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SPECIAL REPORT

Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology Advances in Shipborne Helicopter Security Systems Marine Helicopter Handling The Case for Helicopter Carriers and Amphibious Assault Asian Amphibious Aspirations The Future of Deck Handling Technology

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

SPECIAL REPORT

Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology Advances in Shipborne Helicopter Security Systems

Contents

Marine Helicopter Handling The Case for Helicopter Carriers and Amphibious Assault Asian Amphibious Aspirations

Foreword

The Future of Deck Handling Technology

2

Mary Dub, Editor

Advances in Shipborne Helicopter Security Systems

3

Don McKay, Director of Sales and Marketing, Curtiss Wright – Indal

The First Step is Platform Analysis Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell

Advances in SAHS System Flexibility An SAHS Taxonomy SAHS Free-Deck SAHS The Mid-Range Approach: TC-ASIST Low-Cost, Smaller Footprint SAHS Solutions: MAST Free Deck Handlers: MANTIS The UAV Challenge

Marine Helicopter Handling 7 Mary Dub, Editor

Foerder – und Hebesysteme (FHS)

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Deck Handling Systems and Allied Interoperability

Editor Mary Dub

The Case for Helicopter Carriers and Amphibious Assault

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

9

Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

The Value of Helicopter Carriers in 21st Century Conflict

Production Manager Paul Davies

The Emergence of an Asian Amphibious Assault Capability

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles. © 2014. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

The Rapid Economic Growth and Defense Capabilities of China and Japan

Asian Amphibious Aspirations

11

Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

China’s Emergent Amphibious Capability Assessing China’s Amphibious Capability JS Izomo is Towed into Tokyo Bay The ROKN Dokdo Amphibious Assault Ship

The Future of Deck Handling Technology

13

Mary Dub, Editor

The Case for Sea Based Rather than Land Based Aircraft Future American Helicopters: Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Making the FVL a Reality Rather Than a Hostage to Congressional Fortune Geopolitics and the Viability of Helicopter Carrier Sales

References 15

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Foreword L

ANDING A helicopter at sea in high wind or

to acquire and maintain a carrier can be as long as

sea conditions is never a straightforward task.

50 years, so a sound and robust justification for

But advanced technology is available to facilitate

their diverse roles is of the first importance for their

this. Now the process of landing and handling

political viability. The third piece in the Report looks

manned and unmanned aircraft on naval vessels

at the case that is being made for the increasingly

is going through a process of rapid change. New

vital role played by helicopter carriers for the varied

advanced systems are available to secure these

tasks that confront a 21st century defense force.

expensive platforms with their essential capability

While Western states are faced with austerity and

for amphibious assault or humanitarian assistance.

harsh downward pressure on costs, China, Japan,

The opening article in this Special Report looks at

Thailand, India and other Asian states are building

the limitation on which types of aircraft ships can host

blue water navies to protect disputed territorial

because of the different size and types of helicopter

borders and provide humanitarian assistance to

fleets and the incompatibility between the various

littoral communities subject to the violent effects of

deck-based helicopter security systems, known

climate change, earthquakes and tsunamis. These

as Shipboard Aircraft Handling Systems (SAHS).

new Asian navies are actively acquiring helicopter

It describes the two types of devices with which

carriers and their associated deck technologies for

helicopters are fitted (probe-type and harpoon-style)

their new vessels. How they are doing this, is the

and points out that, until recently, a helicopter with

subject of the fourth article.

a harpoon could only land on a ship with an SAHS

While the technology is offering stability, the

system designed specifically for that type of device.

geopolitics of the countries acquiring the deck handling

This can add cost, time and complexity to the SAHS

technologies are not. Political upheaval by insurgents

system. The creation of a new class of more flexible

can change the political dynamics of the purchase of

SAHS that can capture helicopters regardless of

a helicopter carrier. The contracted Russian purchase

whether they have a probe or harpoon landing

of the ‘Vladivostok’ and the ‘Sebastopol’ helicopter

device installed is made possible through the use

carriers from French naval shipyards has become a

of computer-based simulation such as INDAL’s

highly controversial contract for NATO members this

Dynaface® modeling package.

summer after ‘incursions’ in Ukraine. The size and

The second article in this report reviews a Marine

expense of these vessels makes them iconic symbols

Commander’s task in ensuring that their marine

of association between trading partners, which can

helicopter capability can be managed with high levels

become vulnerable to changing alliances.

of effectiveness. The very high cost of aircraft and helicopter carriers makes them an obvious target in debates over priorities in defense spending. The length of time

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub is the editor of this Special Report. She has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Advances in Shipborne Helicopter Security Systems Don McKay, Director of Sales and Marketing, Curtiss Wright – Indal

Today’s naval requirements for shipboard helicopter operations drive a broad range of handling solutions.

