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"Is The Retired Carrier USS Kitty Hawk Coming Out ..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2017 11:23 a.m. PST

…Of Mothballs?.

"Bringing back its last operational conventionally powered supercarrier would help the Navy make its 12 carrier fleet goal a reality.

As the US Navy struggles to figure out how it can reach its new goal of a 355 ship fleet—up from 275 ships today—as quickly as possible, it has been looking towards extending the life of the ships it already has in service. Now the service is also examining the possibility of selectively pulling ships out of mothballs, refurbishing them, and sending them back to the fleet. One ship in particular may have a better shot than others at sailing the high seas once again—the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)—America's last operational conventionally fueled supercarrier…"


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Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member10 Jun 2017 12:11 p.m. PST

Bring back 1-2 of the battleships…

Charlie 12 Inactive Member10 Jun 2017 2:07 p.m. PST

Not a chance. The Hawk decommissioned in 2009. To bring her back up to current standards would cost too much and take too long. And you'd still have a 60+ year old hull.

vicmagpa110 Jun 2017 5:02 p.m. PST

he was thinking of bringing back one of the battleships. there combat record has been very impressed. kinda hard to knock down a 16 inch shell vs a missile. with all the ounter EW systems. the 16 inch shell has no rival. besides the thick armor could withstand a missile hit.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member11 Jun 2017 3:42 a.m. PST

Would there be a need to bring it up to 'current standards'? If it is brought back to do a specific job in a defined area where it is not likely to face modern opposition then it basically needs to be given reliable, safe mobility and the ability to launch and retrieve aircraft – and only the minimum necessary in other areas.

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

The Bleeped text Kitty?.. I don't think so..just build islands in the oceans to act as aircraft sites..oh wait ..the Chinese ?..really.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2017 2:10 p.m. PST



doug redshirt Inactive Member11 Jun 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

Land based air defeats sea based air. Remember why we wanted those islands in the Pacific, not for the Palm trees, but for the runways. What we need is more planes to put on those islands.

Lion in the Stars11 Jun 2017 9:50 p.m. PST

The Bleeped text Kitty was in piss-poor material condition in the 1980s.

I'm surprised she hasn't sunk at the pier yet!

jdginaz11 Jun 2017 10:21 p.m. PST

"Land based air defeats sea based air."

I may be overlooking something but I can't recall any battle where land based air defeated sea based air.


Ottoathome Inactive Member12 Jun 2017 2:00 p.m. PST

Oh no Jdginaz! You are wrong. It was a cardinal belief of Japan in WWII and look how well they did.


doug redshirt Inactive Member12 Jun 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

No one ever sunk an island. The advantages of land based air is numbers. Sure you can overwhelm a small airfield with several carriers worth of planes, but how often is that going to happen today?

How close did the UK come to losing in the Falklands, and that was at the outer limits of the Argentine jets? Several hundred kilometers closer to the main land and the UK would have lost even more ships.

Would any one like to try this against a more powerful airforce like the Chinese or Russians have?

Charlie 12 Inactive Member12 Jun 2017 6:41 p.m. PST

No one ever sunk an island. The advantages of land based air is numbers. Sure you can overwhelm a small airfield with several carriers worth of planes, but how often is that going to happen today?

Couple of problems with your analysis…

ISLANDS DON'T MOVE… Which means 1) They're not always where you need them to be 2) They're hard to hide and 3) They're real easy to target (down to the last square inch) with any kind of missile ordinance you may have (TLAMS for example). Which can be launched from all kinds of platforms (like subs, carriers, long range aircraft, surface ships, etc…).

No one ever sunk an island.

But you can sure as hell make it irrelevant (ask the Japanese about Wake… or Rabaul…)

How close did the UK come to losing in the Falklands, and that was at the outer limits of the Argentine jets? Several hundred kilometers closer to the main land and the UK would have lost even more ships.

Now this shows an appalling lack of knowledge of modern carrier air. The reason the Brits got in such a bind was that THEY LACKED ANY AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING CAPABILITY. If they had even a rudimentary system in place (say, a search range of 100nm), the Argies would have been intercepted well short of the task force with appalling losses.

Would any one like to try this against a more powerful airforce like the Chinese or Russians have?

Its been modeled. Many times. By the US and the Soviets. And, in the words of one senior Soviet Naval Air officer, it would have taken MULTIPLE regiments (each approx 60 T-22Ms) to swamp ONE US carrier group's defenses. With very heavy losses. And that's assuming you can FIND the carrier (remember? they can MOVE. A LOT…).

Charlie 12 Inactive Member12 Jun 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

The "Bleep" Kitty was in piss-poor material condition in the 1980s.

I'm surprised she hasn't sunk at the pier yet!

Yeah, the old girl was in rough shape when they laid her up. That's why bringing her back is one the most lamed brained ideas on record.

