Showing posts from April, 2019

Missile Loadouts: Spruance-class Destroyers (1975-2005)

The Spruance -class destroyers have probably the most complex missile loadout history of any non-air defense ship. Unfortunately, the numerous changes and variation have surprisingly little available documentation and I have been forced to rely heavily on photographs to fill in the gaps. Therefore, many of the dates in this post are only estimates. The Spruance -class was designed during the late 1960’s as a modern warship to replace the large number of WWII-era Fletcher , Allen M Sumner , and Gearing -class class destroyers that were swiftly becoming obsolete. Force structure analysis during the design process revealed that while air defense systems significantly increased unit cost, it was ASW that drove force size requirements. Therefore, it was decided to supplement DDG and DLG production with a more affordable DD design that eventually became the Spruance -class. In a drive for greater efficiency, the DD would also share its hull with a DDG design. While the related DDG was neve

World Carrier Air Wings (2019): Part 2

While Part 1 of this series dealt with the powerful CATOBAR and STOBAR carriers, this part covers the less capable VSTOL carriers. Although VSTOL ships are much less complicated and can be significantly smaller, the selection of VSTOL fighter aircraft is extremely limited and the reliance on vertical landings places further restrictions on aircraft operations. Wasp-class & America-class Ironically, the most powerful VSTOL airwing does not belong to an aircraft carrier at all, but to the eight  Wasp -class and single  America -class amphibious assault ships of the United States Navy. Although these flat-decked 257-meter ships may resemble carriers, they are primarily designed to transport and land large numbers of Marines and their equipment. This resulted in several design tradeoffs that limit their ability to conduct fixed-wing operations, such as a lack of a ski-jump, smaller maintenance facilities, and reduced magazine and fuel capacity. While the aviation facilities of the

World Carrier Air Wings (2019): Part 1

This post will cover the composition of the air wings of the world's current major aircraft carriers. This includes the American Nimitz -class, the French Charles de Gaulle , the Chinese Liaoning , the Indian Vikramaditya , and the Russian Kuznetsov . The air wings of the smaller VSTOL are covered in Part 2 . Nimitz The uncontested apex of carrier air wings is found aboard the United State’s 10 Nimitz -class carriers (the Gerald Ford -class will carry the same air wing, although the lead ship is not yet operational). These ships generally operate 64 aircraft, twice as many as their competitors. Further, unlike almost all non-American carriers, the Nimitz-class is equipped for catapult takeoff and arrested recovery (CATOBAR), permitting the operation of heavy aircraft with full loads of weapons and fuel. 2019 Nimitz-class air wing: 4x E-2D, 5x EA-18G, 44x F/A-18E/F, 11x MH-60R/S Arguably the most important aircraft in this air wing are its 4 the E-2 Hawkeye 29-ton fixed-wi