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back to article Royal Navy plans world's first running-jump jet

British boffins and test pilots are continuing to work on a new deck-landing technique, to be employed by Blighty's upcoming generation of supersonic stealth jumpjet drivers when coming aboard the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers. It seems possible that the "Shipborne Rolling Vertical Landing" (SRVL) may become a routine …

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Alert

Overshoot?

so perfect every time then...

It is difficult to overshoot when vertical. and with arrester landings full AB is used so if the arrester wire is missed the plane can return to the sky... Now with an arrestor-less rolling descent doesn't the Overshoot question come into play? these are not going to be going fast enough to return to the sky (they will be too heavy with Downward Nozzles) so what are they going to do about overshoot? a big net? or a deep pocket?

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Coat

"specific in terms of temperature, altitude"

well since we are talking about carriers, I'm guessing the altitude requirements will be about 20 meters above sea level.

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Anonymous Coward

"boffinry"

Seriously?

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Reverse Thrust???

I know that these planes have thrust vectoring, but do they have a reverse thrust capability. This would solve the overshoot problem mostly.

I would also like to say that in the event that you are dealing with a lot of planes at one time, most likely they will not be returning with weapons, or at all.

Like when they are fighting/intercepting/bombing etc.

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Paris Hilton

Anger Moon

The solution is simple - do not land. I'm sure the F-35 is able to refuel in flight. It would be a trivial matter to outfit the pilot with a special flight suit that washes the body, disposes of human waste, and massages the muscles. The HUD could be adapted to show television programmes and/or computer games. The pilot could stay in the cockpit for six months or so, and would be replaced at the end of his stint via helicopter.

I am going to fax this proposal to NATO tonight.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: "boffinry"

Yes. Boffinry.

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IT Angle

Idea

Why not have a 'travelator' for the plane to land on?

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'Scuse civvy ignorance

I realise they can't generate the power for a catapult to get them in the air, but why can't they use an arrestor wire system to get them back on deck? It doesn't require any power (quite the opposite surely).

Why can't they use these pointlessly expensive VTOL capabilities to get in the air then use arrestor wires to recover them? Are they that hard to fit to a carrier?

Am I hopelessly misunderstanding the issues here?

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re: Reverse Thrust?

I'm not so sure that this is possible as well as providing Down Thrust, Dont these use a 90 Degree Bend on the main Jet Nozzle and a fan in the Fuseage? with the 90 degree bend in use, I suspect you probably wont get usable reverse thrust, (not simple reverse flaps)

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Ski Jump

What I always wondered was: doesn't taking off up a ski ramp with a full load of fuel and weapons put an immense shock onto the undercarriage?

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cor
Paris Hilton

Altitude

<quote>....though they admitted that the British requirement was "specific in terms of temperature, altitude and so on ... there will be instances" </quote>

*altitude*?

Ehuum, does sea-level vary outside the british isles?

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Coat

No Need for Pilots ......

Since every wardroom in the fleet has a complement of officers experienced in "carrier deck landings" that are exactly as described - a running jump followed by a heavy thud and slide to a standstill .... usually on the dining table(s).

For the uninitiated, "carrier deck landings" is a game played in wardrooms at that late stage of the evening when even mess rugby seems too tame. The idea is to simulate, as faithfully as possible, the action of landing on a carrier deck, complete with kicking one's legs up to catch the arrestor wire - usually a rolled bed sheet. It's fun at the time, but OMG the front of one's body is mightily bruised in the morning. And heaven forbid you should misjudge where the edge of the table is ....

The real question, though, is will the RN's new carriers progress beyond using a shaken up beer can to douse the flames if there is a "crash on deck"?

Mine's the beer-soaked mess jacket, thanks.

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Bronze badge
Stop

Good for?

So, like why when the rest of the world just forks out for tried and tested carriers big enough, and the aircraft designed to work on them, do we go for the bodged different approach?

And am I the only one who'll feel just a little bit sad at the sight of the BRITISH Royal Navy flying US warplanes?

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Joke

@Lewis Page

Hi Lewis, I'm writing to inform you that your El-Reg byline has been hacked, and someone is putting out articles under your name.

Us long-term readers can immediately tell this, since there were no Page-ean turns of phrase (Buckets of Sunshine, extra-mural early afternoon meals etc.)

Enjoyed the article though.

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cor
Coat

VTOL my hole

Thunderbirds had this sorted in the sixties already.

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Anonymous Coward

Fast Carrier

Brilliant plan, now all we need is an aircraft carrier that can do 50 knots.

Hmm... hull speed for a displacement boat, needs to be 470 yards.

