|F-35B (Lockheed Martin photo)|
Over the past few weeks, we have discussed on Midrats at various times the concept of an F-35B equipped "small carrier" force (listen to Captain Wayne Hughes here, our discussion with Lieutenant Colonel James W. Hammond IIIhere). Lex, of course, beat us by a couple of years.
His argument - that the Navy needs twin engine fighters for the "big deck" carriers was then, and is now, correct. But we also need versatility. And Lex's suggestion is a pathway to having that flexibility that allow us to respond to all sorts of events appropriately. We want to avoid that "all problems are nails" problem, don't we?
|LHA (Ingalls Shipyard image)|
The new America class of amphibious assault ships represent a fork in the road for Naval Aviation. The USMC needs to embrace the concept and run with it. . . . While big-deck CVNs will continue to be the centerpiece of American overseas crisis response for the foreseeable future, the dynamics of the Arab Spring have shown us that we do not have enough assets to cover all of our interests simultaneously. The F-35B+LHA combination could be one of the most cost effective and efficient solutions for engagement in the changing landscape of crisis response.
|Air Tractor AT-802U|
UPDATE: Experiment back in the late 1960's with an OV-10 Bronco:
And on LHA-4:
UPDATE2: So, it's doable. Probably just not popular with the jet crowd. If I were a Marine on the ground, though ...
And you might need some bigger/better brakes on the birds.