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Are the US Navy Carrier Fleets Obsolete?

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AVR_Project #41 Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:43 PM

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View PostCarrier_Lexington, on 26 April 2017 - 12:59 PM, said:

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.

 

LASERs.... Pretty soon?????      They ARE.  Installed and running.

However, before they can be used, all the planes would be shot down, escorting cruisers sunk, tactical subs destroyed, and SSDS and CIWS ran out of ammo.

Yeah..  welcome to the real world.


So much has been lost, so much forgotten. So much pain, so much blood. And for what? I wonder. The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between. But there is still time to seize that one last, fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference.  -- Babylon 5


HazeGrayUnderway #42 Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:58 PM

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It's almost as if people think American Aircraft Carriers sail alone.

Carrier_Lexington #43 Posted 26 April 2017 - 11:10 PM

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View PostAVR_Project, on 26 April 2017 - 04:43 PM, said:

 

LASERs.... Pretty soon?????      They ARE.  Installed and running.

However, before they can be used, all the planes would be shot down, escorting cruisers sunk, tactical subs destroyed, and SSDS and CIWS ran out of ammo.

Yeah..  welcome to the real world.

 

True, but doesn't that just reinforce my point? By the time that you got in-range for the carrier to use those lasers, well, you've probably used-up most of your military.

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sarkinc #44 Posted 26 April 2017 - 11:16 PM

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View PostTabbyHopkins, on 26 April 2017 - 09:24 PM, said:

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.

 

You can't actually fire multiple nuclear missiles at once. if one is detonated with others in range, the others are potentially disabled. So you're left with having to fire in succession or a 'linear' mode. This would be 'easy' for missile protection systems to take down.

"ERWs were first operationally deployed for anti-ballistic missiles (ABM). In this role the burst of neutrons would cause nearby warheads to undergo partial fission, preventing them from exploding properly."
https://en.wikipedia...ki/Neutron_bomb
It's one of the reasons why the peacekeeper staggers warhead reentry and spacing.

With neutron bombs as an example, you possibly could use the enemies weapons against themselves. These weapons are rather fragile.

 

 


Edited by sarkinc, 26 April 2017 - 11:21 PM.


Flashtirade #45 Posted 26 April 2017 - 11:20 PM

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View PostAVR_Project, on 26 April 2017 - 09:43 PM, said:

 

LASERs.... Pretty soon?????      They ARE.  Installed and running.

However, before they can be used, all the planes would be shot down, escorting cruisers sunk, tactical subs destroyed, and SSDS and CIWS ran out of ammo.

Yeah..  welcome to the real world.

 

Go ahead and tell me what nation besides the US could field a force strong enough to tear through all those layers of defense.



Sethanas #46 Posted 27 April 2017 - 10:35 AM

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View PostTabbyHopkins, on 26 April 2017 - 04:24 PM, said:

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

 

Well, some of us would make plans to win while the planet was still inhabitable.... just sayin...

And even if you went that route you'd need to fire an absurd amount of nukes at the carrier group, more than would be feasible in any real world scenario. Carrier groups are practically designed to deal with that kind of massed missile attack. 

AVR_Project #47 Posted 27 April 2017 - 03:49 PM

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View PostFlashtirade, on 26 April 2017 - 06:20 PM, said:

 

Go ahead and tell me what nation besides the US could field a force strong enough to tear through all those layers of defense.

 

British, Russian, Chinese, not to mention combined alliances of smaller armed forces.  If they throw enough assets at that carrier group, it's going down.

...

The goal of modern warfare is not to send force against force, it's to throw all your force against weakness.

Fighting wars on equal footing is OK in a game, but risking trillions of dollars of hardware recklessly would be the end of our country, and the world we live in.


So much has been lost, so much forgotten. So much pain, so much blood. And for what? I wonder. The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between. But there is still time to seize that one last, fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference.  -- Babylon 5


Carrier_Lexington #48 Posted 27 April 2017 - 04:43 PM

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View PostAVR_Project, on 27 April 2017 - 10:49 AM, said:

 

British, Russian, Chinese, not to mention combined alliances of smaller armed forces.  If they throw enough assets at that carrier group, it's going down.

...

The goal of modern warfare is not to send force against force, it's to throw all your force against weakness.

Fighting wars on equal footing is OK in a game, but risking trillions of dollars of hardware recklessly would be the end of our country, and the world we live in.

 

I do not mean to insult the British military in any way. The British SAS is the best-trained and best-equipped Special Forces program out there bar none. The Royal Navy is a powerful and well-trained navy.

 

But they do not have the resources to take-on a USN Carrier group without being forced to over-commit drastically. And this is where your second point completely falls-apart.


The goal of modern warfare is not to throw all of your force against weakness. The goal of modern warfare is to create a weakness and then throw enough force at that weakness that you exploit it and destroy it, but not so much force that you are completely concentrated in one place.