An alternative would be to raise the density of the air around the carrier improving the planes aerodynamic performance. Just before landing the carrier pumps out a vast cloud of CO2 - simple. Reduces fire risk too.

Or, giant fans on the carrier could generate the lift from the boat rather than the plane.

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Boffin

Really a good idea ?

VTOL and jet fighters has always striked me as a solution in search of a problem. the trade-off you have to cope with are such that no good solution is possible.

The harrier was a capable plane, but its role was much more limited than a conventional one. F35B looks like a very expensive way of degrading performance of a good plane.

Of course you need much larger ships for the "normal" catapult and arrest wires thingies, but at least, when airborne you have a plane with similar capabilites as it land based cousins.

This approach seems a possible improvement, but it raises another few questions on its own :

- with no arrest wires, you will still need a fairly important vertical component in the landing motion. Could be quite rough on the airframe, no ?

- A military plane, by definition, can come back with damages. How a damaged plane will be able to do such a difficult maneuver ?

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Silver badge

Easier solution

If we built a really, really, really fast ship that steams along at about 500 mph, the pilot could just land, switch off the jet and walk away.

I can't see any possible shortcomings with this idea and what's more, we could get Gerry Anderson to design it.

Which would be FAB.

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Anonymous Coward

Quick check shows a "been there done that"

Russians apparently deployed this technique for Yak 38 in tropical climate due to it being unusable otherwise. They used a backup arresting net just in case.

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The water is soft

What's the big deal? The water's soft, it's not like hitting concrete. Plus, at the temperatures this is likely to happen it'll be warm too.

If the pilot doesn't want a bath, he just uses his ejector seat, right?

"The pilot could stay in the cockpit for six months or so, and would be replaced at the end of his stint via helicopter."

I like this idea, I saw Charlton Heston do it once in a movie and it worked a treat. He even got the girl at the end.

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Bronze badge

just re-route

45% of main thrust into verticles thrusts with mini jets to keep the flow a constant, and heatrods that wouldnt use much electric from a battery

phone up mclaren and get theyre KERS system. for a lockhead, rolls royce, mclaren fighter stealth rolling jumpjet

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Sea level and hovering

Altitude is relative, not absolute, so YES, obviously there would (hopefully) be 'near' sea level altitude absolute altitude, but temperature would make relative altitude vary.

The F-35 doesn't have swivelling outlets for main engines as per Harrier. Instead the main engine can be vectored down at the back and the lift-fan at the front provides counter-balancing up-thrust.

If it over-shot it's still hovering (with forward velocity) and can go-around or maybe to some extent back-up.

Being at high speed on an attempted landing is only necessary if your airplane can STALL as then you can fly away and go-around

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Go

Why not just make the carrier faster

Surely the obvious answer is that if the carrier moves along faster then the relative speed difference between the deck of the ship and the fighter will be less.

Perhaps that is too obvious.

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Boffin

Boring bit

(boffinry goggles activated)

Travelator: no, cos planes don't have powered wheels. It's the air-speed you need to brake, not the ground-speed.

Soft water: also no, actually pretty hard if you fall in from a height. That's why people can die/get crippled whilst jumping/diving badly into water from just a few metres up.

How about smearing the runway with very sticky jam?

TBH - the point about this only being required if a lot of aircraft return all at once fully-laden is important. That won't happen in a war situation, and can be planned against when there's less stress.

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Joke

outside the box

Why not just put some more air in the tyres

or how about an inflatable airbag the plane drops/crashes on to :)

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Go

FATAL

I've got the answer to all the Navy's problems: Fan Assisted Takeoff And Landing.

Vivian: "It's com-pletely brilliant!".

So it works* like this:

1) Stick some mega-huge fans under the carrier deck blowing air upwards through a grill on the deck. I mean huge fans, not like those panzy-ass motorized blowers you see behind the scenes of Twister. I am talking about those wind tunnel whirlers the F1 teams use to make their cars go faster.

2) Push jet, helicopter, boat, rubbish, naughty sailors or whatever onto grate.

3) Throttle up Fan to "Launch Speed"

4) Stand back and watch as items on deck accelerate upwards like fish in a water fountain.

5) Whenever said items wish to "land", repeat procedure as they are coming down into the "Target Landing Area".

6) After objects have come to rest, re-throttle up fan to "Spin Cycle" to clean up debris, blood, bone etc ready for next "landing"

There are some other benefits to FATAL:

1) Training: The paras could use it to practice their skydiving techniques.

2) Defence: bombs falling towards the deck could be blown back from whence they came

3) Thrust: When not used in FATAL mode, the air could be vectored backwards to add thrust to the carrier. This would be really useful if the Navy needs to deploy in the Bayou Swamps.