T

ODAY, AROUND the globe, navies are being tasked with an ever greater range of missions. These missions often require the shipborne deployment of manned and unmanned rotary-wing aircraft. At the same time, the size and types of helicopter fleets continue to proliferate. Until recently ships were typically limited as to the types of aircraft they could host because of incompatibility between different types of deck-based helicopter security systems, referred to as Shipboard Aircraft Handling Systems (SAHS). The SAHS provides a reliable and efficient means to capture, straighten, traverse and store the aircraft while often enduring extreme sea conditions rated up to sea state 6. Optimizing the efficiency of shipborne helicopter deployment requires that the host ship be able to handle the widest variety of helicopter types. One major source of SAHS incompatibility results from the fact that some helicopters are outfitted with a probe-type device to assist in landing and capture, while others use harpoon-style connectors. Until recently, a helicopter with a harpoon could only land on a ship with an SAHS system designed specifically for that type of device. A key difference between probe and harpoon based systems is that the latter usually requires a separate system, most often sourced from a different supplier, to straighten and traverse the aircraft into the hangar after it has landed on the deck. The additional disconnect and connection steps associated with discrete systems can add cost, time, and complexity to the SAHS. On the other hand, probebased systems, such as Curtiss-Wright’s INDAL division’s Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse (ASIST), combine all of the capture, straightening and traversing capabilities in a single integrated system.

LANDING INTO AN ASIST SYSTEM

Today, a new generation of SAHS is being introduced to address the growing need to support simultaneous embarked manned and unmanned aircraft aboard the same ship. The result is a new class of more flexible SAHS that can capture helicopters regardless of whether they have a probe or harpoon securing device installed. There is also growing demand for smaller, lower-cost systems that are better suited for smaller surface craft. Helping to drive demand for these more compact solutions are budget constraints that encourage the greater use of smaller, space-constrained ships. While procurement costs drive the size of the ships down, the increased desire to deploy a variety of rotary-aircraft in naval applications is increasing the need for SAHS able to secure helicopters exposed to the higher ship motions typical of smaller vessels.

The First Step is Platform Analysis Regardless of whether the SAHS under consideration is a large, fully integrated system or one of the new smaller, lighter designs, the first step in optimizing the helicopter security system for performance and flexibility starts with an understanding of the unique deck conditions

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Until recently, a helicopter with a harpoon could only land on a ship with an SAHS system designed specifically for that type of device

and their influence on the ship’s securing and handling requirements. Recent years have seen major advances in the field of SAHS simulation technology. Computer-based simulation of particular ships and helicopters enables the definition of the optimal SAHS solution. Simulation involves applying mathematical equations that define the ship’s motion and performance parameters with data provided by helicopter manufacturers. This data includes the aircraft’s size, weight, center of gravity, windage area and landing gear damping coefficients. The resulting model enables simulation of the entire SAHS environment. Using the model, the system designer is able to calculate all of the necessary characteristics needed to define an optimal SAHS solution, such as ship motion, whether the helicopter’s tires are going to slide on the deck, and what the tie-down loads are going to be. Modeling enables the SAHS designer to propose the operational limits with a free-deck system, as well as determine the highest performance solution required to meet the maximum sea-state under which the operator wishes to undertake aircraft operations. An example of an SAHS simulator is INDAL’s Dynaface ® modeling package. Dynaface performs a wide variety of analyses to evaluate manned/unmanned rotary aircraft flight deck stability and optimization of SAHS equirements. It also expands the understanding of the dynamic interface. It uses a time based nonlinear 16 degree-of-freedom interface model, and can perform analysis for both wheeled and skid-type landing gears. Simulation also provides analysis of on-deck stability, operational limits and the interface load spectrum needed to support aircraft manufacturer and navy integration activities.

helicopter to the deck. In comparison to a track system, a cable-based system requires the placement of winches on the front, side and back of the ship. The winches are used to connect the cables to the helicopter, which are then manipulated to maneuver the helicopter into the hangar. With the use of cables, which must be long enough to run the length of the flight deck, there is still a risk of slippage due to the geometry of the securing forces, which can lead to safety issues. A third approach, known as freedeck maneuvering, is the least secure method for helicopter traversing because the helicopter is not directly connected to the ship. Free-deck systems typically feature the most limited seastate capabilities.

An SAHS Taxonomy Illustrating today’s various approaches to SAHS, INDAL provides a full range of solutions that range from the traditional fully integrated approach, with both track and free-deck systems, to today’s newer mid-range and lower cost solutions. For the last four decades the most widely used type of SAHS has been exemplified by INDAL’s RAST system, with over 260 systems delivered worldwide. RAST’s fully integrated functionality provides an automated capture system. The same system also handles the straightening and traversing of the aircraft into and out of the hangar. RAST is designed to work with helicopters that use a probe-style interface device.

