TheGreatBlasto

Are the US Navy Carrier Fleets Obsolete?

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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?


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Posted (edited) · Report post

Lingering question lingers.

 

Yeah I generally like BPS's content, this is an interesting video to say the least

 

To be honest though, I doubt it. The advantage of projecting air superiority to basically any part of the world with mobile airstrips is honestly immeasurably valuable and it as big a part of defense as offense. Assuming we can provide adequate protection to them, then their value will remain  

Edited by the_majestic_eagle

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Speaking of missiles, defending is easier and cheaper than attacking (and the carriers are more often than not on the attacker team)


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No they are still a valuable asset to the nation.

 

I still support the creation of a few more Gerald R. Ford carriers built, but how dangerous would it be if the U.S. loses a carrier in a war? There's the problem. No one knows if modern carriers have any feasibility anymore. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

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.

Edited by Umikami

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Carriers offer a logistic advantage in many, many ways. Even with humanitarian efforts. I strongly doubt that anything that shortens the time between takeoff and target will ever be obsolete in any meaningful way. 


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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're discounting the advances made in anti-missile weaponry. From miniguns and anti-missile missiles to lasers, these ships are heavily fitted with systems to defeat incoming missiles, as are their escorts. 

 

Unless you're suggesting that something is obsolete because it could be nuked?


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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.

 

The problem with that is as soon as the sub fires the missile, it's caught on radar and the carrier's escorts Arleigh Burkes, Ticonderogas, LCSs, and our own sub's) would immediately begin defense of the carrier, lighting up the Phalanx's, firing off tomahawks, and throwing chaff. The CAP would follow the rocket trail to the target and the destroyers would begin torpedo attacks.

 

Suffice to say, I have a hard time believing one ballistic missile would be enough to take out the carrier, having to go through all of her escorts which are specifically there to protect her against any threat she could face.


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Nuclear guided torpedos kind of make everything obsolete. Why do you think the US does everything it can to prevent nations from developing nuclear weapons. In a conventional war - aircraft and subs are the most powerful weapons. So carriers will always be viable in conventional war.

 

There are also advancements in rail-gun tech that will soon make battle-cruisers the new super weapon in conventional warfare.


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This argument has been going on since the 1950's and while there is some truth to it, it doesn't tell the entire story.  What the last 70 years has shown is that warfare in almost all cases is going to be a conventional conflict, or at least it's highly likely to start out that way.  Once you start taking nukes off the table, nothing beats a carrier task force for being able to project combat power almost anywhere in the world it's needed as well as the ability to gain control of the seaways so that you can use them while the enemy force can not.  If you are going to fight a nuclear war then almost all weapons other than the nuke launchers and the means to defend against them are also obsolete. 

 

The rest of it comes down to the never ending struggle between offense and defense.  The carriers themselves have always been very vulnerable and it is it's escort's job to keep them safe and a huge amount of investment has been made to screen their charges from the encroachment of other arms.  

 

Now, will the carrier remain the ultimate expression of sea power into the future.  After all history has shown us that nations tend to be superbly equipped to fight the last major war they were involved in and not so greatly equipped to fight the war they are actually in.  It may be that some other form of warship will supplant the CV as the Queen of Battle just as the CV's managed to replace the Battleship in that role.  However even were that to occur, it might be well to remember that the arrival of the carrier did not eliminate the usefulness of Battleships.  They remained invaluable as anti-aircraft platforms to protect the carriers, excelled at shore bombardment missions and supporting amphibious operations and yes, when called upon, they could perform their designed function, killing other battleships when called upon to do so. 

 

I don't currently see any real threat to any of the various naval combatants being able to supplant the carrier in it's role, but even if that were to occur, the carrier is simply too useful a tool to become and will remain so for some time to come.  

Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel

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The only things that would make planes (and hence carriers) obsolete would be teleportation and/or FTL.


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No

what is obsolete is thinking we can fight a politically correct or limited war or semi proportional combat,

as soon as we remember WWII again we can get back to winning or get out completely as our troops are not allowed to kick the heck out all before them.


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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.

Edited by Stauffenberg44

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...useing only drones...

 

So, the main reason I disagree with you right there...is not "what happens when someone steals the keys", but rather...Okay, it's 2100 or so. All US Combat forces are now automated drones. How exactly is that not a [edited]video game? You literally turn war, the most horrible thing on Earth, into a video game. I'm not saying I want US Troops to die. I'm saying you're turning something horrible into something you can sell to a 13 year old.

 

 Recon drones are fine, as you are literally doing just that. Recon. But the moment you send armed drones into combat it turns into a video game. Drones are the worst military invention. Yes. I see drones as worse than nuclear weapons.


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BB3_Oregon_Steel said it pretty well.  In an all out WW3 scenario with China or Russia, I think the USN would find that carrier battle groups would have a pretty short lifespan or at least a much more limited role.  But the reality is that this is a very unlikely scenario, so up until that point they have a great deal of value to the United States Navy.


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First of all.  The current carriers do more than just blow crap up.

They do all kinds of force projection, disaster relief, and surveillance activity that a high-stealth SSBN simply can't do.

...

In war, the object is not to be seen.

Leading up to, and in trying to prevent that war, however, the US carrier force is the most VISABLE deterrent to aggression.

You actually WANT to shove that billy-club into the face of some tin-pot dictator in order to back him down.

It's a diplomacy thing that carriers and Battleships can do, that submarines can't do.

..

And yes, once the shooting starts, admittedly the carrier is a bad place to be.  But we have the SSBN classes of ships to take over.


 


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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.


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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?)


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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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 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.


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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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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.


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