And, BTW, the "Bleep" Kitty WAS her legit nickname! (Along with the "Connie" and the "Rango Maru". All three called San Diego home…)

jdginaz13 Jun 2017 1:01 a.m. PST

That is the advantage of Carriers you can distribute them within range of an island and destroy any aircraft on it at your own discretion nd then move on to another.

"Sure you can overwhelm a small airfield with several carriers worth of planes, but how often is that going to happen today?"

As likely if not more so than as anytime in history. Despite all the hoopla over "Carrier Killer ballistic missiles" there isn't any actual evidence that there are any that are a real threat. It's a lot harder to find and kill a Carrier at sea with a long range missile that most people think.

As for the other Air Forces they also aren't as big threat as some want us to believe and won't be for some time.

Old Wolfman13 Jun 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

If they do the refit,she might not be the youngest gal at the dance,but I'll bet she still has some serious moves left.

Murvihill13 Jun 2017 1:26 p.m. PST

We had the "Forrest Fire" and the "Super Sara" in Mayport.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2017 11:29 a.m. PST

About islands versus airpower…Pantellaria, anyone ?

Lion in the Stars15 Jun 2017 6:07 p.m. PST

Apparently the four-letter word starting with "shhhh" and ending with "it" is enough to get you DH'd for 3 days.

But yeah, the Kitty Hawk was in atrocious material condition when she was retired early. Chances of her being any approximation of salvageable today are just about nil.

We'd probably have better luck returning the Iowas to service!

Charlie 12 Inactive Member15 Jun 2017 6:31 p.m. PST

Too true, Lion. Kitty Hawk (and the other big deck carriers) have had long, hard commissions. She lasted just short of 49 years. And that's 49 years of almost constant use (short of yard times). That's a whole lot of miles and whole lot of wear and tear.

Dobber16 Jun 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

Yeah no. Bring the Iowas back, add some capability to the fleet thay has been sorely lacking. It might even fix the LCS fiasco.
Iran threatens to close the straight… Meet USS New Jersey.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member16 Jun 2017 6:47 p.m. PST

Bring back the Iowas? That's even sillier than bringing back the Hawk.

Apache 617 Jun 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

I know she was old, but what would prevent a service life extension on the Enterprise?

Dobber18 Jun 2017 7:10 a.m. PST

My understanding was that refueling the 8 reactors was going to cost a metric shitton of money.
At least the Iowas would add a capability to the fleet that it dosent already have a dozen times over. On top of the intrinsic qualities of being a battleship, the Navy has decommissioned all of its dedicated flagship. The Iowas could fill that role quite nicely, and without being completley defenseless this time…

Lion in the Stars18 Jun 2017 7:40 p.m. PST

Big problem with refurbishing the Beast of the East is that refueling all her reactors would eat an absurd amount of money, assuming that there's any life left in the rest of the powerplant (neutron embrittlement is a big problem).

Replacing all 8 reactors would cost about as much as a new carrier!

For that matter, returning the Iowas to service ain't going to happen, either. They require far too much manpower to operate, and very few people remember how to run those steam plants (steam plants are unique to a class of ship). Not to mention that we don't have the capability of making new 16" ammo for them.

I'd look at making a batch of the Des Moines-class CLs, but using the new 155mm guns instead of the 8" guns. Nine 155mm guns, capable of firing over 100nm. Would also need to use gas turbines instead of steam (nuke would be better, but it'd take a decade to design the plant). Replace the flank 5" guns with VLS missiles, fore and aft 5" with CIWS, 3" guns replaced with a mix of 30mm Mk44 and 57mm Mk110 turrets. Keep all the armor, so it can basically bounce a hit from an Exocet or Harpoon, even if one does manage to get through the defenses. MEU support pieces, to go into harm's way in the littorals and take a beating.

The Des Moines were big (~716ft long and 21,000 tonnes), but not big enough to need the ONE carrier-sized build slip the US has left.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member19 Jun 2017 6:46 p.m. PST

Interesting idea.. Except you don't need 9 tubes. Given the current state of munitions, you can get a lot more effect with lot fewer rounds. Ergo, fewer tubes. Still, the idea of a 'gun ship' is somewhat obsolete, all things considered.

Lion in the Stars20 Jun 2017 10:16 p.m. PST

Oh, I'm pretty sure that the new Des Moines would pack more missiles than a Ticonderoga (just in cells from the Zumwalts), the multiple guns are there to either really crank out the rounds when needed or to support 3 different areas simultaneously.

As I mentioned, these are the other 'solution' to the littoral operations question: Given the lethality of operating close to shore, do you 1) build lots of cheap ships so that losing one doesn't hurt much, or 2) build a ship with enough defenses to go in there and deal with the threats?

The LCS program attempted the first option, and hasn't done well. Besides, the US is horribly casualty-averse right now. So you really need to design for going in and swatting the threats before they can hurt you. Admittedly, plan 2 results in expensive ships.

