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"Too big to sail? US aircraft carriers could go ..." Topic

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704 hits since 4 Dec 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse04 Dec 2018 3:02 p.m. PST

…the way of the dinosaur.

"President Trump is worried that the newest class of American supercarriers may have a fatally flawed system for launching aircraft, and has ruminated publicly about why the new electromagnetic catapults have replaced the old-fashioned steam version.

But deep thinkers believe the most tangible symbol of America's military dominance could face a much bigger problem: U.S. aircraft carriers may soon be rendered obsolete by short-sighted decisions and new long-range weapons.

No other nation in the world has more than two modern aircraft carriers. The United States has 11, and is proceeding at flank speed on an ambitious multibillion-dollar program to gradually replace its Cold War-era Nimitz class carriers, with the new Gerald R. Ford class, the biggest and most expensive warship in human history, price tag $13 USD billion…."
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Ghostrunner04 Dec 2018 3:34 p.m. PST

The author lost much of his credibility with me with this statement:

While the U.S. decommissioned its last battleship in 1992, that day in 1945 marked the end of the age of battleships armed with big guns.

He clearly misunderstood why the Navy kept them around – as land attack vessels.

Not to mention that it was widely expected (but never proven) that 16" belt armor would laugh at the warheads carried by many SSMs (Harpoons, Exocets).

I'm not even sure what he is proposing… don't build any more carriers in favor of what, exactly?

Personal logo 28mm Fanatik Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2018 5:12 p.m. PST

No bashing here but Trump sees everything as a "deal." Steam cats cost less than EM cats so he favors steam.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that we never would have moved from conventionally powered carriers to nuclear powered ones either. Technology marches on. Even China is planning carriers with EM cats.

Then again, he's trying to save money by scaling back the arms race: link

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

I'm worried about the new EM cats too, and obviously the USN is as well.

What they really need is the A-12 bomber, and/or its replacement now – long-range drones, perhaps, so they can stand further offshore, but still get the job of land attack done.

F-18s and F-35s don't have the legs, or the carrying capacity to get that done, and apparently the A-6 Prowlers are gone too.

Dn Jackson04 Dec 2018 10:31 p.m. PST

Whatever. I've been reading stories about the aircraft carrier being obsolete for 30 years. Yet they're still around and we still need them.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian05 Dec 2018 5:58 a.m. PST

Surely this question can be resolved at the wargaming table? Come on, give us the scenario, fight this out! evil grin

mandt207 Dec 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

No ship is unsinkable. It's just a matter of numbers. Can an enemy build enough missiles to overwhelm a carrier group's defenses? Of course they can. And I'd bet it takes a lot fewer than we think.

Any strategy that includes a carrier group has to consider the possibility that the carrier will be found, disabled, or sunk.

It's time to move into the 21st century and stop preparing for the last war and innovate for the next. Unmanned drones are the future of air combat. It seems to me that a carrier group with half a dozen small "helicopter" carriers (instead of one huge super carrier) with each carrying 12-15 multi-role drones would be a much more practical choice.

Lion in the Stars07 Dec 2018 3:18 p.m. PST

@Mandt2: Look at the cost of say, an America-class LHA, plus how many crew are needed for a dozen fighters. Multiply that times 8-10. Then compare that total to the cost of a Ford-class.

Because the America-class LHA (or one of the Japanese DDHs) is about the smallest ship you can get to carry a dozen fixed-wing aircraft.

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