Advances in SAHS System Flexibility After the ship and helicopter performance requirements are fully understood, the next step is to choose the appropriate SAHS for the vessel. As mentioned above, a fully integrated SAHS provides all of the capture, straighten, and traverse capabilities with a single system. Other SAHS can provide a subset of these functions and may need to be combined with third-party systems to provide a complete system. Competing SAHS solutions also use different methods to secure the helicopter to the deck. A built-in on-deck track system for securing and traversing the aircraft is the most secure approach. It provides a physical connection to the ship at all times, which is the only way to ensure optimal operation and secure performance in higher sea states. A less desirable alternative to a track system is the use of tensioned cables to secure the 4 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

RQ-8A FIRE SCOUT

With the RAST system, the pilot makes a normal approach to the flight deck and establishes a hover. The helicopter’s messenger cable is lowered to the deck and is then manually connected to the main recovery assist tethering cable, which is then hauled up to the helicopter and automatically locked into the main RAST probe. During a period of quiescence in the ship’s motion, the pilot requests the LSO to apply tension to the recovery assist cable. This tension produces a strong centering effect to stabilize the hover and directs the helicopter toward the designated landing area, as the pilot slowly flies the aircraft down. Immediately upon touchdown,


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

TC-ASIST MANEUVERING NH90

the LSO closes the arresting beams of the Rapid Securing Device (RSD) securing the helicopter probe. The aircraft is now ready to be aligned and traversed into the hangar.

Free-Deck SAHS For designers who prefer a free-deck landing system, INDAL’s Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse (ASIST) delivers advanced handling technology in a lightweight, fully integrated ‘wireless’ system. Using ASIST, helicopter landings are made solely by the pilot, during a quiescent period in ship motion. During descent, ASIST’s precision H.P.S.E. (Helicopter Position Sensing Equipment) system continuously tracks and monitors the exact position of the aircraft relative to the designated landing area and displays it to the pilot through a series of visual landing cues. Guidance data is simultaneously relayed to a computer-controlled RSD, which automatically moves fore and aft along the flight deck track to maintain its position directly beneath the probe on the underside of the helicopter. Immediately upon touchdown, the probe is secured by the RSD, and the aircraft is ready to be aligned and traversed into the hangar. On deck maneuvering using ASIST is easily conducted with a single operator. ASIST also eliminates the need to connect any ancillary equipment or guide cables to the helicopter. The unique design of the ASIST RSD makes it possible for the single operator to rotate a 30,000 pound helicopter through 360 degrees within the confines of the flight deck – all

while maintaining complete security in extreme sea states. To date, some 30 ASIST systems are currently installed or on order for seven navies, on ten ship types, operating with five different helicopters.

The Mid-Range Approach: TC-ASIST While ASIST is a popular system for those navies that have probe-equipped helicopters, for some navies the option to install a telescoping probe on their existing helicopters is difficult. Furthermore, today there is a growing demand for smaller, lower cost and more flexible systems that are able to support a mix of helicopter types. INDAL’s Twin-Claw ASIST (TC-ASIST) is an example of an innovative mid-range SAHS that enables the capture, straightening, and traverse of heterogeneous types of aircraft. It eliminates the need to make structural modifications to the aircraft. Instead of connecting to a probe or harpoon, TC-ASIST uses dual RSD mounted claws to capture the main landing wheels of the helicopter. The TC-ASIST system provides full security after landing and through all on-deck operations, up to and including Sea State 6 conditions. The pilot, assisted by visual cues, flies the aircraft to a position over the designated landing area on the flight deck. TC-ASIST’s RSD is fitted with a pair of claw arms designed to capture and secure the wheel spurs of the aircraft. It tracks the helicopter’s position with the capture arms at a ready position at either end of the RSD. The WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

The unique design of the ASIST RSD makes it possible for the single operator to rotate a 30,000 pound helicopter through 360 degrees within the confines of the flight deck – all while maintaining complete security in extreme sea states

claw arms are spring loaded and held in the down position until tire sensors contact each tire as the arms are brought in. Upon contact, spring force rotates the claw arm upwards until it contacts the wheel spur. Each claw arm acts independently, but they are mechanically interlocked to ensure simultaneous operation. After the aircraft is secured it is ready to be aligned and straightened for traversing from the designated landing area to the hangar or any intermediate location. All deck handling operations can be accomplished without the need for personnel on the flight deck.

Low-Cost, Smaller Footprint SAHS Solutions: MAST As helicopter deployments increase, helicopters are more frequently tasked with landing on smaller ships. To address the size and weight limits of smaller ships INDAL has introduced its newest SAHS, called the Manual Aircraft Straighten and Traverse (MAST) system. A smaller, lighter and more affordable variation of the TC-ASIST, MAST is designed to address the space constrained requirements of smaller ships. Like RAST and TC-ASIST, MAST is track-based. While RAST, ASIST, and TC-ASIST are usually controlled by an operator in a fixed console, typically located in the hangar, MAST is controlled using a pendant-style joystick-based control box that the operator, working alongside the aircraft, can hold or sling over their shoulder.

Free Deck Handlers: MANTIS For larger ships such as aircraft carriers and LPDs, where ship motion is not an issue, or for navies or coast guards whose operation limits aren’t too severe, INDAL’s line of specialized handlers provides the required deck traversing capabilities. The battery-powered MANTIS free deck handler can quickly and safely maneuver helicopters and fixed wing aircraft within the tight confines of a flight deck or shipboard hangar space. MANTIS, which interfaces directly with the aircraft through a patented Matrix head, eliminates the need for additional tow bars, ballast or airframe modifications. With its low-profile design and under-fuselage clearance, MANTIS is ideal for handling all currently in-service and proposed helicopters and fighter aircraft. It is also well-suited for use in shore-based maintenance facilities, where the zero emission design and ability to maneuver in confined spaces delivers much needed capabilities.