-- Phil

* Actual results may vary

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Silver badge
Go

Fly-by

Having recently watched the Sailor episode where the hapless Bucaneer pilot took about 10 attempts to land on the Audacious class Ark Royal (the one scrapped in the early eighties), it is clear that deck landings are always fraught with problems.

I don't see why a F35B would not be able to just go to full thrust, possibly bounce, and get back up to flying speed before running out of deck. The ski jump will not get in the way (at least in the CTOL design of CVF), because the aircraft will be landing on the angled part of the flight desk, and this will always have to be clear for a non-vertical landing.

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Dead Vulture

Civvy Ignorance - Chris

Adding an arrestor wire hook means significantly improving the 'structural integrity' (had to get that one in!) of the fuselage to take the immense forces required to get a warplane to go from 120+ knots to ~25 knots in 10 metres. Never had the pleasure myself but am reliably informed its like 'a kick in the groin, but all over'.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Black Helicopters

A couple of points

Re: Dunstan Vavasour

Yes - the undercarriage on a Harrier does get beasted pretty badly during take-off, but no worse than a heavy landing. That's why you design an undercarriage on all jets to use oleo-pneumatic shock absorption.

Re: Really a good idea ? - AC

So, if you look at the air-combat in the falklands war against pretty capable planes, the extra maneuverability you get from thrust vectoring actually made a big difference in dog-fights. Ok, back in those days the medium range missiles weren't up to the same standards as today, so you got more close range sidewinder stuff, but that is still relevant today as well. Why do you think they have the complex thrust vectoring on most modern fighters now?

Final point is a couple of people have mentioned returning with loads on not being an issue in wartime. Actually it is. The most simple examples that the US carriers do all the time (with 4 different launch positions) are recovering a combat air patrol at the same time as you are trying to launch a full fighter or bomber force. If recovering a couple of aircraft uses your entire deck, launching at the same or similar time is very hard. The other thing you can get is a situation with multi-role aircraft where you need to quickly recover the aircraft to re-role them. Let's say you are expecting an attack by a carrier force, you put up all your fighters for defence, but for some reason your intel is wrong and you want to rapidly switch the fighter defence for a full attack profile with mainly bombers - you might have to land you entire wing, with AMRAAMs on board, to re-equip with LGBs etc.

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Coat

@Nathan Hobbs

"I suspect our carriers wont be full sized comes down to 2 facts:

We don't have shipyards big anough to bild them

We don't have docks big enough to re-stock them."

I think it's more to the secret, hidden fact 3.

We don't have the defence budget anymore to build a supercarrier.

If the budget is there, then they could build / retrofit the docks to fit whatever ship needs to use them. No budget, use existing sites, build smaller ships.

Oh, what a wonderful way to decide the future of a country's defence network.

Mine's the one with 'conspiracy theorist' stamped across the back... in little red dots from the sniper teams' laser sights.

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Overshoot

The ramp will take care of that, assuming a one runway design for the carrier.

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Go

Been here before....

<quote> And am I the only one who'll feel just a little bit sad at the sight of the BRITISH Royal Navy flying US warplanes? </quote>

Like the WILDCAT, HELLCAT and DAUNTLESS?

And of course the CORSAIR (Once we resolved the landing problem).

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Hurrah Mister Cheese!

Well done for spotting things most people don't ever realise, our planes barely ever fly around in fully tooled up defensive combat patrol when not in a operational situation so why not use this technique.

And in fact the adoption of the Goalkeepr (I think, can't remember but its something like that) and the use of Type45 will mean the new carriers will be force projection.

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Paris Hilton

Why not solve it in the opposite way?

Instead of very short landing planes, cant they make a very long landing strip? Observe the butterfly's tong that rolls into a tight roll, and scale up. So a kind of furlongs*-long inflatable erection, rolled out over/above the water as needed. If you'd allow photo-comments I could clarify it all...

Will also make for good Navy slang and lowbrow humor.

[*Is the furlong an accepted Reg standard dimension, or only for speeds (furlongs-per-forthnight)? Sometimes I can't remember anymore, and that scares me. Paris because... eh... I don't remember either.]

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Boffin

what a waste of money

Bleedin boffins researching the already known - pah!

Is LP a tad too young to have watched how Buccaneers got back on deck? The Blackburn Buccaneer used compressor bleed air fed over the leading edge of the wing (years before NASA thought of it) to keep the wing flying at low airspeed; consequently, despite the pilots' best efforts, it did not really want to land at all. So they pretty much had to crash land the things every time. Even funnier watching the Buccs that were transferred into RAF service doing exactly the same routine on terra firma.