 

The United States keeps 11 Carrier Strike Groups, 10 of which are active, with the 11th planning to become operational with the christening of USS Gerald R. Ford. Sure, if you "throw enough assets" at one, you will take them down. However, "enough assets" for some countries quantifies as their entire water-capable assets, and, for some others, 2 or 3 times what waterborne assets they have. Britain does not have a navy large enough to be able to neutralize all of the USN's Carrier Strike Groups.

 

And, though the US has only 10 carrier strike groups, it has 20 combat-capable carriers (19 active, 1 reserve), plus one that is undergoing trials and should be active within a year.

 

Let's compare:

The Royal Navy consists of 30 combat warships, 19 major surface combatants (6 guided-missile destroyers and 13 frigates) and 11 nuclear submarines, and no combat-capable carriers (HMS Illustrious was scrapped in 2016. 2 are considered under-construction, with one completed but not expected to be operational until 2020.)

 

A typical USN CGS (Carrier Strike Group) consists of a USN Nimitz-class Carrier (but 2 for CSG 7, since it absorbed the flagship from CSG 16 upon the latter's disestablisment), 2-3 guided-missile destroyers, 1+ crusiers, and some submarines, plus supply ships. The carrier is usually equipped with 65 to 70 aircraft.

 

So, if we do the math, that's... Well, let me put it this way: One USN CSG has from 1/3 to 1/2 the number of guided missile destroyers that the RN has total.

And, the US has 10 (+1 coming soon) Carrier Strike Groups.

 

The US Navy also has 52 combat-capable nuclear attack submarines, which are designed for the primary purpose of hunting and killing enemy submarines. That's close to 5 times the number of submarines that the RN has.

 

So, if you were hoping to use your powers as First Sea Lord to order a quick submarine strike at USN carriers... well, the United States Navy has enough to commit 2 submarines to fleet-protection AND still have 30 to actively hunt yours.


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BB3_Oregon_Steel #49 Posted 28 April 2017 - 08:23 PM

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View PostStauffenberg44, on 25 April 2017 - 06:55 PM, said:

They are certainly obsolete given missile defenses, not to mention the Shkval 230 mph torpedo and more advanced versions of this being developed. These will force carrier groups to stand well offshore for defensive purposes thus negating their ground attack role (since Midway type sea battles are a thing of the past). One hit with a Shkval that CV is dead in the water. You cannot intercept a 230 mph torpedo. A barrage of anti-ship missiles would also overwhelm whatever interception capabilities a CV group has at hand and keep them far off an enemy coastline.

 

Sorry, have to disagree, 

 

There will always be weapons which will end weapons system X, Y or Z but the thing is, what technology can create, technology can defeat. Of course the main problem you have with your 200 knt torpedo is that you have to get something close enough to guide it in to it's target which is the same problem modern submarines have.  Getting close enough to launch a torpedo attack on a carrier group is the next best thing to suicide which is why torpedoes are no longer designed to engage surface ships, they, and the torpedo you are describing, are designed to go after other submarines.  

 

The way you go after carrier groups is with missiles.  They are much faster than your 200 knt torpedo, can deliver a much heavier warhead and, for a while, there was little out there that could effectively defend against them.  That changed as defense technology caught up again.  But until you can develop an undetectable submarine that can get close enough to a carrier to accurately identify and target it, and provided your 200 knt torpedo has the range and the guidance system to reliably hit it's target, and provided this method can be more effective than sub launched or airplane launched missiles, for the purpose of sinking ships, your 200 knt torpedo is ... obsolete.  

 

 

 



Carrier_Lexington #50 Posted 29 April 2017 - 03:50 AM

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View PostBB3_Oregon_Steel, on 28 April 2017 - 03:23 PM, said:

But until you can develop an undetectable submarine that can get close enough to a carrier to accurately identify and target it, and provided your 200 knt torpedo has the range and the guidance system to reliably hit it's target, and provided this method can be more effective than sub launched or airplane launched missiles, for the purpose of sinking ships, your 200 knt torpedo is ... obsolete.  

 

 

 

And, don't forget, that this sub has to be undetectable even to other submarines.


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BB3_Oregon_Steel #51 Posted 30 April 2017 - 12:43 AM

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Well that is one of the layers of defense this super submarine would need to overcome.  But that's just one.  

BB3_Oregon_Steel #52 Posted 30 April 2017 - 12:53 AM

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View PostAVR_Project, on 27 April 2017 - 03:49 PM, said:

 

British, Russian, Chinese, not to mention combined alliances of smaller armed forces.  If they throw enough assets at that carrier group, it's going down.

...

The goal of modern warfare is not to send force against force, it's to throw all your force against weakness.

Fighting wars on equal footing is OK in a game, but risking trillions of dollars of hardware recklessly would be the end of our country, and the world we live in.

