22 June 2009

Aircraft Carriers As Targets Revisited

The good news is that the U.S. Navy has a plan to defeat almost all plausible military threats to U.S. aircraft carriers, and not many opponents with the means and inclination to do so.

The bad news is that some of those defense (most notably anti-submarine warfare), often don't actually work in realistic training exercises and "gotcha" peacetime international military encounters in real life whose results have been made known to the public.

When the lives of thousands of U.S. sailors, tens of billions of dollars in military hardware, and defeat in decisive military encounters are at stake, a plan that doesn't work reliably is problematic.


Michael Malak said...

Aircraft carriers are near the end of life in terms of usability -- like circa 1980 for battleships. SSGN is the replacement.

Sadly, I feel aircraft carriers are being/will be used to "foul out" other nations -- stick it out there like a sitting duck and exploit the resulting U.S. public outrage to wage war.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Not so sure of that. "Showing the flag" is one of the things that the Navy does best, and if war is viewed as diplomacy by other means, than menancing is a rather important naval function.

Also, it is convenient to have an airbase that can be put into place anywhere in the sea.

Really, the trouble is that we are skating on a paradox. As long as now one else wants to take on the U.S. at sea because we have such a relatively large navy, it is a U.S. safe space. But, once we commit a lot of resources to it, it wouldn't take too much serious opposition to impair the value of those resources. Life is good until someone with the means to do so decides that they really want to sink a carrier.