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MANTIS TRAVERSING A SEA-KING HELICOPTER

The UAV Challenge Another emerging challenge for designers of SAHS is the increased shipboard deployment of unmanned aircraft. Many UAVs don’t have wheels, but instead use skids or fixed legs that increase the handling complexity. This means that the unmanned aircraft must be put on a wheeled platform of some type, or physically lifted off the deck in order to be safely maneuvered. Some UAVs use a miniharpoon style connector. In that case the mini-harpoon grid can be attached directly to the track-based traversing system. For larger UAVs, INDAL offers a larger grid that physically runs up and down the track. The SAHS then grabs the grid, instead of connecting directly to the UAV. The grid is then towed into the hangar. To address the unique requirements of larger skid-based UAVs or small helicopters, INDAL offers a specially designed variant of MANTIS – the MANTIS SK battery-powered traverser. The key to easing the expanded use of diverse types of rotary-wing aircraft in naval deployment is to increase the flexibility of the ship’s onboard SAHS. With greater flexibility navies will be better able to deploy the widest possible number and variety of manned and unmanned helicopters. This will result in increased effectiveness of the particular ship as well as facilitate crossdecking, enabling a wider range of aircraft to fly from one ship’s deck to another.

Contact Curtiss-Wright INDAL Technologies 3570 Hawkestone Road, Mississauga, ON, L5C 2V8, Canada Telephone: 905-275-5300 dmckay@curtisswright.com www.curtisswrightds.com/indaltech


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Marine Helicopter Handling Mary Dub, Editor

“We are exercising the concept of forward “compositing” – forming up our reinforcing forces at or near the scene of a crisis. We remain dedicated to exploring holistic concepts of operation for launching assaults from a combination of amphibious ships reinforced by sea base platforms.” Gen James E Amos US Marine corps Commander Marine corps (October 22, 2010 to October 17, 2014)

G

ENERAL JIM Amos’s term ‘forward compositing’ comes down to the complex process of landing and storing a helicopter on a vessel at sea for amphibious operations. As Wilson and Prince at the Department of Engineering at Southampton describe it, the difficulty comes from the motion of the ship deck. The action of pitch and roll and the frequency of the oscillation, added to the angle of inclination of the deck, make judging the 30 second quiescent period to land the rotorcraft problematic. Once the helicopter has landed the issue is then also to prevent it sliding, so that it can be transferred to a holding bay or hangar1. The technology to facilitate this process has been developing in many different ways. Sensors and algorithms are being used to facilitate helicopter pilots and the landing of unmanned rotorcraft on vessels.2 Manufacturers such as Bosch Rexroth have also developed marine deck handling systems for helicopters. Bosch Rexroth offers a rail transfer system and a winch handling system. Rail was designed as a cost-effective system to handle large and relatively heavy loads, from many different types of helicopter. The system design is based on a double rail system with rails integrated into the ship’s deck structure. This set of rails provides guidance for the towing beam that is connected to two rail travelers inside the rails. The rail travelers are connected to wire ropes and are driven by two hydraulically operated winches in the hangar. The winch system consists of a 3 or 4 winch device with wire ropes running via sheaves to strong points of the helicopter. During handling, the helicopter is subject to the ship’s motion and the wind force. In order to keep the helicopter restrained and moving correctly without wheel slippage, the wire tension in each winch has to be varied constantly.3

Foerder – und Hebesysteme (FHS) Foerder – und Hebesysteme (FHS) provide unmanned helicopter handling systems so that when a helicopter on skids lands on the helicopter deck, it is automatically recognized, locked in place and taken to the hangar within minutes, even at sea state six, without a single man on deck. Like a number of manufacturers, they market a range of systems with features for detection of the wheel’s ball axle, so that the manipulator can automatically drive to the wheel. 4 Rolls Royce also markets naval helicopter deck handling systems.

Deck Handling Systems and Allied Interoperability Amphibious assault vessels that use these types of helicopter handling systems are central to 21st century allied defense strategy. The United Kingdom, France, Italy, Holland and Spain have agreed a European Amphibious Initiative by which they train and exercise together to improve coordination. The aim of the initiative is to ensure improved allied cooperation in training to facilitate effectiveness and readiness when needed. The French have taken amphibious assault further and made it central to their ‘concept national des opérations amphibies’. Their development of a study for a ‘bâtiment d’intervention polyvalent’ or BIP, was worked through to become first, a nuclear helicopter carrier and then, the Mistral class of Porte-hélicoptères d’intervention (PHI, for “intervention helicopter carrier”).5 These helicopter carriers were prepared for amphibious assault functions, but also carried facilities for humanitarian assistance and could function well as hospital ships. But it would be wrong to assume that helicopter carriers were only providing facilities for the takeoff, landing and handling of helicopters. Many large conventional WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 7


