Dear Mr. Peter Luff, Minister For Defence Equipment Support and Technology
Your Ref D/Min(Dest)PL MC03531/2012
Speaking to your letter dated 23 August 2012. In reference to consideration of the ICCALS launch system
Your letter above showed either:
(1) A lack of research of the ICCALS catapult teDchnology by your staff resulting in what seems to be a poorly justified decision in favor of STOVL rather than the ICCALS cats and traps that was offered to you at a small percentage of the price of EMALS with a significant increase of performance compared to EMALS.
(2) Undue influence by prime contractors causing poor critical decisions that favorably impact the prime contractors to MOD and unfavorably impact the UK budget and military power. I will assume that option one is the operant condition. It seems that the primary difficulty that MOD has in looking at this ICCALS Technology is that it was not offered by the US Government. This is odd as the UK developed this technology and gave it to the US.
(3) Your letter, D/Min(Dest)PL MC03531/2012, due to insufficient research by your staff and contract individuals, has a number of serious errors as to delivery date of a working catapult. 2023 is so far wrong that it does not merit consideration. With the launch engine, as used on the US Nimitz class carriers, the combustor as used in fossil fuel electrical generating plants and the oxidizer enrichment plant as used in the steel industry among other uses, 95% of the ICCALS hardware is off the shelf and in current usage. The additional hardware required would be the piping connector between the launch engine and the combustor. Sensors and control software will be needed, but as the fuel/oxidizer flow is controlled by a simple quadratic equation to keep a constant pressure in the launch tubes to provide a constant or increasing launch acceleration which neither the steam catapult or EMALS is capable of providing.
This response to your referenced letter is an attempt to provide to you the information that it appears that your staff did not provide to you prior to you making your decision in favor of STOVL which is not really STOVL but STOSL (short landing)
Thus, in spite of your statement that a thorough investigation of the options available to MOD was made, you ignored the ICCALS catapult which I had made you aware of via several sources including the UK Military Attaché in Washington DC Thus you did not make that thorough investigation as you stated. Thus the findings of your Conversion Development Phase were fatally flawed from its inception.
Per your referenced letter, you stated that an operational Carrier Strike capability could not be delivered until 2023 at the earliest. This is another fatally flawed statement. All of the hardware for the ICCALS is not only off the shelf, but is commercially available. You based your estimate upon using the EMALS catapult which has been a disaster looking for a place to happen. EMALS unfavorably affects weight and internal volume severely, and is a system that requires that the ship electrical generation capability be greatly increased. But surely your thorough investigation brought this to light along with the $2 billion that has been spent by the US over the last thirteen years to correct the design flaws of the EMALS design catapult launcher.
In consideration of your statement in the referenced letter about carrier strike, a carrier cannot carry out a carrier strike mission without a catapult and traps. The launch weight of a fully loaded strike aircraft precludes that aircraft from usage aboard a STOVL carrier, even with ideal weather conditions and a strong wind over deck. You cannot land it unless you dump all of your stores and most of the fuel aboard and then probably not. Additionally, the lack of tanker/buddy fuelling for the F35b severely limits the useful range of this plane which is already limited in range and weapons capacity due to the extra hardware required to hover There is some question as to the ability of the F35b to hover in the Gulf region where the air is extremely hot and does not support hovering or STOVL landing. This makes the F35b rather limited as to what missions it can accomplish and what price the nation will have to pay to gain this limited STOVL capability and what price long term it will be relative to a carrier with cat and traps (catapult and arresting gear).
Carrier strike capability requires excellent radar coverage for self protection to deal with incoming Over-The-Horizon ship attack weapons. A radar carried by a helicopter is completely insufficient and a C3 with a radome that can achieve significant altitude to increase radar coverage is required to extend the horizon. A C3 radar plane cannot be carried aboard a STOVL carrier..It requires a cats and traps carrier which a STOVL is assuredly not. There are numerous other sources, experts in aviation, who say that a STOVL aircraft carrier is never a strike carrier. It is an amphibious or ground support carrier with a mission to supply air support for troops on the ground.
The problem is that the enemy may be more sophisticated than that in the Falklands with vehicle mounted ship attack cruise missiles in box launchers or equivalent other capabilities. This will require the STOVL carrier to stand off a considerable distance from the troops that they are supposed to support. The difficulty for the F35b is that stand-off subtracts from the already limited fuel so that the stay time on station drops significantly. Carrying external storage tanks to increase the stay time results in a decrease in armament that the plane can carry to target. Given the capabilities of modern shoulder fired weapons such as the Stinger and other weapons that the opposing force can deploy, the amphibious support carrier will find few opportunities to be effective. Thus, removing the cat and traps from the Queen Elisabeth is a world class tactical blunder. Given the cost/benefit ratio of the ICCALS, it would appear that it is a world class financial blunder also.
