Since URR shared Chinese CV ops with us, I’mma steal from CDR Salamander and share some great old video of how we used to do it. USS Randolph (CV-15) was an Essex class carrier. As of the film in 1954, it was still a straight deck carrier, and the cats were still hydraulic, not steam. And there was no more advanced landing aid than the LSO. The mirror and angle deck were still just a bit in the future.
Like I said on URR’s post, when the USN transitioned from straight deck Essex ships to big deck carriers such as the Forrestal (CV-59) class, almost every aspect of CV operations changed. Steam cats replaced hydraulics, angle decks and bolters replaced taking a cut, and heading for the barrier. The Fresnel lens (originally, a mirror was used) provided the meatball, greatly improving the pilot’s ability to visualize his approach, especially at night. Cyclic operations became a possibility, rather than the traditional deck load strike. And all this took place in the space of a very, very few years, while also introducing an astonishing number of new types into the fleet, and still operating piston engine types. To think the Chinese will not be able to master at least some level of competency in CV ops is hubris. Will Liaoning ever be the equal of a Nimitz class? Of course not. But will the PLAN learn to operate her in a manner that fulfills their operational needs? Or at least serves as a viable training platform to help them design and build a successful follow on CV? I’d bet it will.
A couple of things I enjoyed seeing- look closely, and you’ll see they’ve brought along an SNJ as a hack. The gunnery practice part was pretty neat. Despite being open mounts, the 5”/38 battery is indeed a base ring mount design. I think the fire control system is the Mk63, but I’m not certain. There’s also the 3”/50 battery for closer in work. When they show the escorts firing, I was really struck by the rate of fire.
Finally, why the hell can’t the Navy go back to dungarees?