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Many large conventional aircraft carriers carry fixed wing craft for a multitude of different purposes. They also have capacity to handle the landing, take off and storage of rotorcraft, both manned and unmanned

CH148 ON MONTREAL

aircraft carriers carry fixed wing craft for a multitude of different purposes. They also have capacity to handle the landing, take off and storage of rotorcraft, both manned and unmanned. A Rand report assessing future combat and non-combat roles for aircraft carriers noted the range of roles undertaken by helicopters flown from traditional aircraft carriers: their diversity is worth noting. The Seahawk is carried as a multimission helicopter that can fulfil anti–submarine warfare roles (ASW), SAR (Search and Rescue), drug interdiction, anti– surface warfare (ASUW), lift, and special operations missions. The carrierbased models of SH-60F (Sikorsky Sea Hawk)

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and HH-60 (Sikorsky Pave Hawk) support ASW/ ASUW and SAR missions, respectively. The C-2 Greyhound normally operates from a shore facility to support carrier operations; however, it can easily be carrier-based. It can deliver up to 10,000 pounds (lb) of cargo to the carrier and transport personnel and litter patients. The Greyhound has a 1,300-nmi range and is currently undergoing a service life extension program (SLEP) that will keep it in service through about 2020.6 So when assessing the future market for deck handling systems for helicopters, specific amphibious assault vessels that primarily carry helicopters are top of the list, but larger fixed wing carriers are also included.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

The Case for Helicopter Carriers and Amphibious Assault Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

T

HERE IS no doubt that in 21st century defense budgets, aircraft carriers and smaller helicopter carriers are supremely expensive 50-year investment in power projection. This article will review the extensive arguments that are proving extremely persuasive in encouraging Western, Asian and Pacific powers to invest in the soft and hard power they offer because of the changing economic and global power structure of 21st century global politics. The traditional role of the aircraft carrier that also carried helicopters, emerged during the Second World War, but the cost of acquiring, maintaining and manning the vessels has led to a reconsideration of their many roles in warfare and humanitarian assistance. A Rand Report (2006) looking at traditional and non-traditional roles for carriers summarizes a carrier’s versatility. It is the combination of her virtually unlimited range and endurance; her embarked air wing’s air-power; her robust communication architecture, which provides for significant command and control capabilities…in addition, a carrier’s crew is made up of multitalented, technologically sophisticated men and women who possess a multiplicity of nautical, engineering, aeronautical, electrical, medical, logistical, and war fighting skills. These vast capabilities are why the carrier is the preferred tool in times of crisis for so many decision makers.7

The Value of Helicopter Carriers in 21st Century Conflict The key to understanding why so many Asian and Pacific powers now wish to enhance their amphibious assault and power projection capabilities with helicopter carriers rests on the changing human geography of the world’s megacities. David Kilcullen in his insightful analysis “Out of the Mountains” foreshadows future conflict not in mountainous regions like Afghanistan, but in littoral areas where population growth is highest on the

shores of the world’s great oceans. Kilcullen quotes Olivier Kramsch, the distinguished human geographer, who was one of the earliest to note this trend. He points out how this process of urbanization and littoralization in the Mediterranean has been replicated in many parts of the developing world: “It is instructive to view the region itself as a highly urbanized area, one currently [in 2006] flanked by thirty cities each containing over 1 million inhabitants. A prominent feature of this pattern of urbanization, particularly accentuated in the recent period, is the heightened concentration of cities and population along the strips of land directly abutting the sea. Measured as a percentage of national population, the countries of the Maghreb in general demonstrate high rates of urban littoralization, striking examples being Libya (eighty-five per cent), Tunisia (seventy per cent), Morocco (fifty-one percent) and Turkey (fifty-two per cent).”8 While the Mediterranean is one example of this process Asia and China provide examples as well. Already, in 2012, eighty percent of humans on the planet live within sixty miles of a coast, while seventy-five percent of large cities are on a coastline. 9 The overarching movement that Kilcullen notes is the continuing parallel trends toward urbanization, littoralisation and connectivity at a time of conflict for resources. And it is this littoral area that can be secured and protected by sea-based helicopter carriers, more readily than any other platform.