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Go

Weapon changeover

A speedy and smooth change of weapons for the planes aboard a carrier is vital for its own defence. "Back in the day" the Japanese were caught in one re-arming to many at Midway, and that battle essentially decided the war.

@Scott: its difficult enough getting a carrier weighing 65k tonnes rolling forward in the first place, let alone adding a few knots to its speed.

@Phil: FATAL is a brilliant idea. Not to mention the fact you could use it for paying tourists during peacetime......rush down to the Patent office at once.....

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Stop

What?!

@AC

</quote> So, if you look at the air-combat in the falklands war against pretty capable planes, the extra maneuverability you get from thrust vectoring actually made a big difference in dog-fights. </quote>

There were no instances of thust vectoring being used in combat during the Falklands. Also nothing that could reasonably be called a dogfight.

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ian
Bronze badge

Overshoot?

In fact overshoot during a vertical landing is possible and can result in a large, fuselage-shaped hole in the deck. I would expect to see the occasional vertical overshoot during heavy seas when the deck is rising and falling.

This would seem to be a good candidate for automation. I mean for avoiding the overshoot, not producing it. In any case, any landing that you can walk away from is a good landing.

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Been here before

@ Zimon

And the Phantom.

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@ cor

"Ehuum, does sea-level vary outside the british isles?"

Technically, yes. The sea level of the Pacific is about 20cm higher than the Atlantic.

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The other use of forward motion

Moving forward while landing like this also avoids having the engine suck in it's own hot, oxygen depleted exhaust gas.

Still, I think the FATAL idea is better.

As for sea level differences - German and Swiss bridge builders have fun with that one.

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Anonymous Coward

@ And the Phantom

You could hardly call that ungainly, slow, overweight and bloated monstrosity with 2 Rolls Royce fans a Phantom! That is an insult to a wonderful aircraft.

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Simple solution

Velcro ......

hooks on the tyres and loops on the deck

Job's a good un

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Paris Hilton

so

So a bad clone of the redoubtable Russian Sukhoi SU34/37 MKI is coming to the non existent UK RN Carrier that has yet to have been built for the usual UK cost over run specifications/crap accommodation designs for the shoehorned in extra crew let alone on the actual naval architects drafting board !

Oh well such is life the armchair warriors and admirals appear to be out in force today as they tend to forget the Russians were there before them !

What price a choice indeed ? , says a certain some one or some things in life never change because fools fail to recognize reality in a real world !

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Silver badge
Coat

Vertical Landing

Surely a vertical landing is *always* possible? It's what you need to do afterwards to make the aircraft ready for its next flight that varies.

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Happy

Altitude?

I would have though the altitude specidifcations for carrier landings were failrly specific and invarient.

i.e. About 1 flagpole above sea level.

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Silver badge
Boffin

Why not just use the old steam catapults?

What I do not get is why they keep saying you need nuclear power to generate enough steam for steam catapults. Ark Royal (R09, Audacious class) had steam catapults (maybe not as powerful as needed now), but had conventional propulsion.

Regarding VTOL not being useful: ask the US Marines about that one, they LOVE their OV8Bs (Harriers). It is also a solution if you think your long runways may be vulnerable to attack (Battle of Britain anyone), as a Harrier could take of from a FAR shorter stretch.

Still like the FATAL approach though

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Anonymous Coward

Shit Russian aircraft and big ships in the tidal Falklands

>So, if you look at the air-combat in the falklands war against pretty capable planes

The only "capable" planes the Argies had were the French Mirage's but for range they would have wiped out the fleet. The rest of their aircraft were sixties US planes, crippled by a US arms embargo. They even used a few swizzlestick driven things for ground attack.

>Ehuum, does sea-level vary outside the british isles?

Yes the rest of the world has tides, although not always as radical as the British ones.

>I suspect our carriers wont be full sized comes down to 2 facts:

They are full sized, just not fully equipped.

>We don't have shipyards big anough to bild them

Yes we do, but only a right numpty would build a hull in a first world country.

>We don't have docks big enough to re-stock them.

Yes we do, but carriers are mostly restocked at sea, indeed the fit out of every large ship is done afloat.

@heystoopid

>redoubtable Russian Sukhoi SU34/37 MKI

It's not. Russian aircraft are shit. The techno-gizmosity (avionics) is what matters and the yanks have it.

The main disappointment with the whole Georgian slaughter is that the yanks didn't take the opportunity to show the Russians what a real military looks like. The ruskies would've had their asses whupped, more than Max Mosely on a two-for-one Tuesday - because Russian stuff is crap.

(AND REG! Why do all my comments come out double spaced!!! [FF3, Windows])

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Anonymous Coward

@Phil : FATAL

That was my idea, you're only getting the credit because of a catchy backornym.

Bloody marketroids.

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