You made the statement that the outfitting of a ship with cats and traps would cause the ship to not be delivered until 2023. I hope you do a more thorough investigation of this statement as Newport News Shipbuilding builds larger nuclear powered aircraft carriers in approximately seven years. That includes the catapults and traps. The ICCALS catapult can be constructed and installed in approximately 2 years with the acquisition of the components taking place at the start of the contract and any component testing taking place during the rest of the build schedule so that tested catapults will be ready for installation according to the carrier build schedule. Please note the comparison between the EMALS and ICCALS catapults and the ICCALS superiority in greatly increased performance, reduced cost, reduced weight, greatly reduced volume required and little or no demands upon the ship propulsion and generating plants.
The claim of requiring a further three year delay in addition to the ten year gap is absurd based upon the performance of other carrier builders. Let me remind you that I retired as a Senior Program Engineer working on the CVAN 78 and am intimately familiar with ship construction and design, both from the engineering side and the hands on building of the carrier John F Kennedy as part of the welding department, so it would be inappropriate to make unsupportable claims based upon your staff not having done their due diligence when selecting which catapult technology to include in the design and pricing of the Queen Elizabeth. Proper research would have brought you to be aware of the ICCALS. The fact that your claim that catapults increased complexity and invasion of ship volume was far off the mark for ICCALS. The claim that additional equipment would be required earlier in the program is incorrect. This would be the 12 very large motor generators which ICCALS does not use or need. Additionally this would be the much larger ship’s generators and boilers which need to be placed in the hull early in construction. Oddly enough, the increased generator capacity is not required by ICCALS either.
The statement about prohibitive increase in cost is another example of failure to do due diligence and consider the ICCALS catapult launch system which is composed of commercially available and US Navy available proven components. You claim that your original estimates almost doubled to 2 billion pounds. If I assume that half of that is due to EMALS, then the installed price is 1 billion pounds. The estimated cost based upon research for an installed ICCALS with traps is estimated to be 18 to 20 million pounds for each installed catapult or a total of approximately 40 million pounds for two catapults and an avoided cost growth of 960 million pounds by doing due diligence. Try googling ICCALS catapults. You will find four sites having to do with ICCALS catapults on the first page.
So the time delay of three years that you quote is faulty, the cost growth that you claim is faulty and the claim of a thorough investigation is faulty. How can you say in your letter that you can assure us that “a thorough investigation of the options available to you was carried out during the CDP and that you remain content that all viable launch and recovery systems were considered at that time”? And in the next sentence state that the ICCALS was not formally considered during the CDP and that the MOD at that time. Thus, ICCALS is not viable by decree. Oddly enough, the C14 internal combustion catapult, an early version of ICCALS was launching planes from the test facility at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1959. Do you think that we should tell the pilots of the planes that were launched that the catapult was not viable? Should we tell NAVAIR that the four internal combustion catapult sets that they had constructed and delivered to the USS Enterprise were not viable? Actually, your statements in the referenced letter above are not viable, again due to lack of due diligence.
As far as cost, research of the cost of the combustor, launch engine and oxidizer enrichment plant along with the traps will be in the range of $29 million each, installed. These are researched costs, including labor, without overhead or profit. To reduce these costs, the office of the Chief Naval Operations has indicated that, upon receipt of a request from the UK navy, that the catapult and trap sets from the USS Enterprise could be made available for installation aboard the Queen Elizabeth CVA. This would be a savings of 5+ million pounds per catapult. As this equipment falls under Safety Of Life At Sea, it is maintained in near-new condition and should be ready for installation after a quick check-out of condition and dimensions.
I had made this information available to the UK Naval Attaché over a year ago, so it was certainly available for consideration by the Royal Navy along with EMALS.
The ICCALS program was on target to provide an installed and working ICCALS catapult in 2006, within budget and schedule, for CVN77 prior to being shut down in 1999. PCO Captain O'Hare wanted at least Cat #4 to be an ICCALS rather than a steam catapult.
The ICCALS catapult is easily installable aboard a carrier such as a CVA or CVN as all of the equipment, including the launch engine and launch power source is installed in the flight deck level above the hanger deck with no need for EMALS-like energy storage motor generators (12 each at 80,000 pounds and 13.5 ft long X 11 ft wide X 7 ft high plus access clearance) control cabinets and heavy large gauge cables. Additional large generators must be installed in the engine room to service the energy generation needs of the EMALS catapult. Ship redesign to accommodate the ICCALS catapult is minimal and is an option for a ship that is nominally a STOVL within two years of delivery which would allow putting off a final decision till late 2016 t2017 for the Queen Elizabeth
ICCALS development provides an inexpensive path to gain a very large increase in launch capability, a very large reduction in cost, substantial reduction in airframe launch stresses for the current fleet of aircraft and reduction in operations and maintenance manpower requirements for current carriers.
ICCALS upgrade will not only pay for itself compared to either steam or EMALS, but will provide a very large savings each year in replacement costs of air wing aircraft through airframe life extension and in manpower reduction for operation and maintenance of the ICCALS catapult.
Lockheed Martin vice president Steve O’Bryan has said that most F-35b landings will be purely conventional in order to reduce stress on the vertical lift components. Conventional operations also reduce the risk of self-induced foreign object damage. Is this a vote of confidence? If most of the landings are conventional, when will the F35b be doing vertical landings on the carrier? What will the wind speed due to the vectoring jet nozzle? Will it be necessary to clear the area around the plane as it lands and comes to a rolling stop. This does not speak to the F35b non-arrested rolling landings that now seem to be required and which will be impossible in heavy weather. Also, it has been reported that the F35 aircraft are losing their stealth coating when flying at top speed. This is not a step change, but a disaster for a plane that relies upon stealth for survivability. The reduced range also requires the B model to carry more external stores further negating its stealth capabilities.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s staunchest Pentagon advocates are now calling F-35 costs unacceptable and unaffordable.
ICCALS can provide the two CATOBAR carriers the UK requires, with the best performance at the lowest cost, built on schedule, and that are affordable to buy and to operate. It seems that the MOD has selected the carrier option that has the highest cost and the least possible performance capability.
What is needed at this time is a low cost high performance catapult that is composed of commercially proven components joined with Naval components that have a 50 year record of performance to enable the installation of cats and traps on the Queen Elizabeth so that she can accomplish a true carrier strike role.
ICCALS meets this need.
Clint Stallard Stallard Associates launch-systems.com
Benefits: Compared to the EMALS catapult, ICCALS:
· Is 960,000 pounds lighter than the EMALS catapults 50+ feet above the waterline, which increases ship stability, critical for aircraft carriers?
· Requires much less ship volume, as there is no requirement for 12 large motor generators with their associated structures and foundations, freeing up ship volume.
· Is much more powerful than the steam cat (steam cat = 75 Mega joules launch energy and EMALS with 122 Mega joules of launch energy while ICCALS= up to 838 Mega joules launch energy at up to 6 gallons of JP5 burned per launch at 139.75 Mega joules per gallon). With appropriately sized launch cylinders, much more power can be developed. At 30 miles per gallon, six gallons of fuel can propel a 3,000 automobile 180 miles. Doubling the fuel burned doubles the miles driven or weight of aircraft launched. 140,000 pound launches are readily accomplished.
· Is much less expensive, with a 90+ percent cost reduction based upon the C13 Mod 0 through Mod 2 launch engine using existing catapult components or designs with the rest of the components being COTS or easily developed.
· Allows a constant or increasing acceleration during launch while EMALS has a fall-off in launch energy and rate of acceleration over the length of the EMALS launch stroke.
· Allows reduction of wind over deck requirements for launch from 30 to 15 Kts or less which is the same as for recovering aircraft due to reduced ship speed.
· Allows installation aboard other flat-tops to launch fully loaded F18s and F35s.
· Is much more efficient than any existing catapult, including EMALS on the basis of cost, performance, degree of maturity of the components, volume required and weight gain avoided.
· Is able to eliminate the need for the propulsion plant to provide launch energy either as electrical power. Thus the ICCALS catapult is completely propulsion plant independent.
· Gains the same full closed loop control capability as EMALS at the lower end of the launch weight range while increasing capability at the upper end of the weight range for launching fully loaded fighter-bombers along with large variety of Unmanned Air Vehicles and sled mounted cruise missiles such as TLAM/TASM, UCAVs and self defense weaponry.
· Is capable of reducing distillate fresh water demand for catapult operation by 90%. to 15 gallons per launch by condensing the steam from combustion generated water and ship’s combustion gas cooling water.
· Supports alternate solutions to the current water brake and retraction engine technologies, simplifying even further the existing ICCALS modified catapult launch engine and allowing higher launch end speeds.
· Allows elimination of the shuttle-piston retraction engine by pneumatically returning the pistons to battery rather than dragging them back.
· Allows interoperability with the French and American Naval aviation platforms.
· Forms the foundation for an even simpler, less expensive, less volume intensive and more capable catapult with further development capability.
· Avoids the problem that CVN 78 is experiencing which is weld cracking in the flight deck due to substitution of thinner 115 KSI steel for the normal 80 KSI steel to offset the weight gain due to the EMALS catapult launch system.
To educate someone new to the ICCALS technology, a bit of history is required. The first bit would be that the UK was the developer of the slotted cylinder catapult driven by steam and was offered by the UK to the US Navy. This UK developed technology is the technology used aboard all of the US Nimitz class aircraft carriers. Thus the transfer of catapult technology was to the US from the UK.
