Opportunity in the Bonhomme Richard disaster

Mostly a discussion about the U.S. Navy use of “big decks” in the future.

There is nothing new under the sun, and this idea harkens back to the World War II concept of the “jeep carrier.” Those were also merchantmen converted to ad hoc carriers. There is an additional advantage to using converted merchant ships in today’s technological environment. Even commercial ships considered obsolete by shipping companies are much more highly automated than existing carriers and amphibious ships. In an increasingly competitive recruiting/retention environment, the savings in manpower would be a plus. In addition, a near-empty empty oil tanker is close to impossible to sink.

Did they really say that? Next thing will be a claim that Navy ships have the best navigators and fire protection on the planet.

1 Like

Yeah, that’s a weird sentence. Presumably the writer had something like this in mind:


Then there is this;

The slow carriers could not outrun 30 kn (35 mph; 56 km/h) cruisers. They launched their aircraft and maneuvered to avoid shellfire for over an hour. They took dozens of hits, mostly from armor-piercing rounds that passed right through their thin, unarmored hulls without exploding.

USS Bogue. A C3 hull with a flight deck.

Quite a number of C3-S-A2 Standard ships were converted to (escort)carriers, basically a CS 3 hull with a flight deck. They were called baby flattop in those days.

I once sailed on the Grandbassa tanker ‘W. Alton Jones’ built in Newport News. The ship was heavily subsidized to be converted, if necessary, to a baby flattop. She was for instance fitted with a larger than normal steam plant and could reach 20 knots.


Jeep carrier or baby flattop. No “er” in American usage. Maybe just a Dutch thing?

1 Like


Just an obvious mistake. It is so long ago since I used that word.

Just another writer trying to raise a profile when he doesn’t have the first clue what he’s talking about. First he attacks the idea of an aviation-centered policy, but then suggests converting tankers to jeep carriers? It’s an idea 75 years out of date. Considering that the average Wasp class LHD is incapable of operating the F-35 without extensive refit, there is no way in hell that you’re going to slap some extra nonskid on top of a tanker and call it a baby flattop. Even if you could, there are still the not-inconsequential issues like storing, repairing, fueling, arming, and coordinating the launching of aircraft, plus storing all that fuel, ammunition, spare parts, and the thousand sailors you need to make it all happen. Put it all together and you end up with a ship that looks a lot like… an aircraft carrier.

During the first Gulf War there was a proposal to convert the decks of some VLCCs to operate as lily pads for helicopters, and I am guessing that’s where this guy is getting the idea, including that nearly unsinkable hogwash. The only valuable lesson from this article is that the Navy Times has absolutely no journalistic rigor.


Easy peasy, money saved.

1 Like

VLCC’s unsinkable? Second chuckle of the day. Nothing on this planet is unsinkable.

1 Like

It can work with helicopters used in AS warfare but as you say to deploy F35 aircraft on a budget you end up with a carrier like the British have built. As I understand it the wasp class need a major rebuild of deck because of the downward thrust of the jet exhaust.

Here’s another article by David Axe along the same lines.

The Navy could accelerate production of new America -class assault ships, which like BHR and her seven Wasp -class sisters are big-deck vessels that combine troop-berthing, vehicle-storage, a floodable well-deck for landing craft and a full-length flight deck.

he expeditionary sea base USNS ‘Hershel Williams’ arrives at Naval Station Norfolk after completing … [+]


The TITANIC was!!!

Well … at least for a little while.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

1 Like

I am sure it practical,but that is one ugly ship.