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Are the US Navy Carrier Fleets Obsolete?

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Wowzery #21 Posted 25 April 2017 - 07:56 PM

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I'm reminded on how missile proponents said the gun was obsolete.  So the US military build ships and planes without guns.  What happened?  The gun came back.  Why?  Because there was still a use for it on the modern battlefield.  So too, is there still a use for carriers, for now.



Sethanas #22 Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:27 PM

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The answer to that will not be a simple yes or no tbh...

Perhaps the Carrier could become obsolete in its direct combat role (a la WW2), given the newer missile tech and all, but as a logistics and command ship it's still going to be very relevant for many years to come I'd think. Also, outside of direct combat there's a great many uses for the CV in its current form.

And IF the aircraft carrier does lose some of its combat capabilities, the relatively open internal space can easily be converted to fit other needs (Medical, wartime transport, Ammunition, spare parts, etc etc etc.

TLDR, It wouldn't surprise me to see the carrier take on even more of a support role if there was another large scale war.

Now a more interesting thought to me is, weather or not advances in missile defense tech could lead to a resurgence of big gun warships? (Maybe not BBs per say, but large cruisers perhaps?)

TabbyHopkins #23 Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:48 PM

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View PostSethanas, on 25 April 2017 - 01:27 PM, said:



Now a more interesting thought to me is, weather or not advances in missile defense tech could lead to a resurgence of big gun warships? (Maybe not BBs per say, but large cruisers perhaps?)

I honestly think "yes", to this. I foresee a day where missile defense systems are so perfect that missiles will be useless, save something like a nuke. The US Navy is trying to make railguns into viable weapons, even if the only ships capable are the Zumwalts which...eh, not sure about them.

 

 It's sort of going back to the "big gun navy" idea. Granted, not perfectly, but pretty close.

 

 Any one know the feasability of using radar to detect a 16 inch shell, and then a missile launch to deflect/destroy said shell?

 

 


 

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Sethanas #24 Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:10 PM

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View PostTabbyHopkins, on 25 April 2017 - 03:48 PM, said:

 It's sort of going back to the "big gun navy" idea. Granted, not perfectly, but pretty close.

 

 Any one know the feasability of using radar to detect a 16 inch shell, and then a missile launch to deflect/destroy said shell?


I'm no expert, but I'd assume that shells could be countered, but a typical AP shell would probably be harder to deal with than a missile, considering that you'd have to deflect it somehow rather than just disable the propulsion or detonator.



Carrier_Lexington #25 Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:38 PM

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View PostUmikami, on 25 April 2017 - 12:57 PM, said:

yes, they are, as 1 SSBN can neutralize a carrier and all it's support ships from halfway across the globe.

IF they choose to.

USN carriers need to go submarine, using only drones, to become better able to survive active combat operations.

 

I think you might want to take a look at this.

 

Excerpted:

 

"Problem one: Finding it. Carriers move. And they really move pretty quickly. The supposed easy method of sinking a carrier is use a satellite to locate it, and send a ballistic missile with a nuke on it to that location. But during the time of that missile flight, the carrier will move to another location, and your canned sunshine will go off far in its wake. Which means you just started a nuclear war by killing some fish. This is not an advisable strategy. This same problem also makes it difficult to sink a carrier with a diesel submarine. Diesel submarines are very quiet as long as they aren't moving. But unless you know where a carrier is going, you can't exactly set a trap for it. And where a carrier is going (in an exact sense) is a closely guarded secret.

Problem two: The carrier is protected by guys like Tim Hibbetts who fly some of the most sophisticated aircraft on the planet in defense of those carriers. Anything that's within a VERY long distance of a carrier is known to the battle group. Anything that acts aggressive is going to get shot down or blown up a LONG way from the carrier. Getting through a carrier's fighter cover is far from trivial. A carrier has more fighter aircraft aboard than most nations have total. And in battles between planes and ships (in case you were thinking of killing a carrier with torpedo boats) planes win. Dramatically. See the Pacific theater for details.