The second is that the US Naval Air Warfare Systems started the development of internal combustion catapults in 1954. This technology used the same UK derived slotted cylinders with combustion of jet fuel and compressed air. The system, referred to as the C14 catapult, successfully launched jet planes from the Lakehurst Naval Air Warfare in 1959. Thus this was a working system and the hardware for 4 catapults was built and shipped to Newport News Shipbuilding for installation aboard the USS Enterprise CVAN 65.
The third was that unfortunately, Admiral Rickover seemed to feel that not using steam from his reactors for launching planes was an insult to him and his reactor technology and mounted a full blown effort to kill the internal combustion catapult as documented in his biography. Thus the internal combustion catapult hardware was removed and steam catapults became the primary aircraft launch technology in use for the US Navy.
The fourth is that ICCALS was one of two technologies competing for acceptance for the 1997 Advanced Technology Catapult Technology Development Program headed by Richard Bushway. The other technology was EMALS, the electromagnetic aircraft launcher. The ICCALS program was given a $35 million funding line for development and test and was at the point of successfully demonstrating scaled combustors when the decision was made in 1999 to close down the ICCALS technology in favor of EMALS.
Why did NAVAIR take this step? The Gerald Ford, CVAN 78, was designed to support not only EMALS but also electromagnetic weapons such as rail guns and new high powered radar. Thus the decision was made at the Vice Admiral level to close down the Advanced Technology Catapult Technology program and the ICCALs program. as more than sufficient electrical power was available from the two large reactors in the new design CVAN 78 to operate EMALS.
To support this decision, the contractors for EMALS assured NAVAIR that the electromagnetic catapult would be ready for CVAN 77 in 2006. The Captain of CVAN 77 In a meeting with me at Newport News Shipbuilding, requested that #4 catapult be an ICCALS catapult but was turned down.. The fact is that that not only would EMALS not be ready for CVAN 77, it almost was not ready for CVAN 78 in 2012, 7 years later and has still not completed its qualification testing, 13 years after the decision was taken to select EMALS as the future catapult for US Naval forces.
Dick Bushway, the Advanced Technology Catapult Procurement Officer for NAVAIR PMA 251, budgeted $35 million in 1997 to build and test an early ICCALS as a competitor to the EMALS system. In 1998, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, proposed to co-fund and co-develop Electromagnetic Launch. NAVSEA decided that this was the way to proceed given the large increases in cash and personnel that this would provide. Also, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) found itself in the position of being a technology proposer and technology integrator at the same time. To avoid this conflict and in agreement with the Navy's decision for EMALS, pursuit of ICCALS technology was defunded and terminated to avoid a conflict with EMALS although the ICCALS program was building and testing hardware.
The ICCALS program stayed dormant for 13 years after 1999, first due to the closure of the catapult development program and then second as directed by Newport News Shipbuilding , my employer while I worked as a Senior Program Engineer on the CVAN 78 Gerald Ford. who sees the US Navy as a customer and does not challenge the customer, asking me to step down .and then the third was to honor a request to the inventor, Clint Stallard, by Adm Mahr of Naval Air warfare center to not muddy the water while the kinks were worked out of EMALS. Since retiring from NNS I have further improved the technology and have an upgrade technology that will greatly increase performance for existing catapults and provide a significant reduction in operations and maintenance costs. As EMALS is now working, I feel it is time to bring this new ICCALS technology forward.
Your statement that the ICCALS was not offered by the US and therefore was not considered shows a lack of understanding of how the military operates. The decisions are made at the command level and all of the lower ranking personnel in the military organization are thus expected to follow the command decision. There is no debate as one would find in Parliament or our Congress. A Vice Admiral decided, based upon sufficient electrical generation capacity of the Ford Class, that the ICCALS system was not necessary and shut down the Future Catapult Launch Program, effectively defunding and killing the ICCALS development. Therefore, there was no possibility of development of the ICCALS system as success in development and operation of the ICCALS system would make the Vice Admiral look foolish.
NAVAIR PMA 251 funded AEROJET in 1998 to build and test a combustor to prove the ICCALS combustion technology. This combustor generated 1000 PSI constant pressure over the length of the launch stroke which more than proved the technology. Using this or similar combustor technology and operating pressure, the launch cylinders can be downsized to 12” diameter from 21” while providing the same launch energy as the 21 inch diameter launch cylinders of the C13-2 catapult. Total 12” diameter ICCALS weight savings is over 2 million pounds topside and reduces installation cost by reducing cylinder, catapult trough and trough cover sizes and piston sizes. This reduces the weight of the piston-shuttle assembly entering the water brake from 6,500 lbs to 2,122 pounds which significantly increases the life of the water brake and allows it to be reduced in size and weight. Looking forward, there is opportunity to improve the ICCALS further,
President/COO Stallard Associates