I've stumbled across a digitised sheaf of documents in the National Archives, 242 pages in all although there is a fair bit of duplication. [Read More]
What a goldmine of things I never realised I needed to know! The main thrust of the 'story' so to speak is that in 1964 the RAN Sea Venoms and Gannet ASW were quickly running out of life and replacements were urgently needed. The RAN wanted a strike carrier, the British CVA01 design was ruled out as too expensive (103 million pounds) and not available until years too late and a fresh US 52,000t design would take as long or longer and be just as expensive. The RAN pretty much decided on an ex USN Essex design brought up to the standard of USS Oriskany, flying 16 F4B Phantoms, 8 S2E Trackers and 4 E1B Tracers plus Wessex helicopters, which would cost 58 million pounds. There were a fair few arguments, eg the CCOSC was Air Chief Marshal Sherger who knew a thing or two about aircraft and said the F4B couldn't operate from an Essex but the RAN said they would use the extended nose-wheel strut and drooped ailerons and maybe install the C7 (not C11) catapult. The RAN talked about escorting convoys to Australia, but Sherg said the SEATO task for the Melbourne was to lead an ASW hunter-killer task group in the Sulu Sea.
In the end it was decided to update the Melbourne by buying S2E Trackers immediately and looking into some 'fighters', which were the A4G Skyhawks ordered in 1965.
One thing that really interested me was the 1963-64 British study into interventions east of Suez, the CVA01 vs TSR2 argument. It starts on page 200 if anyone is interested.
“We are pretending to know about things we don’t know and pretending to not know things we’ve known til yesterday.” Douglas Murray.
RAN carrier replacement 1964
7/14/2020 11:35:05 PM
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." German officer, Italy 1944.
“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford