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snakes3425

USS United States

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The Aircraft Carrier that would've been able to carrying bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, that was infamously cancelled in favor of the Air Force's B36 Long Range Bomber Should this ship have been cancelled or should it have been built, if so how would it have fared given the state of the Cold War era 

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11 minutes ago, snakes3425 said:

The Aircraft Carrier that would've been able to carrying bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, that was infamously cancelled in favor of the Air Force's B36 Long Range Bomber Should this ship have been cancelled or should it have been built, if so how would it have fared given the state of the Cold War era 

Carriers do have planes with nukes!  Lots of them.  This is not new. Am I understanding you correctly?

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45 minutes ago, snakes3425 said:

The Aircraft Carrier that would've been able to carrying bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, that was infamously cancelled in favor of the Air Force's B36 Long Range Bomber Should this ship have been cancelled or should it have been built, if so how would it have fared given the state of the Cold War era 

Actually, the B-36 should have been cancelled.  It was obsolescent before it took its first flight, and obsolete by the time it entered service.  This was a huge, lumbering, slow, aircraft using piston engines at a time when jet aircraft were coming into service.  Building it at all was a waste of money.

Nuclear delivery is better handled by tactical aircraft or ballistic missiles.  The short window where a "strategic" bomber was necessary for this opened in 1945 and closed by 1955.

On the other hand, the carrier United States had some issues in design that probably could have been worked out.  As follow-on classes of "super" carrier starting with the Forrestal class proved, carriers are a flexible weapons system.  Today, there are 21 B-2 bombers in USAF service.  If you count the LHD's, the US has 20 aircraft carriers in service.  Guess which make more difference on a daily basis...

As you can see, the USAF was utterly wrong in that it really has no strategic role to play and is simply an extension of land or naval warfare, an appendage to the US Army for all intents.

Edited by Murotsu

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27 minutes ago, snakes3425 said:

The Aircraft Carrier that would've been able to carrying bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, that was infamously cancelled in favor of the Air Force's B36 Long Range Bomber Should this ship have been cancelled or should it have been built, if so how would it have fared given the state of the Cold War 

The short answer, it was a budget decision.

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24 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

Actually, the B-36 should have been cancelled.  It was obsolescent before it took its first flight, and obsolete by the time it entered service.  This was a huge, lumbering, slow, aircraft using piston engines at a time when jet aircraft were coming into service.  Building it at all was a waste of money.

Nuclear delivery is better handled by tactical aircraft or ballistic missiles.  The short window where a "strategic" bomber was necessary for this opened in 1945 and closed by 1955.

On the other hand, the carrier United States had some issues in design that probably could have been worked out.  As follow-on classes of "super" carrier starting with the Forrestal class proved, carriers are a flexible weapons system.  Today, there are 21 B-2 bombers in USAF service.  If you count the LHD's, the US has 20 aircraft carriers in service.  Guess which make more difference on a daily basis...

As you can see, the USAF was utterly wrong in that it really has no strategic role to play and is simply an extension of land or naval warfare, an appendage to the US Army for all intents.

not to mention the B-1 bombers are also getting upgrades and we got a new bomber (I forget the number) that have very good flight range and bomb carrying capacity !:fish_book: I even hear they' are considering making an upgraded version for the A-10 as well, though we don't know what this will be. for all we know it could just be a number of upgrade packages just like with the A1 Abrams.:cap_hmm:

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1 hour ago, snakes3425 said:

The Aircraft Carrier that would've been able to carrying bombers equipped with nuclear weapons, that was infamously cancelled in favor of the Air Force's B36 Long Range Bomber Should this ship have been cancelled or should it have been built, if so how would it have fared given the state of the Cold War era 

so basically an american version of the habakuk?:cap_hmm: actually given the original size of the habakuk compared to todays super carriers, it would probably be a good investment. especially for Pacific combat use. might have to ditch the pykrete armor though!:Smile_child:

 

Habakuk is at the end. pause at 3:40

 

 

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1 hour ago, Murotsu said:

Actually, the B-36 should have been cancelled.  It was obsolescent before it took its first flight, and obsolete by the time it entered service.  This was a huge, lumbering, slow, aircraft using piston engines at a time when jet aircraft were coming into service.  Building it at all was a waste of money.

This is only partially true. 

It's true, the B-36 began development shortly before WWII and was originally powered by six huge Prat and Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major engines which could product up to 3,800 hp each.  However. the aircraft's huge wingspan also allowed the mounting of four General Electric J-47 turbojets (the same engine type used to power the F-86 Saber) to supplement the older radial engines with another 5,200 pounds of thrust each.  

What made the B-36 useful however was it's range, payload capacity and high altitude operations. 

In the days before effective in-flight refueling, the B-36 was the only bomber capable of launching attacks deep into Soviet territory.  Jet bomber alternatives of the time simply could not fly far enough to be an effective strategic threat.  

The B-36 was the only aircraft with the payload lifting capacity to carry the early versions of the hydrogen bomb.  In fact, it's lifting capacity was greater than the B-52 that eventually replaced it and was not equaled until the development of the Boeing 747 and the C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft.  

Finally, the B-36 could operate at extremely high altitudes which most of the contemporary jet fighters and interceptors could not reach which, for a time, made them almost immune from enemy aircraft and other air defenses. 

The USS United States, had she been built, would not have been able to operate equivalent aircraft.  There was nothing in the naval aviation lineup, nor really anything planned, which  could have realistically matched the capabilities of the B-36 nor one that was likely to be able to effectively complete the same type of mission, the ability to launch nuclear strikes deep into the Soviet Union essentially bringing to nuclear threat to all areas of that country. 