Problem three: The carrier is protected by a bunch of ships with AEGIS defense systems. So even if you manage to fight through the fighter wing of the carrier, you are now faced with some of the most sophisticated SAM missiles in the world coming at you. How sophisticated? We've used them to shoot down ballistic missiles. They are guided by the most sophisticated radar arrays in the world. Things will not go well for you. Even if you just launch standoff cruise missiles, things won't go well for them. Or you. Cruise missiles are like shooting fish in a barrel compared to downing ballistic missiles.

Problem four: Carriers have their own defensive systems, based on Gatling guns that fire a hundred rounds a second, and use two radars... One tracks the target, one tracks the outgoing bullets. A computer just moves the gun until those lines meet. Then you die. Those systems are fully automatic, and incredibly devastating. The carriers also have their own local defensive missiles, just in case you weren't being pounded enough by the carriers' air wing, the AEGIS missiles, and the Gatling guns.

Problem five: Even if you land ordnance on target, carriers are big, tough, targets that won't be trivial to even significantly damage, let alone sink. US crews are EXTREMELY well trained in firefighting and damage control. You will not only need big explosives, but lots of them, to sink a carrier. And that makes getting through steps one to four really hard.

Problem six. Carriers are almost certainly escorted by one or more attack submarines. So if your plan is just to stay out of the air or water surface, you don't get a break. US subs are among the best in the world, and have absurdly good active and passive sonar. And you won't know where they are."

 

The problem with this thread is that everyone is assuming that we're talking about WWII era carriers. But we aren't. We're talking about armored behemoths like USS Nimitz.

The USS Nimitz has an armored keel capable of withstanding several impacts from the Mk. 48 Deep Diving Torpedo, sophisticated CIWS systems capable of ripping missiles asunder (and, coming soon, melting them as well [LaWS]) [see: Phalanx, Goalkeeper], and triple armored decks. The most a non-nuclear strike will do to it is secure a "mission kill," that is, make the ship unfit for combat duties. But, guess what? It comes back in a few months.

And we've already read how effective "canned sunshine" is.


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crzyhawk #26 Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:42 PM

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They are useful for power projection, but the days of carrier duels are over.  There are no great blue water navies left to worry about.

 

Frankly, if I was the USN I'd be looking for some smaller, cheaper ships to do the same role, perhaps Midway sized.



TheGreatBlasto #27 Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:43 PM

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IIRC, the range of these missiles is longer than the range of the carrier borne aircraft.  IOW if you want to keep your CV out of their range, your air wing becomes useless.

 

This is a lengthy exploration of the issue by the great War Nerd himself.

 

http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6779&IBLOCK_ID=35

 

 


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Carrier_Lexington #28 Posted 26 April 2017 - 12:17 AM

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View PostTheGreatBlasto, on 25 April 2017 - 05:43 PM, said:

IIRC, the range of these missiles is longer than the range of the carrier borne aircraft.  IOW if you want to keep your CV out of their range, your air wing becomes useless.

 

This is a lengthy exploration of the issue by the great War Nerd himself.

 

http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6779&IBLOCK_ID=35

Not really.

You see, the range of some ballistic missiles may indeed be out of the range of certain carrier-borne aircraft, but ballistic missiles are incredibly slow and prone to getting shot-down by USN SAMs. Also, USN carriers can travel at high speed (in excess of 30 knots for the Gerald R. Ford class), which would make their actual ability to hit a carrier very poor.

 

And no currently-existing AShM has longer range than an F-18. The ranges of aircraft are measured in thousands of nautical miles (1nmi = ~1.85km), the ranges of AShMs are measured in the tens of kilometers.


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Doomlock #29 Posted 26 April 2017 - 02:29 AM

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View PostTabbyHopkins, on 25 April 2017 - 04:48 PM, said:

I honestly think "yes", to this. I foresee a day where missile defense systems are so perfect that missiles will be useless, save something like a nuke. The US Navy is trying to make railguns into viable weapons, even if the only ships capable are the Zumwalts which...eh, not sure about them.