The Rapid Economic Growth and Defense Capabilities of China and Japan It is a 21st century cliché to note the changing shift in global power towards China, Japan and other regional powers like India and Indonesia which reflect their rapid economic growth, population growth and therefore defense capability. These powers now aspire to protect their economic links with sea WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

The traditional role of the aircraft carrier that also carried helicopters, emerged during the Second World War, but the cost of acquiring, maintaining and manning the vessels has led to a reconsideration of their many roles in warfare and humanitarian assistance

power and reflect their technical capability by fielding a 21st century deep-water navy. The United States response to this has been what was originally termed Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ and what has subsequently been reworked as rebalancing towards Asia.10 What does this strategic shift mean in terms of America’s defense commitment? In 2012 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined the numbers: by 2020, “the Navy will re-posture its forces from today’s roughly 50/50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60/40 split between those oceans. That will include six aircraft carriers ... a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, Littoral Combat Ships [LCSs], and submarines”. The navy’s goal is to field “about 300” battleforce ships in total, slightly more than the current 285-ship inventory. Panetta’s plan thus equates to reassigning around 30 ships to the U.S. Pacific Fleet over the next eight years.11

The Emergence of an Asian Amphibious Assault Capability The cause of this strategic shift is regional tensions in Asia over a chain of small islands, called Senkaku by Japan, which administers them. China, however, hopes that they may boast rich mineral reserves, and claims them. Beijing calls them the Diaoyu Islands. The dispute has mushroomed into a dangerous standoff between the world’s second and third largest economies. This conflict rekindles old resentments over the World War II conduct

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RAST SYSTEM

of imperial Japan and pits a conservative Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe, against a Chinese president, Xi Jinping, who is riding a nationalist tide in his country.12 This dispute, one of many regional tensions in the area, combined with regional border disputes, religious tensions and counter insurgency issues, align together as a powerful case for the increasing importance of helicopters and helicopter carriers that can provide sea- based reach into the hinterland of the new Asian metropolitan areas.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Asian Amphibious Aspirations Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

T

HE 21ST century has seen the emergence of a powerful cohort of amphibious assault vessels. China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and Thailand have all made moves towards acquiring and equipping helicopter carriers. Their role is not only defense, but also humanitarian assistance in the face of climate change, with the resultant coastal tsunamis, typhoons and earthquakes. The presence of recently, urbanized populations on the coast leaves them vulnerable to climate instability, as much as conflict. China’s Navy PLAN has been investing in a significant amphibious capability.

China’s Emergent Amphibious Capability China’s emergent navy is closely watched by Taiwan. Taiwanese sources report that China is actually constructing a helicopter assault ship rather than an aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. While Western commentators including Jane’s Defense Weekly and Foreign Policy have concluded from photos posted on the internet, that China is building its first indigenous aircraft carrier, others report that actually it is China’s first amphibious assault ship with the capability to carry both hovercraft and helicopters. Based on information from Kanwa Defense Review operated by Andrei Chang or Pinkov in Canada, the ship under construction is very similar to the Japanese Izumo-class helicopter carrier launched earlier this month. The ship being built at Changxing Island is reported to have a displacement of 35,000 tons, which is twice the size of the PLA Navy’s Type 071 amphibious assault ships. In an interview with state broadcaster CCTV last November (2012), Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo of the PLA Navy said the country’s new amphibious assault ships would be able to carry advanced attack helicopters such as the WZ-10 and WZ-19. Kanwa Defense Review said at least 20 helicopters might be operated from this ship.13 Also, China Defense Mashup reported in May 2009 that “Hudong Shipbuilding Company, another shipbuilder in Shanghai,

will carry the task of producing 6-8 23,000-tonne class “flush deck” amphibious transport dock ships.” Jane’s Defence Weekly, in 2012 reported that the “China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSC) has revealed what may be a design for the Type 081 landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship. The design was shown in model form at the Defense and Security 2012 exhibition in Bangkok in early March. It is unclear whether this is the Type 081 LHD design long expected to complement the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s Type 071 land platform dock (LPD) vessels.14 In 2011, an analysis published by the US Naval Institute noted that “local observers now expect China to build up to six Type 071s along with six flat-deck helicopter carriers.”15

Assessing China’s Amphibious Capability It is difficult to assess the capability of China’s 081 and 071 new vessels. A blogger has attempted to do so. The blogger writes that: the Type 081, called the Xisha class in China, is a family of large amphibious warfare vessels designed to support efforts to create a blue water navy. Upon completion, the Xisha class will be the largest such vessels operated by an Asian country, larger even than the Korean Dokdo. According to USN hull codes, it is a landing helicopter dock (LHD), placing it in the same class as vessels such as the (French) Mistral and the (Spanish) Juan Carlos I. The blog sees it as essentially a light aircraft carrier masquerading as a helicopter destroyer in Japanese parlance. The Xisha is intended to be a larger and more capable version of the Yuzhao (Type 071) class. While the Yuzhao is limited to four helicopters, and typically only carries two, the Xisha will have the capacity to support eighteen.16

JS Izomo is Towed into Tokyo Bay Japan has not been slow to build her own blue water navy. The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) began sea trials of its helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183), in September this WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