One also has to remember that both the United States and the B-36 did not come into being during the age of the high altitude jet interceptor, the high altitude Surface to Air Missile or the effective intercontinental ballistic missile.  These technologies were still well into the future, some more than two decades away when the B-36 and United States were ready to be put into production or construction.  In 1946, when the first B-36's rolled out of the factories, they were simply an unstoppable weapons system capable of carrying a payload of nuclear weapons so that even one such aircraft could launch a strike and devastate any target in the world with impunity.  

At the time, the decision was really pretty much a no-brainer as it was fairly obvious which system would be the most effective in the nuclear strategic deterrence category in the late 1940's.  

If someone could have a working crystal ball in 1946, the long term decision might have been different.  Even so, the United States, as originally designed, was not a traditional carrier and was not designed for the traditional mission of an aircraft carrier.  She was designed specifically as a "bomber carrier" and would have had limited usefulness as a normal CV in her designed form.  She could have been significantly reconstructed over the years to incorporate these capabilities but even so, she would have been a very expensive ship and the retrofitting of the old Essex and Midway class carriers as well as the eventual construction of the smaller but more capable Forrestals in the mid-1950's was probably a better investment than the United States would have been. 

Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel

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By 1945 standards, the B-36 was obsolescent at best.  Let's take the B-36H, one of the larger production runs (83 planes).  It cruised at 203 knots.  It's maximum speed was 361 knots at 36,700 feet with a combat service ceiling of 40,900 feet.  It had a flight radius of 2,807 miles.

The B model of 1945 is worse.  It's top speed is 331 knots with a ceiling of 38,800 feet and it cruises at 176 knots.

(figures from Post-World War II Bombers 1945 - 1973, United States Air Force Reference Series)

Any jet of the late 40's and certainly of the 50's could exceed the B-36's ceiling and with a speed of just over 400 mph, it wasn't going to be able to outrun even piston engine fighters in 1945.  Even the mediocre P-59 Airacomet could theoretically intercept it.

By the time the B-36H was in service, the US had the Nike Ajax SAM and the Soviets were deploying the S-25 Berkut SAM.

The reason it got built was the USAF needed, desperately, to prove itself a separate service in the late 40's.  It couldn't do that if it didn't have a clearly defined (at the time) mission to call its own.  The USAF was easily the best service at politicking Congress for funding at the time.  That was what led to The Revolt of the Admirals.

Edited by Murotsu

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8 hours ago, Murotsu said:

Actually, the B-36 should have been cancelled.  It was obsolescent before it took its first flight, and obsolete by the time it entered service.  This was a huge, lumbering, slow, aircraft using piston engines at a time when jet aircraft were coming into service.  Building it at all was a waste of money.

Nuclear delivery is better handled by tactical aircraft or ballistic missiles.  The short window where a "strategic" bomber was necessary for this opened in 1945 and closed by 1955.

On the other hand, the carrier United States had some issues in design that probably could have been worked out.  As follow-on classes of "super" carrier starting with the Forrestal class proved, carriers are a flexible weapons system.  Today, there are 21 B-2 bombers in USAF service.  If you count the LHD's, the US has 20 aircraft carriers in service.  Guess which make more difference on a daily basis...

As you can see, the USAF was utterly wrong in that it really has no strategic role to play and is simply an extension of land or naval warfare, an appendage to the US Army for all intents.

Convair pulled a lot strings to make the B-36 happen, which also included canceling the B-49 and essentially stealing the B-29 from Boeing.

 

As an interesting aside, the pissed off Navy ordered the Martin P6M SeaMaster to fill the role of the USS United States. The idea was if we can't build a carrier to launch super sonic strategic bombers, then we will launch super sonic strategic bombers from the ocean itself.

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Edited by Chimera2

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5 hours ago, Murotsu said:

By 1945 standards, the B-36 was obsolescent at best.  Let's take the B-36H, one of the larger production runs (83 planes).  It cruised at 203 knots.  It's maximum speed was 361 knots at 36,700 feet with a combat service ceiling of 40,900 feet.  It had a flight radius of 2,807 miles.

The B model of 1945 is worse.  It's top speed is 331 knots with a ceiling of 38,800 feet and it cruises at 176 knots.

(figures from Post-World War II Bombers 1945 - 1973, United States Air Force Reference Series)

Any jet of the late 40's and certainly of the 50's could exceed the B-36's ceiling and with a speed of just over 400 mph, it wasn't going to be able to outrun even piston engine fighters in 1945.  Even the mediocre P-59 Airacomet could theoretically intercept it.

By the time the B-36H was in service, the US had the Nike Ajax SAM and the Soviets were deploying the S-25 Berkut SAM.

The reason it got built was the USAF needed, desperately, to prove itself a separate service in the late 40's.  It couldn't do that if it didn't have a clearly defined (at the time) mission to call its own.  The USAF was easily the best service at politicking Congress for funding at the time.  That was what led to The Revolt of the Admirals.

How is that bad by 1945 standards? Beats the B-29 in most respects.

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1 hour ago, Lampshade_M1A2 said:

How is that bad by 1945 standards? Beats the B-29 in most respects.

The B-29D would be the equivalent.  That is, the re-badged B-50 (a re-engined B-29).  Cruise is 212 knots, speed at altitude is 343 knots at 30,000 feet and the service ceiling is 36,900 feet.  Combat radius is 2,082 miles,  or about 70% that of the B-36.  That makes it slightly faster than a B-36D with nearly the same radius of action.  It can carry 28,000 lbs. of bombs so it could have toted even a thermonuclear device.

So, the B-36 really isn't much of an improvement over the B-29 except in load and to a lesser degree, range.

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