conversion work, upgrades, air groups, defensive weapons? Say that new in service date is early 1970s plus work done will enable AV-8s and F/A 18s can operate off them and the USN operates them thru the end of the Cold war. Follow-up.... other navies aquiring them after the USN delete them?

Looking forward to all thoughts/ideas/scenarios and any drawings as well!

Offline JoeP

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Re: Essex class aircraft carriers
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2006, 10:00:03 am »
Brasil, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Japan. Heck, even the RN might have, to replace Eagle and Ark Royal.

Weapons would have been the standards: Sea Sparrow, Phalanx. Modern radars, EW, communications.

Take a look as USS Lexington (CV-16), the last Essex class in service, and the USS Oriskany, last to receive the SCB-125 upgrade. You could look here to see the plans for the 1980s:

Essex class on GlobalSecurity.org

Likely the forward elevator would have been moved outboard, like the Midways, since that big hole in the deck was a weakness.

Air groups: A-4, A-7, later F/A-18, maybe AV-8. The USN experimented and decided that the Harrier didn't fit into the working pattern of a fixed-wing carrier, so the AV-8s would probably not have been on board. S-2, S-3, E-1 (don't know if they could operate the E-2), SH-3, SH-60. Perhaps in the 1990s the USN adapted their new Goshawks as armed trainers that could also serve as light attack.


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Offline anthonyp

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Re: Essex class aircraft carriers
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2006, 06:41:28 am »
I was working up some Essex refits for The Manifesto of carrier airwings I posted sometime earlier this year (I think, may have been late 2005).  I gave Canada three of them, and actually did some pics of what they might look like.

The first one is more of a minimum refit proposal.  I was thinking the same way Joe was in that they received mini-Midway refits.  The forward center lift would be moved to the starboard deck edge.  There's not much room there, but it gets it out of the centerline and actually makes it useful.  I also moved the port lift to the aft part of the ship, and flared out the deck edges a little.  The second pic is akin to the Coral Sea refit, in that it's not as flared as the other refit, but does pretty much the same thing.





I can see Spey engined Phantoms operating off the deck, as well as updated Crusaders, some A-7's, A-4M's, maybe a naval F-16 or straight naval F-17 interceptor (not as rugged or robust as an F/A-18), or maybe a naval A-9 (great, just gave myself an idea).  Definately S-2's, possibly S-3's and assorted ASW helos.  

I see these ships as ASW carriers with integral air defense, really, so the majority of the airwing would be S-2's (S-3's?), helos, with maybe half a dozen to a dozen fighters, and maybe two to three AWACS aircraft.

I read in I think Friedman's carrier book that the Essex could land and launch C-2's, so maybe a lightened E-2 might be feasible.  If not, an EH-53 or an EH-3 would probably be something to consider.
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Offline JoeP

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Re: Essex class aircraft carriers
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2006, 10:52:34 am »
The USN never moved the port elevators on the Midways or the Forrestals, despite their poor location, so its likely they wouldn't have done so for the Essexes either.

I found another note that the "ultimate Essexes" were meant as escorts for the USS United States, and so would have been flush-decked, like the USS US, no island at all.

If USN kept the A-4 and A-7 in service longer for these ships, I can see them keeping a set of E-1 and S-2, with some modest upgrades to keep them capable.

In the 1980s, the proposal was for a deckload of refurbished A-4Ms and helos - no real fighters. I suspect they would have added a small contingent (4-6) of fighters, F/A-18A/Bs, to give all-weather and Sparrow capability.

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Offline anthonyp

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Re: Essex class aircraft carriers
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2006, 01:04:17 pm »
Quote
The USN never moved the port elevators on the Midways or the Forrestals, despite their poor location, so its likely they wouldn't have done so for the Essexes either.
They never refit the Forrestals to move the port elevator, but they did on both the Midway and the Coral Sea (the FDR was scrapped after only receiving the SCB.110 refit, as the SCB.101.66 or the SCB.110A were deemed too expensive after Midway's 101.66 refit).  

At the time the Midways received their refits, the Forrestals were under 10 years old, while the Midways were veterans at that point.  Why the elevators on the Forrestals weren't moved aft during the 80's SLEPs is a mystery.  Interesting note about the Forrestals is they were originally designed like the USS US, ie, flushdeck.

Below is a link to a collection of plan drawings showing Midway's original configuration, after the SBC.110 and then in her final configuration (101.66 refit).  Coral Sea's profile was different, but the port elevator was relocated aft as was Midway's.

Link to Midway plan views on midwaysailor.com.
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