Deadles Inactive Member02 Aug 2017 10:38 p.m. PST

Plan 2 also results in useless ships that haven't got much combat capability or a distinct role to play on the battlefield.

Lion in the Stars04 Aug 2017 9:28 p.m. PST

How do you figure, Deadles?

A New Des Moines would admittedly be biased for Naval Gunfire Support, so would usually hang out with the gator freighters of the MEU. But with 80+VLS tubes, she has roughly as many missiles as a Burke and in a pinch could also at least provide additional magazine space for a Burke's AEGIS system.

And that's assuming that we didn't mount AEGIS on the New Des Moines, which would definitely be a design option. After all, giving the New Des Moines AEGIS would allow for the Burkes to go elsewhere.

Plus, I'd also insist on having the 155mm shells capable of antiship work while we were at it (probably GPS+millimeter-wave radar), so you could rain hellfire on anything within 100nm, land or sea.

FreemanL29 Aug 2017 3:40 a.m. PST

Land versus ships:
Battle of Bismarck Sea March 1943. US Land Air power completely crushed a Japanese Invasion flotilla using skip bombing with B-25 and B-26 aircraft. "Pappy" Gunn's front loaded Mitchells with pretty much anything and everything he could put on them did a number on both escorts and marus. I beleive – and its been awhile since I've read something on the battle – that the Japanese also had a fighter escort overhead as well.

But outside of the real Billy Mitchell sinking the Ostfriedland, I am drawing blanks of successes. There may be more of a local nature though rather than decisive like Bismarck Sea (destroying or strafing local watercraft).

Windward05 Sep 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

Why not bring back the "Sinking 60 from Dixie"? None of these vessels will ever return, the cost benefit is not there. The Navy is going to have to suck it up, and the Ford Class going, in the end it will be a much better ship.

Windward05 Sep 2017 6:16 a.m. PST

Maybe a Big Gun hull is not a bad idea. It need not be a battleship in the classic sense, armored and tough. It need be effectively a super mortar ship. The VLS system is very cool and flexible and expensive. With improved munitions 16" guns can do a world of hurt supporting coastal operations on the relative cheap. But I think the age of armor is long gone.

Interestingly in Vietnam, the Navy could have dropped the famous Thanh Hóa Bridge "Dragon Jaw" any day they wished (it didn't fall till '72). The NJ could have rolled up and walked 16" shells back and forth over the bridge till there were only pieces big enough to carry home. But they sacrificed @104 American pilots using it as a technology demonstrator, as BB guns where "Proven" technology. One spotter plane early in the war was all we need have risked.


Lion in the Stars05 Sep 2017 2:28 p.m. PST

There is the small matter of getting the NJ close enough to hit the bridge, though I'm not sure the NVA 130mm guns would do much more than scratch the paint (and therefore annoy The Bosun).

The big problem with going to guns bigger than 203mm is that we just don't have the manufacturing capacity or institutional knowledge anymore. We cannot make gun barrels or shells.

But a ship packing 155mm or 203mm guns with modern ammo is still within our capabilities. I'd probably want to go to 203mm just for better shell volume and range, though I'm sure making a 155mm version of the APDS rounds used by tanks would make a decent bunker buster.

Windward05 Sep 2017 6:02 p.m. PST

The bridge wasn't very far inland, I'm pretty sure the NJ could have stood 5 miles off shore and shelled merrily away. Any concentration of NVA guns could have been dealt with either by the BB's guns or by aircraft not facing concentrated flak.

But you point is taken on making modern guns. Not sure how many shots the tubes of the 16"s have left, I remember in the 80s there were a dozen of them at Subic Bay.

But a gun ship as a support vessel with modern guns would be more viable for costal support. But the Navy is always looking for flexibility, and a gun ship would be a single mission ship. So lower cost, better mission performance will always lose to high cost flexibility.

Lion in the Stars06 Sep 2017 2:29 a.m. PST

Like I wrote earlier, I think that a New Des Moines class, with 3 turrets of rapid-firing guns and an array of other weapons would make an excellent addition to the gator-freighter flotillas.

If I was going to go completely over the top, they'd have two nuclear reactors onboard (from the Virginia-class), one to power the screws, the other to power a massive AA laser. This laser would be powerful enough to pop any incoming missile in a fraction of a second.

Then it'd have an AEGIS system and at least 80 missile cells from the Zumwalts, or at the very least be able to launch missiles for a Burke to control via the Cooperative Engagement datalinks. Having AEGIS would allow the New Des Moines to replace one Burke in the escort for the MEU.

Add a few of those new 50mm EAPS turrets that the Army has been working on for Counter-Rockets-and-Mortars work, though these would be to shoot up small boats (or the 57mm Mk110s, but I think the 50mm 'supershot' Bushmaster hybrid gun is a better gun.

Of course, a quartet of CIWS mounts. (Fore, Aft, Port and Starboard)

Make space for helicopters, too.

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