Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this exceptional book examines the watershed period in carrier development that occurred immediately following World War II, when design advances were made that would be crucial to the centrality in national-security policy making that carriers and naval aviation have today. In those years several major technological breakthroughs — notably the jet engine and nuclear weapons — raised large questions about the future and led to an array of innovations in the design and operational utilization of aircraft carriers.
Central to this story is the collaboration between the aviation communities in the navies of the United States and Great Britain during these years, building on the intimate relationship they had developed during the war itself. Strikingly, the most important of these innovations, notably the angled flight deck and steam catapult, originated with the British, not the Americans. This study thereby also provides interesting lessons for the U.S. Navy today with respect to its commitment to maritime security cooperation in the context of its new "maritime strategy." It is a welcome and important addition to the historiography of the Navy in the seminal years of the Cold War.
CHAPTER ONE - BuAer before World War II * CHAPTER TWO - BuAer in World War II * CHAPTER THREE - The Potential of the Big Bomber * CHAPTER FOUR - Royal Navy Wartime Experience and Analysis * CHAPTER FIVE - Adopting Jet Engines * CHAPTER SIX - British and American Prospects after the War * CHAPTER SEVEN - The Flexdeck * CHAPTER EIGHT - Catapults: Choosing an Option under Pressure * CHAPTER NINE - Analysis
The study on which this monograph is based was commissioned by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Net Assessment) in the fall of 2006 as part of that office's longstanding support for studies of military innovation. In some sense, the OSD(NA) project was a follow-on to an earlier study by the present coauthors, published in 1999 as American & British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941 by the Naval Institute Press.
In the mid-1980s, Andrew Marshall, the director of the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, encouraged a number of investigators to examine cases of innovation in the U.S. armed forces and in the armed forces of other countries. His encouragement, coupled with the financial support of his office, led to a number of studies, among which was the book American & British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941 (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1999), written by the authors of the study that you are about to read.
The success of American & British Aircraft Carrier Development, 1919-1941 led Mr. Marshall to ask whether we might examine the development of the modern aircraft carrier after World War II. We already knew that the three essential innovations—the steam catapult, the angled flight deck, and the optical landing aid — had been developed first in Great Britain for and by the Royal Navy. Then all three innovations had been picked up by the U.S. Navy.
But why, Mr. Marshall wanted to know, had the Royal Navy developed these innovations first? He asked us to come together and answer that question, as well as the related question of how these innovations were "transferred" so quickly to the U.S. Navy. Mr. Marshall's interest was in the process of innovation and in how innovations spread. We have tried to find answers to his questions.