File this one under “WTF?!?”

You all know that Murdoc often comes out in favor of older established military technology. But get a load of this, noted in Defense Industry Daily’s CBO Report on America’s FY 2006 Defense Plans (updated):

In the naval section, on page 31, CBO’s “evolutionary” alternative includes this: “The CVN-21 carrier program would be canceled; its replacement would be a large-deck conventionally powered aircraft carrier, equivalent in size to today’s existing conventional carriers of about 80,000 tons. Under the evolutionary alternative, the Navy would buy the first ship of that class in 2012.

Drunk sailors. Gotta be drunk sailors.


Pages 66-71 re: USA air tanker fleet. Their “evolutionary alternative” would upgrade current KC-135Es to KC-135R standard via re-engining and other refits, and defer purchases of new tankers until 2019.

This one doesn’t seem as outlandish as the idea to build new conventionally-powered carriers. If the tankers’ life can be extended, it’s probably the way to go.

But a problem might be that the Air Force is looking at combining the tanker and cargo missions (among other things) into one aircraft. Deciding that the current tanker fleet is suddenly viable for a lot longer than previously advertised weakens the justification for this proposed new multi-role plane and jeopardizes the other missions depending upon it. Which is exactly what Murdoc fears.

Hey! Speaking of tankers: EADS rolls out tanker demonstrator

Boom! With pics.


  1. If the opposite of ‘PRO’ is ‘CON’, then what is the opposite of ‘PROGRESS’? After years of going with nuclear power for CVs, why the step backward to fossil fuel? I was asking this question about the Ticonderoga-class CGs. The CGNs were built to be able to stay with the CVNs without having to refuel. Answer: Nickel-nursers in congress who want to spend more money on vote-buying programs.

  2. How much does the fuel that a CG burn up cost vs. refueling a CGN occasionally? Probably comparable, however the CGNs reduce dependence on foreign oil, which is especially a good thing in case of war.

  3. conventionally powered aircraft carrier’ sounds like someone was wanting a replacement for the Kittyhawk (CV63). Something that could homeport in Japan (or visit New Zealand) without attracting anti-nuclear kamikazes. With the new status of forces agreement with Japan allowing the Kittyhawk to be replaced by a CVN, maybe this reference to a conventional carrier was written before the new SOF agreement. I don’t see anything else that makes sense.