Taiwanese sources report that China is actually constructing a helicopter assault ship rather than an aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai RAM NH90 SHIPBOARD

year. The 248 m-long vessel, which displaces 24,000 tons at full load, is the largest Japanese military ship built since the Second World War and can carry up to 14 helicopters. Izumo and its yet unnamed sister ship (DDH 184) will replace the JMSDF’s two Shirane-class destroyers. According to the JMSDF, Izumo’s sea trials are being carried out in preparation for the vessel’s impending commissioning. “The trials have started and will go on for about six months before we commission it in 2015”, Lieutenant Commander Yasushi Kojima of the Maritime Staff Office told IHS Jane’s. However, Lt Cdr Kojima did not reveal the exact nature of the trials nor the date that they started, adding only that they have “just begun”. YouTube footage dated 23 September 2014 shows tugs escorting Izumo out of Tokyo Bay. Despite concerns raised by Japan’s neighbors, the vessel’s comparative lack of offensive weapons seem to corroborate claims by JMSDF officials that it will be deployed mainly for border surveillance and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions. However, the ship will also carry Sikorsky/ Mitsubishi SH-60K Seahawk anti-submarine

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warfare helicopters and the AgustaWestland/ Kawasaki MCH-101s. Izumo is scheduled for commissioning in March 2015 while DDH 184 is due to be launched in August the same year by Yokohama-based shipbuilder IHI Marine United. The second vessel’s induction is anticipated for March 2017.17 These ships are an addition to the two Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers ひゅうが型護衛, which are able to carry up to 18 helicopters tasked with antisubmarine warfare and peacetime operations.18

The ROKN Dokdo Amphibious Assault Ship The Republic of Korea is also building its blue water capability. In a speech delivered in March 2001, Kim Dae Jung stated that his administration was aiming to build a navy that “will defend the national interests in the five oceans and perform a role in defending world peace.” By the year 2020, the ROK Navy plans to deploy two or three rapid response fleets. The Dokdo class is a high-speed amphibious ship, (LPX) intended for “over-the-horizon assault.” These vessels carry UH-1H and UH-60P helicopters.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

The Future of Deck Handling Technology Mary Dub, Editor

P

REDICTING THE future, even the shortterm future, is an unrewarding pastime. It is possible to spot trends and highlight strategic changes, but the disruptive nature of technological change or seismic shifts in geo politics make qualifying the thought highly important. That said, the growth, particularly in Asia in amphibious assault capabilities based on extensive use of helicopters, looks like a strong trend. This may well be reinforced by the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, both fixed wing and rotorcraft. Manned and unmanned aerial vehicles will require differing types of deck handling systems, but there seems little doubt that both will prove their increasing military usefulness.

The Case for Sea Based Rather than Land Based Aircraft In budget terms, the strongest argument against sea based aircraft and helicopter carriers is the long standing allied tradition of negotiating allied land bases in friendly, or not unfriendly, neighboring countries. American bases in Bahrain, Cyprus and the Philippines are all classic examples of this. There is also the possibility that temporary arrangements can be made to access facilities in the event of conflict or humanitarian disaster. But the use of bases is becoming increasingly politically problematic for the hosting country. There are numerous complicating political factors, especially in the Middle East. Proximity to Iran exposes land-based aircraft to being in range of a potential Iranian attack. There are further difficulties when a country’s population opposes the action of American foreign policy, thus constraining the use of the base by American forces. In 1996, for example, all of the GCC states rebuffed Washington’s requests to launch attacks against Iraq from their territory due to widespread public disapproval. 19 The potential vulnerability of many states in the Middle East to domestic political pressures generated by the Arab Spring and the sensitivity to links with America related to supporting Iraq against ISIS forces all point to a need for

the United States to continue to rely on helicopter carriers and aircraft carriers rather than land bases alone.

Future American Helicopters: Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Another factor to consider for helicopter carriers and the acquisition of naval deck handling systems is the type and capability of new helicopters under development. After a decade of combat from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. Department of Defense found that the U.S. Army’s rotorcraft fleet was wearing out. The intensity of combat operations has made helicopters fly five times more frequently than in the past. Manufacturers have been maintaining and upgrading existing ranges of aircraft without creating new original platforms. The Future Vertical Lift (FVL) concept for a helicopter is to create a new rotorcraft that uses new technology, materials, and designs. The plan is that it should be quicker, have further range, better payload, and be more reliable. The outcome of this is that it would be easier to maintain and operate, have lower operating costs, and a reduced logistical footprint.20 The FVL would come at four or even perhaps five different models with differing weights and capabilities.

Making the FVL a Reality Rather Than a Hostage to Congressional Fortune Much has been learnt from the saga of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F 35 and its variants. Advocates of the FVL initiative hope to have learnt from the experience and are using congressional support and a modular development program to push the platform through development. This new helicopter and its range of variants would be strong candidates for helicopter carriers of the future.

