05 March 2007

Elven Super Carriers

The U.S. Navy has as its goal 12 aircraft carriers (CV or CVN type). In March there will be eleven. Departing John F. Kennedy was notable for being one of the few non-nuclear powered supercarriers left in the U.S. Navy. In addition, the Navy has a dozen amphibious assault ships in two different classes, used mostly by the Marines which can carry both helicopters and Harrier fighter jets that would be classified as aircraft carriers in any other world navy.

[O]n March 23 the aircraft carrier [USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)], launched in 1967 and commissioned a year later, will be stricken from the rolls of active navy ships. . . . with Kennedy having launch and recovery equipment problems over the past few years and not having her flight deck certified to operate fixed-wing aircraft, we really have been operating with that reduce number of carriers for a while now.

The author of the quoted story screwed it up, prematurely counting the USS Kitty Hawk, which will retire around 2008 when the USS George H.W. Bush enters service, as decomissioned. When the USS George H.W. Bush enters service, and the USS Kitty Hawk leaves service, the only non-Nimitz class aircraft carrier will be the USS Enterprise. The next class of aircraft carriers has been dubbed the Ford class, and construction on the first ship in the class began in 2005. No other Navy in the world has more than three aircraft carriers, and the U.K., which has them, is on our side. The U.S. has 23.

Unless we plan on attacking Iran, this decommissioning will not seriously harm U.S. military power, and as the quoted author notes, it really only reflects the status quo.

From Defense Tech.

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