Constructing the Airship Hanger gives the player the ability to build special blimp units. The design is based on the hangers at Santa Ana Naval Air Station (now Marine Corps Air Station Tustin), which was built in 1942 to hold and service the US Navy's airships. After the war airship operations stopped but the base soon found new usage as a helicopter maintenance and training center for the Marine Corps. Today most of the base has been closed but one of the hangers is still being used by civilian airships.
The K-class were the US Navy's primary patrol and anti-submarine airship during WW2. They were used to patrol the American coastline and escort convoys for signs of German or Japanese submarines. Their greatest success though was at Gibraltar where they helped to blockade the entrance to the Mediterranean during the night, when it was to dangerous for normal aircraft to operate. After the war the K-class continued patrolling the coast of America for several more years but were slowly replaced with seaplanes equipped with new radar systems. There were plans in the 1950's to refit the K-class with nuclear depth charges but it proved to be to hazardous.
The USS Macon and it's sister ship the USS Akron are the second largest airships ever built, beaten by the German Hindenburg by only a few meters. They do however hold the distinction of being the only flying aircraft carriers ever built. Designed by the Goodyear Aircraft company in the early 1930's the Akron and Macon used an experimental trapeze system they could launch and recover up to five F9C Sparrowhawk planes from an internal hanger. Sadly the USS Akron was destroyed in April 1933 when it encountered a storm off the cost of New England and crashed into the sea, out of the 76 on board only 3 survived making it the greatest loss of life in an airship crash. During February 1935 the USS Macon also also found itself caught in a severe storm off the California cost, suffering structural failure it landed in the sea. Following the loss of the Akron life jackets and inflatable rafts where added to the Macon, which resulted in nearly the entire crew surviving. With the loss of both airships development of flying aircraft carriers was stopped.
The Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk was a fighter/scout plane made specificity for use on the USS Akron and USS Macon flying aircraft carriers. It was fitted with a hook on the top of the main wing which would be attached to a retractable trapeze underneath the carrier for launching an recovery. Even though the hook and trapeze system seemed complex most pilots noted that it was easier then landing on an pitching and rolling aircraft carrier at sea. After the loss of both the Akron and Macon only three Sparrowhawks remained, their hooks were removed and were relegated to utility duties. In 1939 one of them was given to the Smithsonian museum, several years later when it was restored the other two aircraft where cannibalised for parts, leaving just the single plane left which can still been seen today. _________________
Last edited by Mig Eater on Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total QUICK_EDIT
I wonder if a zeppelin with modern technology could be a viable aircarrier.
After all, the unfortunately scrapped Cargolifter CL160 was planned to carry up to 160 tons.
In theory that would be enough to carry over 10 Harrier (14tons fully loaded). 8-10 Harrier if you then also add necessary equipment and aircarrier crew.
With the Cargolifter 1000 tons version, it could be a true big aircarrier, with several dozens aircraft. _________________ SHP Artist of Twisted Insurrection: Nod buildings
Ah yes the Cargolifter, I've thought about visiting the hanger where it was going to be built, which is now a indoor tropical resort
Large airship designs kinda died with the Macon, all flying aircraft carriers designs after were fixed wing aircraft. Such as the 340m wide nuclear powered Lockheed CL-1201! DARPA recently announced that they are working on drones that can be launched and recovered by a standard C-130, so instead of making a big carrier they are now making small carrier planes.
The explosion behind the K-class is one of several nuclear tests carried out during Operation Plumbbob. During which a wide variety of military equipment was deliberately destroyed to see how nuclear detonations effected them. As I mentioned above the navy was interested in equipping the K-class with nuclear depth charges so they positioned a K-class at the edge of the explosion to see if it would be able to survive after deploying a nuclear weapon, as you can see it didn't... _________________
Joined: 25 Sep 2006 Location: Georgia, USA Posts: Over 9000
Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:57 pm Post subject:
That's some neat history!
Although cool factor would be off the charts, an airborne aircraft carrier would be a very expensive asset which could be destroyed relatively easy. _________________ The Fall of Hammerfest - Epic Tiberian chain story
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I doubt an aircarrier would be easier destroyable than a normal one.
a) it stays far away from the battlefield as well
b) it wont be unprotected (using its own defense systems and its aircraft)
c) Since it flies, it would be even harder to fight, because only anti-air can actually reach it. (water bound carriers can be hit by aircraft, ships, ground and underwater weaponry)
d) surely some nice stealth effect can be applied to the aircarrier to reduce radar signature (some good camouflage painting can also help making this ship hard to see against blue sky)
e) no military has any experience in fighting an airborne carrier
f) just like escorts for seaborne carrier, some escort blimps could be build, which always fly along the carrier and protect it.
-Starts would be a lot easier (aircraft can be just dropped down)
-Fuel consumption for start would be a lot less than the afterburner start from a seaborne carrier
-if the aircarrier could fly itself with about 100-200mph, the landing would be also a lot easier
-with the reduced turbulences above cloud level, start and landing would be a lot saver. The weather plays almost no role at all anymore.
-the clean air in this height would reduce weathering on aircraft (seaborne carrier aircraft suffer a lot under the salt water in the air)
-the carrier doesn't need extra radar planes. it can have a big radar and sensor array on itself. _________________ SHP Artist of Twisted Insurrection: Nod buildings
The Akron and Macon were both destroyed by bad weather so I dont have high hopes about how long they would have lasted in combat. For balance reasons tho ingame they will have a reasonable amount of health.
For a modern air carrier design a fixed wing lifting body aircraft like the Lockheed CL-1201 or the P-1112 Aigaion would be better then an airship IMO.
I don't think CL-1201, P-1112 or the Avengers Helicarrier would work, since they all need immense amounts of fuel just to stay up.
CL-1201 and P-1112 are also very impracticable imo, since they constantly need to fly forward to stay in air. Air turbulences would have a much bigger impact on these, than a zeppelin, which would be like a fixed point in mid-air.
The helicarrier would only work, if you have an unlimited amount of energy to constantly produce the huge amount of thrust to keep it flying.
Nuclear powered and with electric powered turbines, this might be possible, though i doubt current materials are strong enough for this.
The forces on the rotors would be gigantic, considering their necessary huge size to produce all the thrust to keep the several thousand tons heavy carrier in air.
A combination of helicarrier with zeppelin tech could work. So the main zeppelin would significantly reduce the weight and the rotors would be only needed for small height corrections.
They both would also serve as a backup for each other, so when one fails, the other could slow down the fall. _________________ SHP Artist of Twisted Insurrection: Nod buildings
Well, you don't wanna lift a 100.000 ton seaborne carrier,
but a 1000 ton lightweight airborne carrier.
Heavy armor plating for torpedo protection, big nuclear reactors, steam engines etc are all not necessary and weigh a lot.
The CL160 weighs 260t with 160t payload.
So an upscaled carrier with about 1000 tons could have a payload of 500 tons. 500 tons should be more than enough for a useful number of fighter aircraft, equipment and crew. _________________ SHP Artist of Twisted Insurrection: Nod buildings
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