 

 It's sort of going back to the "big gun navy" idea. Granted, not perfectly, but pretty close.

 

 Any one know the feasability of using radar to detect a 16 inch shell, and then a missile launch to deflect/destroy said shell?

 

 

 

View PostSethanas, on 25 April 2017 - 05:10 PM, said:


I'm no expert, but I'd assume that shells could be countered, but a typical AP shell would probably be harder to deal with than a missile, considering that you'd have to deflect it somehow rather than just disable the propulsion or detonator.

 

There is no argument to radar or missile to deflect a shell that I can see. The Mark 8 superheavy shell travels at a speed of 762mps new, 739mps average. A tomahawk cruise missile can go a maximum of 247mps. Aside from the massive speed difference, the time it takes to get a radar lock, fire the missile, and have it reach max speed, the shell has already impacted the target.

 

In short, you would have to have a lock on the shell before it is even fired in order to have a chance to hit it, and even then, the blast of a missile might not even be enough to stop the shell. You need only to think, can radar detect, and fire a missile to stop a bullet? To get a type of answer.

 

At least that's how I see it.


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Flashtirade #30 Posted 26 April 2017 - 02:37 AM

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You'd be better off shooting bullets out of the sky with other bullets, if you even bother at all. Missiles are pretty costly, but one of their big selling points is to be able to take out things that cost even more than they do.

Palladia #31 Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:41 AM

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View PostCarrier_Lexington, on 25 April 2017 - 10:38 PM, said:

 

I think you might want to take a look at this.

 

Excerpted:

 

"Problem one: Finding it. Carriers move. And they really move pretty quickly. The supposed easy method of sinking a carrier is use a satellite to locate it, and send a ballistic missile with a nuke on it to that location. But during the time of that missile flight, the carrier will move to another location, and your canned sunshine will go off far in its wake. Which means you just started a nuclear war by killing some fish. This is not an advisable strategy. This same problem also makes it difficult to sink a carrier with a diesel submarine. Diesel submarines are very quiet as long as they aren't moving. But unless you know where a carrier is going, you can't exactly set a trap for it. And where a carrier is going (in an exact sense) is a closely guarded secret.

Problem two: The carrier is protected by guys like Tim Hibbetts who fly some of the most sophisticated aircraft on the planet in defense of those carriers. Anything that's within a VERY long distance of a carrier is known to the battle group. Anything that acts aggressive is going to get shot down or blown up a LONG way from the carrier. Getting through a carrier's fighter cover is far from trivial. A carrier has more fighter aircraft aboard than most nations have total. And in battles between planes and ships (in case you were thinking of killing a carrier with torpedo boats) planes win. Dramatically. See the Pacific theater for details.

Problem three: The carrier is protected by a bunch of ships with AEGIS defense systems. So even if you manage to fight through the fighter wing of the carrier, you are now faced with some of the most sophisticated SAM missiles in the world coming at you. How sophisticated? We've used them to shoot down ballistic missiles. They are guided by the most sophisticated radar arrays in the world. Things will not go well for you. Even if you just launch standoff cruise missiles, things won't go well for them. Or you. Cruise missiles are like shooting fish in a barrel compared to downing ballistic missiles.

Problem four: Carriers have their own defensive systems, based on Gatling guns that fire a hundred rounds a second, and use two radars... One tracks the target, one tracks the outgoing bullets. A computer just moves the gun until those lines meet. Then you die. Those systems are fully automatic, and incredibly devastating. The carriers also have their own local defensive missiles, just in case you weren't being pounded enough by the carriers' air wing, the AEGIS missiles, and the Gatling guns.

Problem five: Even if you land ordnance on target, carriers are big, tough, targets that won't be trivial to even significantly damage, let alone sink. US crews are EXTREMELY well trained in firefighting and damage control. You will not only need big explosives, but lots of them, to sink a carrier. And that makes getting through steps one to four really hard.