Geopolitics and the Viability of Helicopter Carrier Sales It is a truism to say that sales of defense technology are highly political. Valued products WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

The potential vulnerability of many states in the Middle East to domestic political pressures generated by the Arab Spring and the sensitivity to links with America related to supporting Iraq against ISIS forces all point to a need for the United States to continue to rely on helicopter carriers and aircraft carriers rather than land bases alone

SUPER PUMA BEING CAPTURED BY ASIST

that add to security and capability, like marine deck handling systems for helicopters are only sold to allies or assumed allies. The sale and re-sale of naval vessels, like aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers, of course, reflects this practice. The consequence of this reality in the global acquisition process means that political events in one sphere can impact on the transfer of goods in another. The summer of 2014 was marked by just such an incident when the contract to build two French Mistral class amphibious assault helicopter carriers made in the French naval yard of Saint-Nazaire were under discussion by the French government and NATO powers and then ‘paused’ due to Western protests against Russian incursions in Ukraine. ITAR-TASS reporting from a Russian perspective noted that: “French President Francois Hollande said France had not suspended or cancelled the deal with Russia, but the delivery of the ships would depend on how the situation developed in eastern Ukraine which has been gripped by violence and fighting between militias and

14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

government troops for months. Hollande said these conditions were not currently in place there and if the situation deteriorated further, France would delay the delivery again. He earlier assured Russia that his country would fulfill its obligations and hand over the first ship as scheduled, but the work on the second one would depend on Moscow’s position on the Ukrainian crisis. The president said there could be no question of failing to deliver. “Russia has paid,” he said, adding that otherwise France would have to pay a fine of 1.1 billion euros. Russia warned that the refusal to implement the contract would adversely affect military-technical cooperation between the two countries.”21 The Russian vessels in French dock yards will carry French equipment, but are planned to carry Russian Ka-28 and Ka-52K helicopters. The importance of the contract fulfillment to Russia underlines the global importance of helicopter carriers and their marine deck handling systems for aircraft and their vulnerability to geopolitical events.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN MARINE AVIATION DECK HANDLING TECHNOLOGY

References:

Helicopter handling and entrapment P A Wilson and M P Prince Ship Science Report 96 March 1996 University of Southampton Department of Engineering and Applied Science

1

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5305201&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fxpls%2Fabs_all.jsp%3Farnumber%3D5305201

3

Bosch Rexroth website

4

Foerder - und Hebesysteme (FHS) website

5

French doctrine of amphibious operations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistral-class_amphibious_assault_ship

2

By John Gordon IV, Peter A. Wilson, John Birkler, Steven Boraz, Gordon T. Lee Prepared for the United States Navy LEVERAGING AMERICA’S AIRCRAFT CARRIER CAPABILITIES Exploring New Combat and Noncombat Roles and Missions for the U.S. Carrier Fleet Role of aircraft carrier http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG448.pdf 6

By John Gordon IV, Peter A. Wilson, John Birkler, Steven Boraz, Gordon T. Lee Prepared for the United States Navy LEVERAGING AMERICA’S AIRCRAFT CARRIER CAPABILITIES Exploring New Combat and Noncombat Roles and Missions for the U.S. Carrier Fleet Role of aircraft carrier http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2006/RAND_MG448.pdf

7

8

The City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience David J. Kilcullen http://www.fletcherforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Kilcullen.pdf

The City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience David J. Kilcullen http://www.fletcherforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Kilcullen.pdf

9

10 Explaining the US ‘Pivot’ to Asia Kurt Campbell and Brian Andrews The Asia Group August 2013 Kurt Campbell is Chairman and Chief Executive of The Asia Group and former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Brian Andrews is an Engagement Manager at The Asia Group and previously served at the White House, State Department, and Defense Department on Asia policy. 11 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/04/is_america_pivoting_to_asia_fast_enough Is America Pivoting to Asia Fast Enough? Defense Secretary Panetta has put some muscle behind the Obama administration’s Pacific ambitions. But will a few more ships really be enough to stare down China? By JAMES HOLMES June 4, 2012

President Obama with President Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 summit meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September. By MARK LANDLER Published: November 27, 2013 444 Comments  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/world/asia/airspace-claim-forces-us-to-flesh-out-china-strategy.html?pagewanted=all&module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A11%22%7D

12

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130828000093&cid=1101 Want China Times Knowing China through Taiwan PLA building helicopter carrier in Shanghai: The Diplomat Staff Reporter 2013-08-28 13:54 (GMT+8)

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130828000093&cid=1101 Want China Times Knowing China through Taiwan PLA building helicopter carrier in Shanghai: The Diplomat Staff Reporter 2013-08-28 13:54 (GMT+8)

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130828000093&cid=1101 Want China Times Knowing China through Taiwan PLA building helicopter carrier in Shanghai: The Diplomat Staff Reporter 2013-08-28 13:54 (GMT+8)

13

14

15

16

http://errymath.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/type-081-amphibious-assault-ship/ Type 081 Amphibious Assault Ship

17 Japan puts helicopter carrier Izumo on sea trials http://www.janes.com/article/43775/japan-puts-helicopter-carrier-izumo-on-sea-trials Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly 27 September 2014 18

Wikipedia

19

Reasons for carriers by Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Evan Braden Montgomery http://www.rand.org/blog/2013/07/by-land-and-by-sea.html

20

Wikipedia

ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov PARIS, September 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian sailors on Saturday went on their first training voyage aboard one of the two Mistral ships France is building for the Russian Navy. http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/749469 21

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Defence Industry Reports – Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology Indal:Curtiss Wright  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology

Defence Industry Reports – Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology Indal:Curtiss Wright  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in Marine Aviation Deck Handling Technology