 

I don't think that whether a weapons system is viable is determined by whether or not it can be defeated.  The US has lost carriers before and there's nothing to suggest that in a major conflict, it won't lose carriers again.  Anyone who goes to war with the expectation that their weapons systems are infallible and invincible is going to run into a lot of rude surprises.  

BB3_Oregon_Steel #53 Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:05 AM

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View PostCarrier_Junyo, on 26 April 2017 - 06:26 AM, said:

Carriers can neither stop a missile attack, nor can the AEGIS cruisers, nor can they field enough missiles to counter land-based missiles.

 

Just to make sure we are on the same page.  You are aware that the AEGIS cruisers and destroyers are designed specifically to deal with mass missile attacks and that you are also aware that in the event of such an attack, a carriers air wings are equipped to do the same.  If your missiles get through all of that, then they have to deal with jamming systems, chaff and spoofing systems and then any survivors have to deal with the close in defense systems of high speed radar controlled gatling guns right?  

 

 



BB3_Oregon_Steel #54 Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:47 AM

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View PostStauffenberg44, on 25 April 2017 - 06:55 PM, said:

They are certainly obsolete given missile defenses, not to mention the Shkval 230 mph torpedo and more advanced versions of this being developed. These will force carrier groups to stand well offshore for defensive purposes thus negating their ground attack role (since Midway type sea battles are a thing of the past). One hit with a Shkval that CV is dead in the water. You cannot intercept a 230 mph torpedo. A barrage of anti-ship missiles would also overwhelm whatever interception capabilities a CV group has at hand and keep them far off an enemy coastline.

 

Just wanted to address the 230 mph torpedo again and what it's actually designed to do. 

 

Essentially this is an antisubmarine weapon designed in an attempt to overcome some serious deficiencies in the sonar capabilities of Russian attack submarines.  Essentially subs detect each other via sonar.  Not the ping type sonar you see in some movies but most passive listening sonars with massive amounts of computer analysis systems which can pick up the noise made by other submarines from many miles away.  

 

US Subs are far quieter than their Russian counterparts and their sonar equipment is far more sensitive and the computers which serve them far more powerful.  What this means is that US attack subs can locate and target their Russian counterparts from ranges at which the Russian sub doesn't even know there is another submarine around.  This can essentially enable US subs to sweep the sea clean of their Russian opposite numbers without the Russian subs being able to effectively respond.  

 

There is, however, a brief moment of vulnerability and this occurs when a US sub opens the doors to it's torpedo tubes in preparation for launch.  This noise can alter a Russian sub that another sub is out there and that, combined with the sounds the torpedo makes when it is launched, could give a Russian sub commander enough information to at least guess where the launching sub is.  Problem is, even if the Russian manages to do that, the Russian torpedos may very well not have the range or the speed to reply before the US sub fades out of view.  

 

The Shval is designed to give a Russian sub commander a weapon fast enough to reach the area of the US sub before it can disappear again.  That's the theory at least but the application still has a lot of things to work out, the biggest being how does this torpedo actually find it's target once it reaches the general area it needs to be in.  The Rocket engine and the Air bubble the torpedo basically flies through creates enormous amounts of noise and since you're trying to find a very quiet object by the whisper soft sounds it makes, having all that noise to deal with essentially makes the torpedo blind with about as much chance to hit a sub as a blind shooter trying to hit a moving target 20 miles away with a bb gun.  

 

Oh, somebody will probably figure it out someday but that day is probably a long ways off.  Even then, such a weapon would pose close to a zero percent chance of actually getting within launch distance of a carrier.  

 

On your other points, carriers do stand well off-shore of enemy coast lines.  It's not the carriers which are a threat to the enemy, it's the airplanes they carry and those airplanes don't need the carrier to be very close to the enemy's shore line to do their jobs.  This is why you didn't see WWII carriers tooling around in the Baltic during WWII and why they only operated in the Med at significant risk to themselves.   Trying not to get pinned too close to the shore has always been a part of how carriers who want to survive have gone about doing their jobs.  That hasn't really changed.

 

And you are absolutely right, blue water carrier battles are a thing of the past, mostly because, outside of the USN, nobody can afford to operate and maintain a fleet of honest to god heavy Aircraft Carriers.   In fact outside of the USN there are exactly two, one French and one Russian, vessels which you could call heavy aircraft carriers and neither of them are a match for the oldest US aircraft carrier currently held in mothballs.

 

I should mention that there are a few of the VTOL or STOL smaller carriers out there as well in addition to the Brazilian Sao Paulo which is a small traditional aircraft carrier handed down from the French, but none of these smaller carriers are in the same class or have anywhere near the same capabilities as the vessels we are talking about.  If you want to go in that direction then you probably need to include the US Tarawa, Wasp and America classes as well in that group.     


Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel, 01 May 2017 - 11:25 PM.


Carrier_Lexington #55 Posted 01 May 2017 - 02:20 AM

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View PostBB3_Oregon_Steel, on 30 April 2017 - 07:47 PM, said:

 

<snip>

+1


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_no_one_ #56 Posted 01 May 2017 - 03:10 AM

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View PostThe_first_harbinger, on 25 April 2017 - 05:21 PM, said:

It better not be obsolete, otherwise we would be screwed...

Common, with trillions of dollars spent and decades of engineering genius, how can they be obsolete?

 

think about you said here in comparison with the Japanese battleships in ww2.

Sethanas #57 Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:31 AM

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View PostThe_first_harbinger, on 25 April 2017 - 12:21 PM, said:

It better not be obsolete, otherwise we would be screwed...

Common, with trillions of dollars spent and decades of engineering genius, how can they be obsolete?

 

The same way battleships became obsolete by the end of WW2, Some new weapon system or new type of warfare and you're done.

New weapons just about always come about as a counter to an older weapon or as an innovation following the countering of a weapon, its an endless cycle.

Group "A" counters the favored weapon of Group "B", Then Group "B" creates something new or counters w/e is the favored weapon of group "A"..... It will never end, and the Aircraft carrier is very much the favored weapon for the USA, you need only compare quantities vs other nations to see just how much the US favors their carriers. Any group looking to fight the US in any meaningful way will be forced to contend with and overcome the aircraft carrier in order to even have a chance of success.

PS: when I speak of aircraft carriers I always assume and include w/e support they are meant to have, really its the carrier group that is the weapon/tool and not simply the 1 ship.

Carrier_Lexington #58 Posted 01 May 2017 - 11:32 AM

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View PostSethanas, on 01 May 2017 - 03:31 AM, said:

PS: when I speak of aircraft carriers I always assume and include w/e support they are meant to have, really its the carrier group that is the weapon/tool and not simply the 1 ship.

Except nothing has come yet which has replaced the plane. Not even missiles. In fact, planes are one of the best ways of delivering missiles.

 

Besides, the primary weapon of a carrier group is the carrier. Not the cruisers, not the submarines; the force-projection and long-range suppression tool is the Carrier.


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BB3_Oregon_Steel #59 Posted 01 May 2017 - 11:24 PM

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Ok, about nuclear weapons. 

 

If you assume that nuclear weapons will be a significant element of a future war, then pretty much all of the conventional weapons in the world are obsolete.  This includes tanks most artillery, soldiers with rifles, most aircraft and most naval vessels of all types.  In such a war, the only weapons that really count are those which can launch nuclear weapons and those which can defend against them and that is a fairly short list.  

 

The nuke argument has been tried before.  In the 1950's and 1960's you saw a great deal of pressure being exerted to do away with most conventional military forces altogether and this included aircraft carriers as well as most other weapons systems.  After all, all one has to do is push a button, send a nuke on it's way and whatever it hits is either going to be melted or so irradiated that it becomes unusable.  Believe it or not, some of the biggest backers of this theory were the accountants and treasury officials of the world. Ounce for ounce, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, nuclear weapons are cheap, so ridiculously cheap that it's not even close.  

 

Then people began to realize the problem with this strategy, most of the conflicts in this world, even potentially ones between major nation states, just aren't worth the likely consequences of using a nuke.  Essentially the "nuke" strategy gives you two options, nuke every potential problem until it glows and risk starting a general nuclear war to say, push the Argentinians out of the Falklands, or push the Iraqi's out of Kuwait or do practically any military operation launched over the last 72 years, or sit back and do nothing.

 

Carriers and carrier battle groups do not exist because they are going to be dominating elements in a general nuclear war, they exist because almost everything that needs to be done isn't going to involve nukes ... period.  There need to be military options that fall between nukem till they (and we) glow and sitting around helplessly doing nothing.  That is the capability that Aircraft Carriers and their escorts provide and it is and remains vital to our national interests that we have and maintain that capability.  

 

So if you want to talk nukes, great.  The arguments are the same as they were back in the 1950's, nothing new, nothing changed.  

 

 


Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel, 02 May 2017 - 06:14 PM.


Sethanas #60 Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:31 PM

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View PostCarrier_Lexington, on 01 May 2017 - 06:32 AM, said:

Except nothing has come yet which has replaced the plane. Not even missiles. In fact, planes are one of the best ways of delivering missiles.

 

Besides, the primary weapon of a carrier group is the carrier. Not the cruisers, not the submarines; the force-projection and long-range suppression tool is the Carrier.

 

It's going to happen sooner or later; Perhaps drones will advance to a point where jets are no longer needed, perhaps it'll be something else, history just keeps repeating itself.

Well... that is why we call it a carrier group one would assume :\





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