Problem six. Carriers are almost certainly escorted by one or more attack submarines. So if your plan is just to stay out of the air or water surface, you don't get a break. US subs are among the best in the world, and have absurdly good active and passive sonar. And you won't know where they are."

 

The problem with this thread is that everyone is assuming that we're talking about WWII era carriers. But we aren't. We're talking about armored behemoths like USS Nimitz.

The USS Nimitz has an armored keel capable of withstanding several impacts from the Mk. 48 Deep Diving Torpedo, sophisticated CIWS systems capable of ripping missiles asunder (and, coming soon, melting them as well [LaWS]) [see: Phalanx, Goalkeeper], and triple armored decks. The most a non-nuclear strike will do to it is secure a "mission kill," that is, make the ship unfit for combat duties. But, guess what? It comes back in a few months.

And we've already read how effective "canned sunshine" is.

 

Lemme quote this for emphasis.  Also the USS Independence survived a nuclear blast.  It melted her hull and would have killed everyone on board had there been anyone,  but she still weathered a nuke and kept floating.  The Independence.  Built in 1942.  I dare say we've made some advances in technology since then.

Carrier_Junyo #32 Posted 26 April 2017 - 06:26 AM

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Yeah, carriers are obsolete today. The choice replacement IMO would be massive ships (or subs) which act as mobile missile platforms with state of the art offensive and defensive missile and other systems (rail guns, lasers, etc). Short of a nuclear confrontation, the side that wins is the side that can field more advanced missiles, more advanced acquisition, surveillance, and jamming systems. The side that wins, is the side that can overwhelm the enemy with sheer number of missiles while defending against enemy missiles. Carriers can neither stop a missile attack, nor can the AEGIS cruisers, nor can they field enough missiles to counter land-based missiles.

 

The battleship age was superseded by the carrier age, and the carrier age is now obsolete to the "missile age".  


WG, please remove Air Superiority Carrier loadouts from the game. I'm sure that if you looked at Air Superiority Win Rates vs Balanced or Strike Win Rates, your data will show you the vast inferiority of this loadout in its ability to help their team's chances to win. Meanwhile, they are encouraging the balanced or strike CV player to stop playing CVs due to decreasing their enjoyment of the game and creating frustration. Removing Air Superiority loadouts, and "re-balancing" the balanced and strike loadouts is the easiest fix to the current CV problem. Match the air power of both nations for equivalent loadouts. Ideally, players should be able to select their loadouts in-game, not in port. This way, they are able to adapt to enemy CV's actions and it adds an extra element of tactics and strategy, rather than being at a disadvantage already at Port. 


AhosChaos #33 Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:27 AM

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View PostDoomlock, on 25 April 2017 - 06:29 PM, said:

 

 

There is no argument to radar or missile to deflect a shell that I can see. The Mark 8 superheavy shell travels at a speed of 762mps new, 739mps average. A tomahawk cruise missile can go a maximum of 247mps. Aside from the massive speed difference, the time it takes to get a radar lock, fire the missile, and have it reach max speed, the shell has already impacted the target.

 

In short, you would have to have a lock on the shell before it is even fired in order to have a chance to hit it, and even then, the blast of a missile might not even be enough to stop the shell. You need only to think, can radar detect, and fire a missile to stop a bullet? To get a type of answer.

 

At least that's how I see it.

 

Except you wouldn't use a Tomahawk to shoot down a shell.  You use one of the RIM missiles, like the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow or the RIM-67 Standard, to shoot down shells.  Considering that these missiles are intended to hit jets and fly at speeds around Mach 4, catching shells isn't an impossibility.   Also considering that these missiles contain either a few hundred pound explosive or a blast fragmentation proximity explosives, there is little reason to believe that the shell would be able to stay true to its original path if at all in the air.

 

In Zipang, an anime so not the most realistic source, the Mirai, a fictional Yukinami-class ship equipped with the Aegis combat system, engages the Yamato.  In the scene, the CIC is able to pick up the shells on the radar and launch Sea Sparrows to intercept.  Watch Episode 14 for this example.  

 

The Sea Sparrow has a maximum range of 19km.  For a Mark 8 SHS shell flying at 762 m/s, or the Yamato 18" bombs which fly slightly slower, it would take roughly 25 seconds to travel the 19km.  If we assume that the radar only picks up the shell at the 19km point, then it is not unreasonable to assume that a well trained crew could acquire and react to the shell in less than 25 seconds.

 

However radar is much more powerful than is given credit to.  Modern air radar in the form of the AN/SPS-49 has the ability to pick up threats out to around 400km.  Granted a shell is much smaller, but an object just roughly 6 feet by 1.5 feet that is barreling through the sky could and should still be picked up.  The CICS of a ship will identify and be prepared to deal with the threat before the threat is within range.  Even surface radar exceeds the ship required to mount the gun's range.  The AN/SPS-55 surface radar is able to pick up ships over 90km away, and considering the size of a ship that is required to fire the projectile, the ship most likely isn't hiding from radar too well.  

 

This is still discounting any CIWS.  The Phalanx fires 75 rounds per second and has been proven against missile threats in training.  Again a shell is much smaller and is less likely to be stopped by 20mm tungsten rounds than a missile, but the potential is still there.


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AdmiralMudkip #34 Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:30 AM

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Two things:

 

1)  Even if a nation does sink an aircraft carrier, won't the US send more on its way? Not only that, but the US wields more than just the supercarriers. A nation would have to invest a lot of time, money, and weapony to sink one aircraft carrier. Any small hint of failing to sink it and the striking nation that attempted to sink a CV might find themselves in significant disadvantage.

 

2)  This is the wrong thread to have a discussion. We should have it on the Off-Topic forums. This thread is for CV gameplay, improvements on game style, criticisms, etc that pertains to World of Warships. I'm sorry to say, but modern warfare has no place here. 



Sethanas #35 Posted 26 April 2017 - 10:24 AM

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a

View PostDoomlock, on 25 April 2017 - 09:29 PM, said:

 

 

There is no argument to radar or missile to deflect a shell that I can see. The Mark 8 superheavy shell travels at a speed of 762mps new, 739mps average. A tomahawk cruise missile can go a maximum of 247mps. Aside from the massive speed difference, the time it takes to get a radar lock, fire the missile, and have it reach max speed, the shell has already impacted the target.

 

In short, you would have to have a lock on the shell before it is even fired in order to have a chance to hit it, and even then, the blast of a missile might not even be enough to stop the shell. You need only to think, can radar detect, and fire a missile to stop a bullet? To get a type of answer.

 

At least that's how I see it.

They would not use a missile to deflect a shell, If you look up C-RAM (Land based equivalent of the CIWS) they use advanced radar and a 20mm Cannon for Counter Rocket, Artillery and Missile (C-RAM)


So yes they can counter shells, but the question is at what point is the shell simply too heavy to deflect or destroy in such a manner, and if that threshold can't be met at what point are there just too many shells to deal with.

 



phydaux42 #36 Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:18 PM

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View PostUmikami, on 25 April 2017 - 12:57 PM, said:

yes, they are, as 1 SSBN can neutralize a carrier and all it's support ships from halfway across the globe.

IF they choose to.

USN carriers need to go submarine, using only drones, to become better able to survive active combat operations.

 

You can not invoke the nuclear option in a vacuum.  Yes, a USN carrier battle group is susceptible to a nuclear strike.  The nuclear $hit $torm that would follow a nuclear attack on a USN aircraft carrier battle group would make the loss of a carrier group, in both dollars and lives, look small.  So rational opponents aren't going to risk the retaliation, and irrational opponents aren't going to waste a nuke on an aircraft carrier when it is far easier to detonate one over New York City, Chicago, or Washington DC.

 

USN aircraft carriers do not operate in a vacuum.  They are escorted at all times by both cruisers and destroyers, both armed with a variate of guided missiles.  And usually an SSN.  Also, there are very few places on earth where then would not be supported by land based aircraft.   Anything hinkey won't get within 5 miles of the CV.



Carrier_Lexington #37 Posted 26 April 2017 - 05:59 PM

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View PostCarrier_Junyo, on 26 April 2017 - 01:26 AM, said:

Yeah, carriers are obsolete today. The choice replacement IMO would be massive ships (or subs) which act as mobile missile platforms with state of the art offensive and defensive missile and other systems (rail guns, lasers, etc). Short of a nuclear confrontation, the side that wins is the side that can field more advanced missiles, more advanced acquisition, surveillance, and jamming systems. The side that wins, is the side that can overwhelm the enemy with sheer number of missiles while defending against enemy missiles. Carriers can neither stop a missile attack, nor can the AEGIS cruisers, nor can they field enough missiles to counter land-based missiles.

 

The battleship age was superseded by the carrier age, and the carrier age is now obsolete to the "missile age".  

What you do not understand is that the Carrier is the exact type of "missile-age" ship you're talking about! Massive, heavily-armored, and filled to the brim with missiles. Except the Carrier is superior in that it has attack planes which can deliver those missiles accurately to targets thousands of miles away.

 

And, what else? A target detected by a hard to hit (or even spot) fighter aircraft will stay spotted longer than a target acquired by a "massive ship." So carriers are superior in Acquisition and Detection.

 

I wonder if you even know how much ECM Carriers and their surrounding escort ships carry. It's a lot. And then there's Analog countermeasures (flares, CIWS).

 

Finally, your penultimate sentence must be a joke... "Carriers cannot stop a missile attack, nor the AEGIS cruisers, nor can carriers field enough missiles to counter a land-based missile attack."

You do realize that the Nimitz carrier has a CIWS Target Aquisition system capable of identifying and targeting over 500 missiles at once? And, furthermore, you do realize that the Aegis system is one of the most advanced CIWS systems in the world. And, pretty soon, US Carriers will be armed with lasers. Yes, that's right, lasers. In case you don't understand, lasers are faster, more accurate, and less expensive to maintain than Phalanx guns, and have just the same effect.


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Doomlock #38 Posted 26 April 2017 - 06:51 PM

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Valid points about my argument, and I will concede that pi was unaware of the anti artillery weapons we have. HOWEVER. This is speaking of the US's equipment and not an enemy's. The age of engaging in naval combat on equal terms ended long ago.

 

In terms of artillery, with the development of railguns coming along and, at least for the foreseeable future, the only platforms capable of mounting them being naval vessels, there is a strong chance the battleship could return arming itself with railguns, a massive array of missiles, and perhaps conventional artillery.


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Sethanas #39 Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:37 PM

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I don't get why some people here are so convinced that nukes would do anything to a carrier group....

A Nuclear warhead is a relatively fragile thing (Simply because of how they function), as a general rule shooting the missile out of the air will damage the warhead in such a way that would completely prevent nuclear detonation.

A Nuke is a weapon of fear at this point, if the enemy calls your bluff they become practically useless.

TabbyHopkins #40 Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:24 PM

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View PostSethanas, on 26 April 2017 - 12:37 PM, said:

I don't get why some people here are so convinced that nukes would do anything to a carrier group....

A Nuclear warhead is a relatively fragile thing (Simply because of how they function), as a general rule shooting the missile out of the air will damage the warhead in such a way that would completely prevent nuclear detonation.

A Nuke is a weapon of fear at this point, if the enemy calls your bluff they become practically useless.

You're making the big assumption that "they" would fire only one nuclear missile. You get to a point where nukes come into play, you don't fire one and hope whoever you fired on doesn't launch everything back at you. You fire as many as you need, and then some. And you fire them across a wide range of paths so that you over tax your opponent. 

 

Personally, I'd fire a few nukes at a carrier to be a distraction while I had other nukes flying against less defended targets.


 

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